Friday, March 21, 2014

EPA Drops Plans for New Post-Construction Stormwater Rule

In a major win for the home building industry – and common sense – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will jettison plans for a National Post Construction Stormwater Rulemaking, plans that your Home Builders Association repeatedly told the agency would have added onerous, costly and in many cases impractical steps to the residential development process. “It’s been a five-year bureaucratic battle, but we won. That’s a victory for our buyers as well,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.

Since EPA first announced its plans in December 2009, HBA staff and members have submitted comments and letters, testified at hearings, served on small-business panels and met with appointed and elected officials to explain why EPA’s proposal was an incursion into land-use regulations and plain wouldn’t work. In essence, a rule would have required all builders to retain a certain volume of stormwater onsite by using low-impact development techniques such as rain gardens, pervious pavements and other methods that often add money especially on sites with soil types that don’t easily infiltrate.

Some of the technologies EPA was considering would be almost impossible in many urban areas, making smart-growth and redevelopment projects less likely to succeed. They are also expensive: Builders who employ these practices have estimated they add at least 10-15% to the cost of a developed lot, depending on location and soil type.

EPA was also considering expensive retrofit requirements that would saddle municipalities and taxpayers with huge additional bills during a time when many cannot keep up with current infrastructure demands. “Green infrastructure systems are still a work in progress, and as technology progresses, we’ll discover solutions that work better and are less expensive,” Kelly said. “I’m glad that EPA has decided to concentrate on education programs rather than proposing this rule, and I am proud of the role we played to make that happen.”

Your Home Builders Association is talking to EPA about assisting with its low-impact development education efforts, and such practices already are part of the voluntary ICC 700 National Green Building Standard.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Source of Financing Available to HBA Members

Your Home Builders Association has worked for the last four years to restore sources of financing for home builders and developers who are members of their Home Builders Association.  The aggressive regulation of banks by federal regulators has limited the availability of financing, particularly for development of lots.  Your association's efforts have been in two areas: 1) aggressive lobbying of regulators and Congress to adjust the regulatory environment for lending for real estate development; and 2) identification and creation of new sources of financing.

At the Winter Board meetings in Las Vegas earlier this month North Star Finance presented a proposal to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Home Builders for a debt financing program for small- to mid-size home builders.  Loans are available up to $10 million.  The loan is non-recourse (no personal guarantees), payments are deferred during construction, and permanent financing is available following construction.  Terms are 100 percent debt financing and allows up to five percent in hard cost and four percent for supervision costs.

Terms include:
  • a refundable earnest money deposit of $30,000, which is held in escrow.  If North Star declines the loan, the deposit is returned.  If the borrower defaults, the deposit is forfeited.  The deposit is otherwise returned to the borrower at closing.
  • Fee to the lender is 7 percent.
  • Interest rate is 2.5 percent above LIBOR.
North Start Finance is a private equity group licensed and bonded in Maryland.

Information about the program is available to members of your Home Builders Association.  Contact Michael Dey at 864-254-0133 or email mdey@hbaofgreenville.com for detailed information about the program.

Your Home Builders Association is evaluating this program for possible endorsement through the Member Advantage Program.  At this time your HBA makes no representation--borrower beware.  Your association simply offers this information in light of the difficulty our members are having obtaining financing for their projects.

Note, however, that North Star Finance does require that the borrower be a member of the Home Builders Association.  Note also that North Star Finance is looking for members holding the credential Master in Residential Marketing to assist it with its review of local projects.

Southeast Builder Financing Fair

Your Home Builders Association is planning a builder financing fair to provide a one-stop venue for builders and developers in the region to meet with potential funding sources.

Below are the vital details on the Southeast Builder Financing Fair:
  • What: Southeast Builder Financing Fair
  • When: May 20, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 
  • Where: Georgia International Convention Center
The Southeast Builder Financing Fair will feature a diverse range of debt and equity sources including local, regional and national banks as well as private investors and financial advisors. Participation in the Financing Fair will only be available to members of the Home Builders Association.  There will be no cost to participate.
We expect to have at least 20 financial firms on site. In advance of their arrival, attendees will be able to schedule private meetings with financial firms or advisors. In addition, there will be an education program on financing opportunities, informal networking, and lunch will be provided.

Registration for the Financing Fair will open April 1, your Home Builders Association will provide links to the registration site, a list of participating financial institutions and a description of the on-site educational program. Instructions on how to schedule meetings will be issued in early May to members who have registered.

Help Wanted: Office Manager

Your Home Builders Association has an opening for the position of Office Manager.  The candidate will have three- to five-years of experience in a small-office setting managing all aspects of the administrative operations of a professional office.  Bookkeeping experience is a must. 

Our office is face-paced and sometimes demanding, but we enjoy our work with our members and the opportunity to work together as a team. 

Competitive salary and benefits are offered to the right professional.  Please submit your resume and cover letter to eo@HBAofGreenville.com.

2014 Golf Classic - May 8th starting at 11:30 a.m.


Spring is officially here so dust of your golf clubs because the HBA of Greenville will host its annual Golf Classic on Thursday May 8th at The Preserve at Verdae.  The event is sponsored by Stock Building Supply with Piedmont Natural Gas as presenting sponsor. The Golf Classic is Captain's Choice Format and will have a Shotgun Start at 11:30 am


Team and sponsorship opportunities available, please call the HBA office if you would like to participate.

Volunteers NEEDED: We also have a need for volunteers if you would like to help please contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133 or email Crystal Yanes at cyanes@hbaofgreenville.com.



