Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jeff Lynch Booths are Best of Show at the Southern Home and Garden Show

Michael Dey and Rick Quinn of the HBA of Greenville present the Best of Show award to Rowdy Harden of Jeff Lynch Appliance and TV
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 judged the booths in three categories:

  • Most Creative Display
  • Best Demonstration of Outdoor Living
  • Best Use of Technology
In addition, a Best of Show was awarded.

The following exhibitors won ribbons:
  • Best of Show
    • Jeff Lynch Appliance and TV, Booths 446 and on the Center Aisle
  • Most Creative Display
    • First Place: Southern Living Test Kitchen, on the Center Aisle (contributors include Jeff Lynch Appliance and TV, Stock Building Supply, Thirty-one, Greenville Carpet One, and Ingles)
    • Second Place: Green Hill Landscaping, Booth 710
    • Third Place: Southern Traditions Shutters and Blinds, Booth175
  • Best Use of Technology
    • First Place: Palmetto Outdoor Spaces, Booth 671
    • Second Place: Advanced Home Products, Booth 394
    • Third Place: Davis Services, Booth 436
  • Best Demonstration of Outdoor Living
    • First Place: Accu-Brick, Booth 410
    • Second Place: General Shale Outdoor Living Products, Booth 270
    • Third Place, S.C. Native Plan Society, Booth 409
The judges commented on the quality of the booths presented this year.  Among the winners, they liked the creative use of a 10x10 by S.C. Native Plan Society, the way Jeff Lynch invites visitors inside the booth, the attention to detail of the at Green Hill Landscaping, and the presentation of the product in Southern Traditions Shutters and Blinds.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FHFA: U.S. House Prices Rose 1.4 Percentin Fourth Quarter 2012

U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 5.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.6 percent from November.

“The fourth quarter was another strong one for house prices, as it was the third consecutive quarter where U.S. price growth exceeded one percent,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “While a significant number of homes remained in the foreclosure pipeline, the actual number of homes available for sale was very low and fell over the course of the quarter.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.6 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, that index is also up 5.5 percent. For individual states, price changes reflected in the expanded data measure and the traditional purchase-only HPI are compared on pages 23-25 of this report.

While the national, purchase-only house price index rose 5.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, prices of other goods and services rose 1.7 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 3.7 percent over the latest year.
Significant Findings:
  • The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the fourth quarter in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Pacific division experienced the strongest increase in the latest quarter, posting a 4.2 percent price increase. House prices were weakest in the East North Central division, where prices remained unchanged from the prior quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., fourth quarter price increases were greatest in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). That area saw prices increase by 6.8 percent between the third and fourth quarters. Prices were weakest in the Edison-New Brunswick, NJ metropolitan division, where prices fell 0.8 percent over
  • that period.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 11 consecutive months.
  • FHFA’s new “distress-free” house price index suggests that price gains in the latest quarter may be partially attributed to decreases in the share of distressed sales in the latest quarter. For 9 of the 12 metropolitan areas covered by the new set of indexes, the distress-free measures—which remove the direct effect of short sales and sales of bank-owned properties—showed more modest price gains than were evident in the traditional purchase-only indexes.
Click here to read the complete report.

FHFA: Mortgage rates rose slightly 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 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) contracts, was 3.35 percent based on loans closed in January. There was an increase of 0.06 from the previous month.  Click here for the complete contract rate series.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less increased 6 basis points to 3.53 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 3.34 percent in January, up 6 basis points from 3.28 percent in December. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 3.46 percent in January, up 4 basis points from 3.42 percent in December.

This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size. Initial fees and charges were 0.95 percent of the loan balance in January, down 20 basis points from December. Twenty-six percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in January were “no-point” mortgages, up from 11 percent from the share in December. The average term was 27.1 years in January, down 0.3 years from December.

The average loan-to-price ratio in January was 76.4 percent, up 0.1 percent from 76.3 percent in December. The average loan amount was $254,700 in January down $19,400 from $274,100 in December.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NAHB: Top 12 Accomplishments, Number 9: Combating Water Pollution Myths

Builder Review Daily is highlighting the top 12 actions taken on behalf of Home Builders in 2012.

Accomplishment number 9: Combating Myths About Building’s Role in Water Pollution
A new NAHB resource helps HBAs and developers overcome the myth that home building is a major source of water pollutants due to storm water runoff from construction sites.

