Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sothern Home and Garden Show Booths Take Home Ribbons

Heirloom Stair & Iron representatives receive Best of Show
from  the judges and leadership of the HBA of Greenville.
More than 300 booths made this year's Southern Home and Garden Show a success even before the doors opened at 12 noon on Friday.  Several exhibitors went all out and built booths that are worthy of awards.

A team of judges viewed every booth shortly before the home show opened and judges the booths in three categories:

  • Creativity
  • Outdoor Living
  • Technology
In addition, a Best of Show was awarded.

The following exhibitors won ribbons:
  • Best of Show
    • Heirloom Stair & Iron/Hand Forged Designs, Booth 473 and 475
  • Creativity
    • First Place: Dillard-Jones Builders/Remodelers, Booths 472 and 474
    • Second Place: Palmetto Specialties, Booth 710
    • Third Place: Dias Home Repair and Renovation, Booth 339
  • Technology
    • First Place: Carolina Heating Service, Booth 402
    • Second Place: Jeff Lynch Appliance & TV, Booth 446
    • Third Place: White Hat Media, Booth 398
  • Outdoor Living
    • First Place: Green Hill Landscaping, Booth 618
    • Second Place: Accu-Brick, Booth 410
    • Third Place, Staggs Landscaping, Booth 464
The judges commented on the quality of the booths presented this year.  Among the winners, they liked the creative use of a 10x10 by Palmetto Specialties, the way the Dillard-Jones booth invites visitors inside the booth, the attention to detail of the Carolina Heating Service and Heirloom Stair & Iron booths, and the use of reused materials in the Green Hill Landscape booth.

"I want to thank all of the exhibitors for participating in this year's Southern Home and Garden Show," Robert Markel, CGR, president of the HBA of Greenville, said.  "I also want to thank the award winners for building their award-winning booths."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

51st Annual Southern Home and Garden Show Opens March 2-4

The 51st Annual Southern Home and Garden Show, produced by the Home Builders Association of Greenville, is set to open March 2.  Exhibitors are currently setting up for the largest home show in South Carolina.

The Southern Home and Garden Show is sold out to exhibitors for the first time in many years.  This year more than 300 exhibitors will fill the TD Convention Center and greet more than 10,000 visitors looking for the latest trends and designs for the home.

More than 25 builders and remodelers are exhibiting in this year's home show.

Members of the HBA of Greenville have 2 free tickets waiting for them at the Exhibitor Registration Desk for HBA Member Day on Friday, March 2.

Show hours are:

  • Friday, March 2, 12 noon until 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 4, 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Don't miss the HBA of Greenville's semi-annual showcase of products and services for the home, home building, and home improvement.

HBASC and Workers Comp Commission developing a coverage verification web portal

The HBA of South Carolina and the S.C. Workers Comp Commission are working on a web portal for home builders and general contractors to verify workers comp coverage of their subcontractors.

The goal of the site is for contractors to register to receive notifications of changes in coverage of their subcontractors.  If a subcontractor's coverage lapses, the contractor will receive an email notifying him or her of the change of status.

The new site is pending a memorandum of understanding between the HBA of South Carolina and the S.C. Workers Comp Commission.  The purpose of the project is the protect contractors from becoming the employer of record when a subcontractor on their job site allows his or her worker's comp insurance coverage to lapse.

This project will benefit the entire industry and is being undertaken by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FHFA: Mortgage rates rise .1 percent in January

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today reported that the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, used as an index in some ARM contracts, was 4.25 percent based on loans closed in January. This is an increase of 0.10 percent from the previous month.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less increased 1 basis point to 4.33 percent in January. These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey of purchase-money mortgages (see technical note). These results reflect loans closed during the January 25-31 period. Typically, the interest rate is determined 30 to 45 days before the loan is closed. Thus, the reported rates depict market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-December.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 4.19 percent in January, up 6 basis points from 4.13 percent in December. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.31 percent in January, up 7 basis points from 4.24 percent in December.

This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size. Initial fees and charges were 0.82 percent of the loan balance in January, down 0.01 percent from 0.83 in December. Thirty-eight percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in January were "no-point" mortgages, up six percent from the share in December. The average term was 28.3 years in January, down 0.5 years from 28.8 years in December. The average loan-to-price ratio in January was 75.5 percent, down 3.2 percent
from 78.7 percent in December. The average loan amount was $223,000 in January, up $1,300 from $221,700 in December.

You can view the entire contract rate series at by clicking here.

NAHB: AD&C Lending for Home Builders Remains Restrictive

A number of economic indicators are pointing to improving days ahead for housing and home building. But while housing starts moved up in late 2011, lending for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans for home building purposes continues to decline.

While a substantial part of the reduction since 2008 represents the write downs of bad loans, it is also the case that the drop reflects restrictive lending practices for emerging housing demand. According to Statistics of Banking data from the FDIC, the total stock of outstanding AD&C loans for 1-4 unit properties totaled $44.9 billion in the 4th quarter of 2011. This is 78% lower than the peak level of AD&C lending of $203.8 billion reached during the first quarter of 2008.

