Friday, June 7, 2013

Local Highlights from the visit to Capitol Hill

As you may have heard Builders and HBA members from all states including South Carolina and your HBA of Greenville took a trip to Washington DC for the Annual NAHB Legislative conference. While many important issues have been talked about and discussed here are several pictures of the local delegation during their meetings with South Carolina elected officials.
Here they are meeting with Congressman Jeff Duncan.  Included in these photos are Mike Freeman of ACA/Freewood ACA/ Freewood Contracting, Eric Hedrick of Cornerstone Contractors Inc, and Michael Dey of The HBA of Greenville along with the other members from South Carolina.

For more information on the National conference please take a look at the article below.
Members of the nation’s home building industry visited Capitol Hill this week, highlighting both the economic value and future potential of the industry for job creation and economic growth and making the case on policy issues that could affect the industry: tax reform, housing finance reform, immigration reform and production credit. Because the home building industry is dominated by small businesses across the nation, the sector’s growth can have widespread beneficial impacts.

Indeed, continuing to support economic growth, construction activity increased for single-family and multifamily development in April. Having grown for 22 of the last 23 months, single-family home construction spending increased 1.4% over March and is up 38.6% from this time last year.
To keep reading from Builder Review Daily click here



Highlighting a Nation of Builders on Capitol Hill

Members of the nation’s home building industry visited Capitol Hill this week, highlighting both the economic value and future potential of the industry for job creation and economic growth and making the case on policy issues that could affect the industry: tax reform, housing finance reform, immigration reform and production credit. Because the home building industry is dominated by small businesses across the nation, the sector’s growth can have widespread beneficial impacts.

Indeed, continuing to support economic growth, construction activity increased for single-family and multifamily development in April. Having grown for 22 of the last 23 months, single-family home construction spending increased 1.4% over March and is up 38.6% from this time last year.

Among factors holding back more robust growth for single-family construction is tight production credit for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C loans). While the market for these loans is improving, data from the FDIC indicate that the stock of loans for AD&C purposes has not risen in tandem with the rise of demand for single-family construction, causing builders to seek alternative forms of development financing.

Recently released first-quarter 2013 Census data reveal market conditions for particular sectors of the industry. Construction of attached single-family housing (townhouses) grew both in terms of market share and year-over-year total units started, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of increases. Townhouse construction starts totaled 15,000 at the beginning of the year, a significant increase compared to 10,000 in the first quarter of 2012. Using a one-year moving average, the market share of townhouses now stands at 12.7% of all single-family starts, up from 10.4% for the first quarter of 2012.

The market share of homes built on an owner’s land, with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor, fell at the start of 2013 as the rest of the single-family market expanded. As measured on a one-year moving average, the market share of owner- and contractor-built single-family homes has fallen to 22.5%, down from a cycle high of 31.5% reached during the second quarter of 2009.

Single-family starts built-for-rent were up on a year-over-year basis, with the market share rising to a new high: 5.8% as measured as a one-year moving average compared to the historical average of 2.77%. Despite the elevated market share, the number of single-family starts built for rental purposes remains fairly low – only 33,000 homes started during the last four quarters, but this total has been increasing with the overall growth for housing starts.

Multifamily construction spending registered a 3.4% gain in April and has increased 48.6% measured year-over-year. This small monthly rise is consistent with the NAHB forecast, which calls for continued growth for 2013 but not at the pace witnessed in 2012. For example, the NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index, which measures that industry’s perception of vacancies, rose seven points to 38 in the first quarter. Lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies.

The NAHB Multifamily Production Index inched down two points to an index level of 52 for the first quarter of 2013. Nonetheless, this marks the fifth straight quarter with a reading over 50. The index is scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

Total private residential construction (single-family, multifamily and improvements) spending decreased a negligible 0.1% on a month-over-month basis during April due to a further decrease in home improvement spending. The pace of remodeling-related expenditures has declined significantly over the course of 2013. Improvement spending was down 3.3% in April and is down 7% from April 2012.

Rising existing home sales point to increases in remodeling later in the year. This dip at the start of the year comes as recent survey data point to labor shortages in the home-improvement industry that mirror the issues single-family builders have reported.

Home prices continue to rise per March data. According to the the Federal Housing Finance Agency, they increased 1.3% on a month-over-month seasonally adjusted basis and 1.9% on quarter-over-quarter basis. This is the 14th consecutive monthly rise and the seventh consecutive quarterly increase. Over the past year, house prices are up 6.7%.

Similarly, the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index grew by 10.2% on a year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted basis in March. Following 19 consecutive months of year-over-year declines, house prices have now registered 10 consecutive year-over-year increases. House price growth in Phoenix had the largest annual increase at 22.5%, followed by San Francisco with 22.2% and Las Vegas with 20.6%.

Rising home prices may actually be helping to support the sales volume of existing home sales, as home owners test the market by placing their homes in the for-sale inventory. While not surging, the National Association of Realtors pending home sales index advanced 0.3% in April and stands 10.3% higher than in April of 2012. The continuing advance in contracts signed in April suggests sales in May will continue to climb.