This resource, titled Water Quality and the Construction Industry, employs recent government data to explain how agriculture, dam making and other activities overwhelmingly affect water quality, while sediment released from residential construction accounted for significantly less than 1% of the total sediment in surface waters as of 2009. In fact, as the presentation notes, EPA’s own data shows that pollutant discharges from construction sites have decreased over time -- primarily due to the steps that builders and developers take to control the storm water that runs off of their sites. This fact, along with EPA’s admission that "construction sites are already being adequately addressed through existing programs,” indicates that there is little need for states or municipalities to take additional steps to control construction site runoff. Rather, in most instances, doing so would only result in higher construction costs and higher home prices, with little or no added environmental benefit. The slide presentation is available for NAHB members to download as part of our “Land Use 101” package of detailed information and background materials on infrastructure, green development and other topics. 

Yes Virginia, your home builder can pour the sidewalk at your new home

For nearly a year in certain areas of the City of Charleston Licensed Residential Home Builders have not been allowed to supervise the construction of sidewalks or driveways in the city's right of way.

This situation is the result of an erroneous interpretation of the law by a building official in that city who believed that only a Licensed General Contractor may construct a sidewalk or driveway in the city's right of way.

On February 13, 2013, representatives of your Home Builders Association from the Charleston area took the matter to the Residential Builders Commission, a department of the S.C. Department of Licensing and Regulation (LLR).  As a result, an attorney for LLR has issued a letter affirming that, "where a sidewalk and driveway apron is to be provided in front of or beside the lot of a one single family residence, in conjunction with the construction or renovation of that residence only, a licensed residential builder or registered residential specialty contractor with the masonry classification (which includes concrete), may perform the work as part of the residential project."  The letter further states, "this would also apply to the sidewalks and driveway aprons in front of or beside the lots of single family residences constructed by a licensed residential builder on contiguous lots."

The letter is signed by Georgia L. Lewis, Advice Council for the Residential Builders Commission.

Yes Virginia, your home builder can pour the sidewalk at your new home.

Government Affairs Result: ESA Rule will not be used to regulate climate change

When the federal government officially listed polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008, environmental groups sought to compel the state of California to place restrictions on residential development due to the presumed effects of climate change on polar sea ice.

Concerned that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) might overstep its bounds in this way, NAHB urged FWS to proceed cautiously in developing rules for protecting polar bears and to "properly limit the scope" of its listing to that which is conferred by the governing statute. This week, our efforts proved successful when the FWS re-issued a final special rule for managing the polar bear that does NOT employ the ESA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, the rule specifically states that activities outside the bear's range are not subject to ESA "incidental take" prohibitions.

This issue has far-reaching ramifications because of the potential for expansion of ESA regulatory authority to include activities related to global warming -- no matter how distant those activities may be from the location of the endangered species in question. Moreover, in view of the President's comments in his latest State of the Union address in which he promised to pursue actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions, this latest decision to stay the course on a Bush-era policy that the ESA is not the appropriate federal regulatory tool for accomplishing that goal is a truly welcome development for NAHB members. Read NAHB's official comments here

Monday, February 25, 2013

Welcome, New Members of the HBA of Greenville!

With the Spring Southern Home and Garden Show right around the corner we thought we would take this opportunity to welcome our newest members and encourage YOU to do business with a member of the HBA of Greenville.
Associate Memberships:
Southeastern Underdeck Systems, LLC- Heath Bowman
The Window Gal- Teri Coulson
Outside Solutions, Inc- Keith Drew
Serrus Capital Partners, Inc- Daniel Driscoll
Deckstore- David Elenbaum
Willow Oak Landscapes- Matt Fulton
Gage Insurance- Robert Gage Jr.
KS International, Inc.- Nancy Hamilton
Home Improvement Resource Guide- Matt Loughran
Advanced Home Products, Inc.- Robert Murphy
Superior Grounds Pro LLC- Terry Puleo
Currahee Club- Susan Verlander
Super Landscape Supply- Herbert Williams
Builder Memberships:
Paul L. Johnson Interiors, LLC- Paul Johnson
Affiliate Memberships:
Certus Bank- Ozzy Custodio
Superior Grounds Pro LLC- Casey Howell
Greenville News, The-  Keith Johnson and Kate Wiegmann
Builders First Source- Christi Powell
Willow Oak Landscapes- Newton Tilson
Currahee Club- Larry Torrence and  Stephanie West
The Window Gal- Lars Wiren

Welcome and thank you for your membership and support. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Spring Southern Home and Garden Show this weekend, March 1-3rd.