However, the quarterly declines for AD&C lending have been slowing. The fourth quarter total was 5.4% lower than the third quarter figure, which in turn was 6.7% lower than the second quarter of 2011. Before mid-2011, quarterly declines averaged about 10%.

Moreover, the constriction of home building AD&C lending exceeds that of other construction loans. All other AD&C lending are off 55.5% from the peak, compared to the nearly 80% decline for home building.

Read the entire report from NAHB at Eye on Housing blog by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Robert Markel, CGR: Thank you HBA members for bringing happiness to a Wounded Warrior

by Robert Markel, CGR, President, HBA of Greenville

By now I hope you have read or heard about your HBA of Greenville's latest community service project and contribution to our community. Earlier this month your HBA of Greenville and many of our members unveiled a brand new kitchen for a retired U.S. Marine who was wounded in Iraq.

In September of 2006, Marine Sgt. Michael Batton was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, where he served as a headquarters platoon sergeant. During a mortar attack in December of that year, Batton sustained a traumatic brain injury. Sgt. Batton now lives in Mauldin with his family. Their home is comfortable, but their kitchen was not.

A team of HBA members led by Dillard-Jones Renovations LLC gutted the kitchen and replaced it with a more open, functional plan with a tile floor, granite countertops, ample cabinets, stainless steel appliances and recessed lighting. Dillard-Jones Renovations provided design and renovation services and HBA member companies donated products and services to make the $60,000 project possible.

I would like to thank these member companies for their support and contributions to this outstanding project to a truly deserving family: The Cook's Station, GBS Building Supply, Old Castle Surfaces, Builders First Source, Progress Lighting, Sherwin Williams, Greer Flooring Center, and Gateway Supply Company. Please join me in thanking this exceptional team for their efforts.

Robert Markel, CGR, President

HBASC Bird Supper is March 28

Since 1970 HBASC Members and South Carolina's legislators have been attending the Bird Supper. It is the longest standing event on the S.C. legislative calendar.

When: March 28, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Marriott Columbia Hotel, Columbia, SC

Other events are planned throughout the day.  Key events include:
  • Luncheon government affairs briefing, 11:30 a.m.
  • State House visits, 1:30 p.m.
  • HBASC Board of Directors meeting, 3:30 p.m.
  • S.C. Builders PAC Reception, 5:30 p.m.

Join us as we gather with our legislators over a delicious supper of fried quail, grits, green beans, biscuits and other fine southern cuisine.

Tickets are $35 per person. Contact the Home Builders Association of Greenville at (864) 254-0133 or click here to register online.

Monday, February 27, 2012

C-Core students and coaches volunteer with Greenville Free Medical Clinic

Each day, volunteer physicians, dentists and nurses provide unconditional health services through the Greenville Free Medical Clinic to many Greenville County’s lowest income, uninsured residents. On Saturday, February 25, 2012, participants of Home Builders Institute Construction-Coaching to Reach Employment (C-CORE) mentor program provided unconditional community service to the Greenville Free Medical Clinic. C-CORE Coaches and Members (youth) assisted GFMC staff with sorting supplies, disposing old and unusable equipment, medication disposal and clean-up of the facility grounds.

The Greenville Free Medical Clinic exists to provide caring, quality primary and specialty medical care, dental services, health education, and prescription medications without charge to low-income, uninsured Greenville County residents.

Home Builders Institute Construction-Coaching to Reach Employment is an industry sponsored mentoring program for youth with promise and untapped abilities. Being a mentor requires a few hours each month, yet makes a huge impact on a young person’s life. To find out more about how you can participate, visit or contact Reginald Alexander at

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Housing now most affordable on record

Nationwide housing affordability rose to a record high during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released Feb. 16. Nearly 76% of all new and existing homes sold during those months were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200, which is the highest percentage recorded in the 20-year history of our index. 

In Greenville, 84.7 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to the median household income of $58,300.  Greenville is presently the 17th most affordable housing market in the country.  The current affordability index for Greenville is just short of the record affordability set in 2004, when housing prices were impacted by the manufacturing recession of 2002 and 2003.

The most affordable large metro in the country at the end of last year was Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., where 95.1% of all homes sold during the quarter were within reach of households earning the area’s median family income of $54,900. Also ranking at the top of the affordability list this time around were Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Toledo, Ohio, in that order. 

Among smaller housing markets, Kokomo, Ind., reigned supreme, with 99.2% of homes sold during the fourth quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $59,100. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the affordability scale include Fairbanks, Alaska; Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Lima, Ohio; and Rockford, Ill. 

By contrast, New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. retained its title as the least affordable major housing market during 2011’s final quarter, with just 29% of all homes sold being affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $67,400. This was the 15th consecutive quarter in which that metro has sunk to the bottom of the affordability chart. Other major metros near the bottom include Honolulu; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., respectively. 

The least affordable small metro area this time around was Ocean City, N.J., where 47.5% of the homes were affordable to families earning the median income of $70,100. Other small metros near the bottom included Laredo, Texas; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; and Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas. 

For details about the Housing Opportunity Index, click here to read the press release or view the HOI tables online at: