Friday, June 28, 2013

City sets new parking lot development rules

A parking lot development program created by the City of Greenville, Upstate Forever and Furman University aims to improve water quality in the city and provide developers increased flexibility with new projects.

Greenville City Council recently approved the Fee-in-Lieu of Low Impact Development Parking Program, which gives developers three options when building parking lots in the city.

Developers can build a lot with the minimum required parking spaces; use low-impact development techniques to manage stormwater generated by parking spaces above the minimum required; or pay a $750 fee for each parking space above the minimum.

Read the rest of the story at GSA Business.

HBA of Greenville works to resolve stormwater regulatory issues

Your HBA of Greenville is working to resolve regulatory issues for stormwater management.  This week President Rick Quinn, Executive Vice President Michael Dey, and HBASC Executive Director Mark Nix met with SCDHEC Commissioner Catherine Templeton to discuss the burdens that excessive stormwater regulation is having on home builders.

As a result, SCDHEC has agreed to participate in a Government Affairs Forum hosted by the HBA of Greenville.  HBA members and local government officials will have the opportunity to present to DHEC staff specific examples of how recently-adopted or proposed permits are exceeding requirements of law and negatively impacting home building.

Specifics of the Government Affairs Forum are:

When: July 25, 2013, 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Where: TD Convention Center, Woodside Conference Center

Commissioner Templeton has announced that she will attend the Government Affairs Forum.

Call for Nominations: HBA of Greenville Board of Directors

Dear HBA of Greenville Membership,

The HBA Nominating Committee has begun work on identifying and recommending to the membership a slate of officers and directors for 2013.  Elections will be held at our Annual meeting in November.

If you have an interest in serving in one of the following positions, or know of a member we should consider, please contact Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the HBA of Greenville, or me or a member of the Nominating Committee.

The following positions on the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors are open for nominations:

  • Vice President
  • Associate Vice President
  • Director, Associate Member (3-year term) (2 vacancies)
  • Director, Builder Member (3-year term) (2 vacancies)
In addition, the Nominating Committee recommends to the Board of Directors members to be elected to the HBA of South Carolina Board of Directors and the National Association of Home Builders Board of Director. If you have an interest in serving in one of these capacities, please contact Michael Dey, or me or one of the members of the Nominating Committee.

I would like to thank the members of the Nominating Committee for their participation:
  • Robert Markel, CGR, Chairman, Hadrian Construction Company
  • Rick Quinn, Vice Chairman, Quinn-Satterfield
  • Wayne Moore, Chairman, Harold Moore Builder
  • Bob Barreto, GBS Building Supply
  • Alan Boone, Advanced Renovations
  • Mike Freeman, ACA/Freewood Contracting
  • Jon Statom, Palmetto Exterminators
Robert Markel, CGR, Immediate Past President

Happy Fourth of July!

The Home Builders Association of Greenville would like to wish you a Happy Fourth of July.  Our office will be closed July 4-5 in observance of the holiday.

2012 IECC will not be adopted in South Carolina

In a victory for HBA members, the South Carolina energy code has been locked in legislatively with the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.  The 2012 IECC will not be adopted in South Carolina this year as it will be in many other states.

"This is a significant victory for our members and an example of the excellent work our government affairs team is doing for us in Columbia," Rick Quinn, President of the HBA of Greenville, said.  "Our members will save significantly on construction costs while still building a highly efficient house that is compliant with the 2009 IECC."

NAHB: LEGAL immigration is part of the solution

You may have received communication from NAHB in recent days in which NAHB asks for your help in supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

NAHB's objective is to address the immigration problem that has resulted in millions of illegal immigrants in our country while denying home builders, as well as many other businesses, sufficient access to immigrant workers with status to work legally in our country.

Many unscrupulous contractors flaunt the law and hire illegal immigrants to work on their projects, giving them an unfair competitive advantage until they are ultimately caught.  This has resulted in millions of illegal immigrants in our country, and Congress' reaction has been to limit legal immigration.  Ultimately, the problem is not solved and people continue to pour into our country illegally.

NAHB's objective is to level the playing field and make the necessary number of immigrant laborers legally available to home builders.  By doing so, the unscrupulous contractors will lose their advantage.  In addition, comprehensive reform will take away the incentive they have to violate the law by allowing them to meet their labor needs legally.

NAHB's communication has made the following points to our members of Congress:
  • Labor shortages are harming home builders, hurting consumers and slowing the housing recovery.
  • Home builders are experiencing delays in completing homes, and in some cases have had to cancel projects due to a shortage of workers.
  • These delays and production bottlenecks are increasing the cost of building a home, which in turn is raising costs for home buyers.
  • To fix our labor shortages, Congress must create a program that would allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce when home builders can’t find American workers to fill the jobs that are needed.
To read NAHB's complete talking points, click here.