What You Missed at the Builder Breakfast!

The Builder Breakfast was held at Tommy's Ham House, 214 Rutherford St., Greenville on Thursday Feb 21st. This event was sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas, and featured Mark Nix, Executive Direct or HBA of South Carolina, and Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the HBA of Greenville both giving overviews of the government affairs scene in Columbia and in the Upstate.  Keep in mind that these meetings are open to all HBA builder and remodeler members at no charge.  The next Builder Breakfast is May 30th

NAHB Recommends Reforms to Residential Appraisal System

NAHB this week publicly released a "Comprehensive Blueprint for Residential Appraisal Reform" that sets forth our association's recommendations for addressing serious problems in the residential appraisal process.

This landmark white paper, completion which was first announced to association members right after the 2013 International Builders' Show, notes that -- because appraisals are governed by multiple public and private entities and ultimately by states -- standards and requirements can vary greatly, resulting in a system that is inconsistent, confusing and does not serve consumers well.

To address these problems, a special Appraisal Working Group was established last year to develop formal recommendations for comprehensive residential appraisal reform. Members of the working group included home builders as well as representatives from the financial and appraisal sectors, and input was sought from representatives of every stakeholder group.

Praising the efforts of Appraisal Working Group, co-Chairs Barry Rutenberg and Joe Robson, 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson noted that, "Even as the residential construction industry shows signs of recovery, housing activity is thwarted by an appraisal system that remains dysfunctional and is a major impediment to a stable housing finance framework. Until we see meaningful appraisal reform, the U.S. housing finance system will be operating under unprecedented uncertainty.”

 The white paper offers specific recommendations for changes to all aspects of the appraisal system, and will form the basis of our outreach to policymakers as we encourage them to move forward on its proposals. To access the report, 

NAHB: Top 12 Accomplishments, Number 8: Immigrant Housing Demand Model

Builder Review Daily is highlighting the top 12 actions taken on behalf of Home Builders so far this Spring.

Accomplishment number 8: Development of a Model that Predicts Housing Demand From New Immigrants (and Other Important Economic Studies)

NAHB has developed a model that takes into account the age of newly arriving immigrants, region of origin and length of stay in the United States. The model then assigns probabilities of becoming a head of household, purchasing a home and moving into single-family or multifamily property based on immigrants' characteristics. An analysis facilitated by this model reveals that new immigrants can conservatively be expected to occupy more than 2 million multifamily units and 1.2 million single-family homes over the next 10 years, with more than 900,000 of these new immigrants becoming home owners.

Findings of this analysis are detailed in the NAHB study "Immigrants and Housing Demand," which is available free of charge from our website and includes estimates of the rates at which immigrants form households, move into multi- or single-family housing units, and choose to buy or rent their residences.

NAHB's model predicts that, upon their arrival to the U.S., more than three quarters of new immigrants will choose multifamily units and other housing arrangements, while only 24% will immediately move into single-family attached or detached units. However, by the time these families have been in the U.S. for 10 years or more, close to 50% of them will have moved into single-family homes. And for European- and Asian-born households, the share of expected single-family dwellers after 10 years is even greater. Read more about what NAHB's model projects in terms of immigrant-based U.S. housing demand over the next decade by downloading a free copy of our latest study from Contact Natalia Siniavskaia at 800-368-5242 x8441.

Note: NAHB’s economics team constantly produces fresh, useful analysis of the most recent housing-related data that has applications to our members’ businesses, and makes that data available to our members free of charge. This is in addition to the department’s regular production of important indexes that gauge the health of the housing industry – theNAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index on builder confidence, the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index, theNAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, the Remodeling Market Index, the Multifamily Market Indices and the 50+ Housing Market Index. The surveys and analysis that NAHB’s economists conduct on a monthly and quarterly basis help our members achieve a better understanding of current market trends and where they are headed, while our media outreach in this regard ensures that accurate information on the housing market is transmitted to potential home buyers and the public at large. NAHB uses this data to conduct extensive media outreach in which we educate reporters about the historical context in which numbers should be viewed, discourage sensationalized accounts and ensure that home builders’ views are represented. NAHB also assists our members in dealing with media inquiries regarding recent releases of both NAHB and government data.