Underlying these housing developments is improving consumer confidence. According to Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, the Consumer Sentiment Index increased by 10.6% on a monthly, seasonally adjusted basis to 84.5. Similarly, the Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose by 10.4% on a monthly seasonally adjusted basis in May to 76.2. These improvements come after soft reading of consumer confidence at the start of the year.

Finally, NAHB economists recently examined new student loan debt data that maps burdens and delinquencies by state. The data, from the New York Federal Reserve, illustrate higher-than-average student debt burdens typically occur in coastal states, where incomes are higher. Perhaps counter-intuitively, with the exception of Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana, states with higher-than-average student debt tend to have an average or below average delinquency rates (90 or more days late). NAHB will continue to track this issue, with an eye on impacts for housing.

Courtesy of David Crowe, NAHB Chief Economist



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Upcoming NAHB Webinars for June.

While the schools are letting kids and teachers out for summer break NAHB isn't taking a break they are still providing great Educational webinars through out the summer and especially in June. Keep reading to find out what they will cover this month including  the latest on the remodeling market, learn how to develop and implement effective safety and health programs and how to bridge the gap between education licensees and instructors.
Upcoming Webinars and Information

June Webinars: Remodeling Outlook, Safety and Health Plan Development and Education Development


Remodeling Market Outlook
Wednesday, June 12, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
Economics and Research series

Want to know where the remodeling market is headed right now? Now that new construction is recovering, how will this affect the remodeling industry? During this webinar, David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, and Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, will discuss the strength of the residential remodeling market in 2013 and 2014.

Presented by NAHB Remodelers

How to Develop and Implement a Safety and Health Program
Wednesday, June 19, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
Business Improvement series

One of the most important aspects of preventing costly construction accidents is implementing a safety program. An effective safety program can save lives, but it can also literally save a company thousands of dollars. This webinar will focus on why a safety and health program is important and will identify the easy steps for creating and implementing a successful program.

Presented by NAHB Labor, Safety & Health   

Maximizing the Education Partnership Between Licensees and Instructors *FREE*
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
This webinar will bridge the gap between NAHB Education Licensees and approved NAHB Education Instructors to enable each group to set clear and transparent expectations for working together to increase course offerings, decrease cancellations and improve overall collaboration to host and deliver successful NAHB Designation classes.
Presented by NAHB Education

For more information on NAHB’s Webinar Wednesdays series, go to nahb.org/Webinars.

Greenville is on the Improving Markets Index for 23rd consecutive month


The number of U.S. housing markets on the mend rose by five to a total of 263 in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. The list includes entrants from 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The Greenville MSA, which includes Pickens, Laurens, and Greenville counties, was on the list again, for the 23rd consecutive month, and indication that our local market has seen improving conditions since December 2010.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Twenty-nine new markets were added to the list while 24 others were dropped from it this month. New entrants included such geographically diverse metros as Salinas, Calif.; Sioux City, Iowa; Chicago, Ill.; Topeka, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Laredo, Texas; and Philadelphia, Pa.

Columbia, SC, was among the markets that fell off the list.

“This is the fifth consecutive month in which the IMI has designated more than 70 percent of U.S. metros as improving,” observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “While that’s a good sign that the housing recovery is on solid footing, we know that various challenges are slowing its progress – including continuing issues with credit availability for builders and buyers, as well as appraisals that aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of construction.”

“As market conditions improve across most of the country, some metros have moved onto the IMI list while marginal seasonal fluctuations have nudged others off of it,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is to be expected as the recovery expands. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the number of improving markets is now more than three times what it was in June 2012.”

“The continued strength of the IMI is an indicator of the ongoing, positive momentum in housing markets nationwide as consumers move to take advantage of historically favorable interest rates and affordable home prices,” added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 263 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in June, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

Addison Homes Adds Technology to Toolbox

GREENVILLE, S.C., JUNE 5, 2013 — Addison Homes has added a powerful, web-based client portal to the tools it uses to build healthy, high-performance homes. The portal is designed to enhance customer service via streamlined information flow and improved builder-client communication.
This user-friendly system provides clients with easy access to every detail of their new home’s construction process. Whether at home, on the road, out of town or even out of the country, clients can log-in to review and/or update their selections and provide electronic approvals. This keeps the project on schedule – and on budget – while fostering less-stressful decision-making. Clients can also stay current on financials, schedule meetings, check daily site progress and view photos. Most important, they can ask questions in an organized, highly responsive format.
Once construction is complete, the client portal provides a place for warranty-related questions and requests.
“Building a home is a complex process – and this new portal is one more tool in our box to keep clients up-to-date every step of the way,” says Addison Homes President Todd Usher. “Communication is key to a ‘no surprises’ experience that’s free from unexpected costs or frustrating delays. The portal’s interface is straight-forward, organized and accessible, making it easy to keep everyone on the same page.”
About Addison Homes:
Addison Homes builds all of its homes to rigorous ENERGY STAR®, EarthCraft House™ and/or DOE Challenge Home standards. As a leader in sustainable, high-performance building, Addison Homes has received numerous awards and recognition including the 2012 Master Certified Green Builder of the Year Award from the National Association of Home Builders; 2011 EarthCraft House™ Gold Project of the Year Award; 2011 Green Building Advocate of the Year Award from NAHB; 2011 Certified Graduate Builder of the Year Award from NAHB; 2010 Safety Award for Excellence from NAHB/Builders Mutual Insurance Company; 2010 Finalist, America’s Best Builder Award from BUILDER magazine; 2009 Builder of the Year Award from the Home Builders Association of Greenville; 2008 Individual Environmental Stewardship Award from the Upstate Chapter of the US Green Building Council; Upstate Forever’s 2008 Sustainable Communities Champion; and 2007 EarthCraft HouseĐ€ Regional Builder of the Year Award.
For more information, visit www.addison-homes.com.
To read the article from Diane Jackson  at the Swamp Fox click here