The objective is simple: recognize that home builders need to hire immigrant laborers from time-to-time, just like many other industries.  Sometimes immigrant labor has a specialized skill not readily available from domestic labor.  Sometimes home builders just need more people.  Either way, immigration policy should recognize this need and accommodate it.

If you agree, contact your member of Congress and tell him or her to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

FHFA: Mortgage Interest Rates Fell in May

National data show interest rates on mortgages decreased from April to May. Contract mortgage interest rates decreased slightly from April to May—down 0.15 percent from April, according to an index of new mortgage contracts.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders index was 3.40 percent for loans closed in late May. The index is calculated using FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey. The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans was 3.40 percent, down 15 basis points from 3.55 in April.

Interest rates are typically locked in 30-45 days before a loan is closed. Consequently, May data reflect market rates from mid-to-late April. The effective interest rate was 3.57 percent, down 12 basis points from 3.69 percent in April. The effective interest rate accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage.

FHFA’s interest rate survey shows the average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 3.58 in May, a decrease of 19 basis points. The average loan amount was $280,600 in May up $14,100 from $266,500 in April.

FHFA will release June index values July 30, 2013.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer school is in session- Great webinars from NAHB for July!

The building industry doesn't take a vacation—as a matter of fact, right now it's working harder than ever as the housing market roars back to life. July'sWebinar Wednesdays will school you on energy codes, the technology of Building Information Modeling (BIM), the challenges of financing and the surprising energy efficiency of log homes.
  • Prepare for the Changes to the 2012 Codes Energy Requirements
    Wednesday, July 10, 2:00-3:30 PM ET
    Business Improvement Series

    New construction codes require builders, remodelers and their trade partners to have increasingly sophisticated knowledge of building science principles and energy efficiency. The 2012 codes include numerous and significant changes to energy requirements and for the first time, a requirement for whole-house mechanical ventilation in almost all new homes.

    Speakers: Craig Drumheller, director, Construction Codes and Standards, NAHB, Don Surrena, CBO, program manager, Energy Efficiency Construction, Codes & Standards, NAHB 

    Register now.

    Presented by NAHB BuilderBooks

  • The ABC's of BIM: Building Information Modeling and Residential Construction
    Wednesday, July 17, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
    Business Improvement Series

    Building planning, design and construction have taken advantage of technological innovations to streamline activity, increase efficiency, and keep costs down. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one such development that is making steady inroads in home building. This webinar is an introduction to BIM, highlighting what it is, what it isn't and why builders, remodelers, vendors and contractors need to pay attention to this ever-growing and influential trend.

    Speakers: Steve Jones, Senior Director of Business Development McGraw-Hill Construction, Dana Kennish "Deke" Smith, FAIA Executive Director, buildingSMART alliance™ at the National Institute of Building Sciences

    Register now.

    Presented by NAHB Business Management 

  • Financing for Home Builders
    Wednesday, July 24, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
    Housing Policy and Finance Series

    This webinar reviews the current challenges facing home builders who are seeking acquisition, development and construction financing and explore the opportunities for obtaining credit through various financing sources. The speakers discuss the pros and cons of the various financing options and offer guidance on working effectively with each type of entity to achieve the best results for your business needs.

    Speakers: Tom Farrell, Director of Builder Lending, Sabal Financial Group; Melissa Hicks, Executive Vice President, Texas Capital Bank 
    Moderator - Ed Brady, NAHB's 2013 Third Vice Chairman of the Board, home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. 

    Register now.

    Presented by NAHB Housing Finance Committee 

  • Build an Energy-Efficient Log Home? YOU BET!
    Wednesday, July 31, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
    Design and Technology Series

    Think log homes are gorgeous, but leaky, drafty energy guzzlers? Think again. Energy efficiency and maintenance begin in the design phase. This webinar will show you how to develop a construction plan for energy efficiency early in the process and carry that plan through completion.

    Speaker: Paul Peebles, Perma-Chink Systems

    Register now.

    Presented by NAHB Building Systems Councils
Learn more about NAHB's Webinar Wednesdays at

NAHB scores legal victory for member's property rights

June 25, 2013—Supreme Court Decision in KOONTZ v. ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
For years, local governments have pursued arrangements with developers to extract certain concessions in exchange for the opportunity to develop. For example, a locality may ask a developer to improve the street in anticipation of the increased traffic that a development may bring. In some cases, this is a fair request. However, some local governments seem all too willing to stretch the boundaries to the limit.

In a victory for HBA members and property rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 issued an opinion that directly affects the law that applies to such conditions, called “exactions”. The case is Koontz v. St. James River Water Management District, and the opinion is available at NAHB led a coalition of 16 associations which together filed an amicus brief that among other things explained to the Court that governments will not collapse if they cannot extort money from property owners who wish to use their land.

Koontz Case Facts
Mr. Coy A. Koontz owned 14.2 acres of vacant land and sought to improve 3.7 acres of the property. Koontz applied to the St. John’s River Water Management District (District) for permits to dredge and fill 3.25 acres of wetlands. In exchange, Koontz offered to dedicate the remainder of his property (approx. 11 acres) to the State for conservation, but the District rejected the proposal and pressed Koontz for more. The District demanded that Koontz pay to enhance 50 off-site acres of wetlands on the District’s propertylocated between four and 7.5 miles away, by replacing culverts and plugging some ditches. Koontz refused the District’s unreasonable demand. The District then denied outright his permit applications, and would not issue permits unless and until Koontz submitted to its conditions. Koontz brought a lawsuit against the District.

The Legal Background
Since the late 1980s, the Supreme Court has held that a permit condition (also called an “exaction”) is not constitutional unless it has a “nexus” to a governmental purpose and it is “roughly proportion” to the impacts of the project. This is known as the Nollan/Dolan test, named after two Supreme Court cases. The test protects property owners from over-zealous land use permitting officials. Until today, there were two unanswered questions:
  1. Is there a difference between scenarios when the government simply denies a permit because the land owner would not accede to an onerous condition, as opposed to when it grants a permit with conditions attached?
  2. Is the Nollan/Dolan test limited to exactions of land (e.g., government asks for 10% of land to be set aside for park), or does it also apply to monetary actions (e.g., government asks for $10,000 to go towards building an off-site park).
These two questions are quite important—if the Court had decided that Nollan/Dolan did not apply in either scenario described above, then it would give the government expanded power to force unreasonable exactions upon developers by providing an easy work around to the Nollan/Dolan test.

Today’s Decision in Koontz
The Supreme Court decided in favor of Mr. Koontz. Specifically, it ruled that Nollan/Dolan applies equally to situations where the government denies a permit and where the government grants a permit with conditions. In other words, if a property owner refuses to agree to outrageous conditions in a permit, and the government denies that permit, the government cannot later argue that there was no constitutional violation because the permit was never granted. In its analysis, the Court used a form of the word “extortion” five times to describe the manner in which governments demand property from developers before granting approvals. Thus, the Court may be starting to understand the realities of the land use permitting process. The Court also ruled that monetary exactions are subject to the same Nollan/Dolananalysis as land exactions. Thus, it makes no difference if the government demands that the land owner give up real property or money as a condition to obtaining a permit. This is a huge victory. The decision gives land owners ammunition to fight permitting officials that attempt to hold up approvals until the land owner surrenders to their extortion.

WELCOME New Members!

The HBA of Greenville would like to welcome our newest members.

Builder Member
Virani Custom Homes- John Bailey

Associate Members
Home Depot- Jyll Caudell
CK Supply - Taylor Brown
Joe Roberson & Son's Roofing- John Roberson

Affiliate Memberships
Crown Communities, Inc (SC Pillon Homes)- Jason Kemper
Joe Roberson & Son's Roofing- Richard Drew
Digital Home Tech, LLC- Julio Campos

Please join us in welcoming these new members and help them to get the most out of their membership!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

HBA of Greenville represented at 2013 Youth Conference

This past Wednesday your HBA of Greenville was at the 2013 Youth Conference- Job/ Resource Fair inspiring and encouraging students to take a look at careers in the Home Building industry. This event was staffed by the Community Service Committee and held at McAlister Square. Hosted by SC Works Greenville & Personal Pathways to Success and featured employers from top companies in many industries. The goal of this job fair was to give at risk youth between the ages of 17-24 opportunities to speak with potential employers and find more information on a career that interests them - even apply for jobs. This type of event goes hand in hand with efforts on behalf of the HBA of Greenville and others in our area to improve workforce development. The workforce development initiative was started to get job seekers and students interested in all the many career opportunities  available with fair pay and in a stable job place where they can make a living and grow their career in a skilled trade. Many of the jobs highlighted in the workforce development initiative do not require a college degree, however some may require a trade school certificate or license.
We would like to thank Jon Statom of Palmetto Exterminators and Eddie Howard of Howard Custom Builders for taking the time out of their busy day to talk to the participants and help out with this event.

If you would like more information on the Greenville area's workforce development initiatives or more information on how to become more involved in the HBA of Greenville's Community Service Committee please contact Crystal Yanes at the HBA office (864-254-0311).

FHFA: House Price Index Up 0.7 Percent in April

U.S. house price appreciation continued in April 2013, rising 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 1.3 percent increase in March was revised upward to a 1.5 percent increase. This HPI change is the fifteenth consecutive monthly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Compared to April 2012, house prices were up 7.4 percent in April. The U.S. index is 11.7 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the January 2005 index level.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from March to April ranged from -0.2 percent in the New England division to +2.2 percent in the Mountain division, while the 12-month changes ranged from +2.9 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +17.1 percent in the Pacific division.

Monthly index values and appreciation rate estimates for recent periods are provided in the
table and graphs on the following pages. Click here for complete historical data at