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New-Home Sales Rise 2.3 Percent in April

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units in April, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The gain builds on a strong upward revision to sales numbers reported for the previous month.

“Builders are reporting an active spring buying season as consumers become more confident about going forward with a new-home purchase along with steadily firming prices in local markets,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “While the cost of constructing homes is rising due to tightened supplies of materials, lots and labor, to some extent, this may be creating greater urgency among potential buyers.”

“Today’s report is further evidence of the gradual, consistent improvement we have been seeing in housing market conditions over the past year,” noted NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. “We’re now about half-way back to what could be considered a full recovery, and we do expect to see continual, solid gains in both starts and sales of new homes going forward.”

On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 3.0 percent in the South and 10.8 percent in the West, but fell 4.8 percent in the Midwest and 16.7 percent in the Northeast in April.

The inventory of new homes for sale edged up to a still-thin 156,000 units in April. This is a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

Apartment and Condominium Market Remains Strong after Small Correction in the First Quarter of 2013



The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released today by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), inched down two points to an index level of 52. It is the fifth straight quarter with a reading over 50.

The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

The MPI provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale" units, or condominiums.

In the first quarter of 2013, the MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties dropped four points to 61, but has been above 60 for seven consecutive quarters—the longest sustained period of strength since the inception of the index in 2003. For-sale units dipped four points to 42, while low-rent units rose two points to 55.

“The apartment sector overall has largely recovered since the downturn, so we have now reached a level of development that is close to equilibrium and can continue at this pace,” said W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board. “With that said, there are still certain markets around the country that have room to grow.”

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, rose seven points to 38. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies. After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been at a fairly moderate level throughout 2011 and 2012.

Historically, the MPI and MVI have performed well as leading indicators of U.S. Census figures for multifamily starts and vacancy rates, providing information on likely movement in the Census figures one to three quarters in advance.

“The multifamily market has recovered substantially since the end of 2010, and is well on its way to reaching a sustainable level,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, there are still issues facing builders and developers that could have an impact on future production, such as a shortage of labor with basic construction skills and rising prices for some building materials.”

For data tables on the MPI and MVI, visit www.nahb.org/mms.

NAHB: Home Builders Building Homes that Young Buyers Want

During National Homeownership Month in June, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is telling young people that the time is right to buy a home, and the nation’s builders are building the homes they want.

“As the economy recovers and young people who had to live at home with their parents move forward with their lives and achieve their dreams of homeownership, home builders are delivering homes that cater to the floor plans, features and affordability that this generation desires,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C.

More than 80 percent of Generation Y home buyers—people born in 1977 or later—said in NAHB’s 2012 consumer preference survey they prefer a highly energy efficient home that results in lower utility bills during the home’s lifetime over a lower-priced home without energy efficient features. Today’s new homes feature ENERGY STAR-rated appliances; windows, doors and insulation that better control the home’s interior climate; and other modern components such as tankless water heaters and HVAC systems that save costs on utility bills.

And cost-conscious young buyers will be happy to hear that a new home actually costs less to maintain than an older home. An NAHB study found that homes built before 1960 have average maintenance costs of $564 a year, while a home built after 2008 averages $241. Plus, mortgage rates are still very low, bolstering affordability for home buyers.

Generation Y buyers favor media and game rooms more than any other specialty rooms for their next home. New homes today not only contain these spaces, they are outfitted with the state-of-the-art electronic and wiring components that can accommodate high-definition televisions, full-house sound systems, hard-wired fire and security alarms and more.

Young buyers can check out many of the outstanding designs and features being included in homes built by NAHB members at our social media communities facebook.com/homebuildrs, pinterest.com/nahbhome and google.com/+nahb. They can also access home buying and home building information and resources on NAHB’s website at nahb.org/forconsumers.

“The time has never been better for young people to become home owners, whether it be a new home or existing,” said Judson. “There are outstanding opportunities in the current market, with near record low interest rates, competitive prices and new homes being built that include open layouts, energy efficient components and other features that cater to young buyers.”