Monday, March 17, 2014

New Member Orientation/ Meet the Board of Directors- Thursday March 27th

Join us for a New Member Orientation sponsored by PestBan on March 27th beginning at 5:30 p.m. Learn about the HBA of Greenville and meet other members as well as the Board members. 
This event is open to all new members who have joined the association since December 2013 to present and members who are interested in learning more about the HBA
 
The New Member Orientation will be held at the HBA office (5 Creekside Park Court, Suite A, Greenville, SC). 
Please RSVP by Tuesday March 25th by emailing cyanes@hbaofgreenville.com or by calling the HBA office at (864) 254-0133.

We hope to see you there!

Hard Hat Tour on March 20th sponsored by Dillard Jones Builders with Conservus Group

Join us this Thursday, March 20th at the HBA of Greenville's Hard Hat Tour at the Southern Living Showcase Home. The event is sponsored by Dillard-Jones Builders with Conservus Group, exclusive Sales and Marketing for the The Ridges at Paris Mountain.

The event will start at 10am with muffins and mimosas and will involve a tour and information on how to sell new home construction to potential buyers.

You can also register to win an iPad Mini.

For more information or to register for this event please contact Crystal Yanes at the the HBA office. 864-254-0133 or cyanes@hbaofgreenville.com

44th Annual HBASC Bird Supper is March 25

Are you attending the Bird Supper?  You should if you want to be a part of solving excessive regulation instead of just being a victim of it.

Since 1970, Home Builders Association members and South Carolina’s legislators have been attending the Bird Supper. It is the longest standing event on the South Carolina legislative calendar.
  • When: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Seawells in Columbia, SC (1125 Rosewood Drive)
The S.C. Builders PAC Reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. for Silver Hammer donors and higher.

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.

UPDATE:
The Bird Supper Day agenda is as follows:
  • 3:30 p.m. - Board of Directors Meeting
  • 4:30 p.m. Governor and Lt. Governor Candidates Round Table
  • 5:30 p.m. - SC Builders PAC Reception Honoring Hammer & Trowel Award Winners
    • Invitation Only - SC Builders PAC $250 + Contributors
  • 6:30 p.m. The Bird Supper and Hammer and Trowel Ceremony 
Below are talking points for your discussions with your legislators:







TALKING POINTS:
While the General Assembly will deal with a variety of subjects, there are several issues of importance to home builders and that our industry are likely to receive consideration this session and the next.

Local Business Licenses:
H.3986 - Rep. Samuel Rivers
CALL TO ACTION
The HBASC has long been working to improve the business license environment in South Carolina. A number of our members have expressed significant concerns with the current process that makes compliance extremely difficult and places a heavy burden on small businesses. Rep. Samuel Rivers has filed H.3986 to freeze business license fees charged by municipalities to existing levels as of January 1, 2013 and allow counties to become the centralized collection point for those fees.
MESSAGE
Share with your Representatives and Senators how
your company is negatively impacted by the business
license process and this issue needs to be addressed
as soon as possible.
CO-SPONOSORS
House: Rivers, Bowen, Simrill, Atwater, Toole, Huggins, Ballentine, Delleney, Finlay, Hixon, Lowe, D.C. Moss, Norman, Pope, Putnam, Sandifer, Thayer, Loftis, Burns and Goldfinch

Local Lobbying Requirements:
H.3945 – Rep. G.M. Smith
CALL TO ACTION
During debate on the Senate floor, an amendment to the Ethics Reform bill was proposed to require any individual who is retained for the expressed purpose of testifying before a county council, city council, or other political subdivision – regardless of whether or not the individual is compensated – to register as a lobbyist with the State Ethics Commission. This would mean any builder or contractor who goes before a local governing body for any action (i.e. permits, variances, zoning changes, etc.)
would be required to register as a lobbyist. This would create a hindrance not only for our local HBAs, but also for any HBA member by placing them under the same provisions (fees, personal financial declarations, and detailed issue reports) as a state level lobbyist.
MESSAGE
Ask your Representative to support ethics reform, but oppose any attempts to require builders and contractors to be required to register as a lobbyist at the local level.
CO-SPONSORS
House: Harrell, Lucas, Bannister, Toole, Stringer, Hamilton, Sottile, Barfield, Bingham, Spires, Hardwick, Owens, Hiott, Long, Erickson, Murphy, Horne, Willis, Gagnon, Simrill, Funderburk and Henderson

Patent Trolling: 
H.4629 – Rep. Finlay & S.1121 – Sen. Campbell
CALL TO ACTION
This legislation addresses the demand letter issue that builders across the country are beginning to face. In these situations, a builder receives a letter claiming that a particular building method they are using is patented by the “patent troll” and thus the builder is guilty of patent infringement. The letter will threaten legal action unless the builder pays a license fee to the supposed patent holder. This issue surfaced in Oregon when a supposed patent holder sent a letter to builders claiming to hold a patent covering all aspects of moister remediation during construction. The letter claimed all moisture remediation procedures other than natural drying or use of the home’s furnace was a patent infringement. The “patent troll” offered to license the procedure to the builder for $150/house in lieu of legal action. According to a Boston University study, patent trolls cost US companies more than $29 billion in legal fees and settlements in 2011 alone.
MESSAGE
Ask your Representative to co-sponsor and support H.4629, and your Senators to co-sponsor and support S.1121, to prevent patent trolls from threatening baseless lawsuits against builders and contractors.
CO-SPONOSORS
House: Ballentine, Cole, Delleney and Huggins
Senate: Setzler, McElveen and L. Martin

Property Tax Discount for Active Duty Military:
H.3027 – Rep. G.M. Smith
CALL TO ACTION
In light of current action being taken by the Federal government as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, H.3027 provides a property tax credit for active duty military personnel in South Carolina. The bill will allow for active duty members of the military who are relocated or reassigned for at least one year to qualify for the 4% special assessment ratio. This bill is expected to provide addition help to members of the military stationed in South Carolina, and to help the state
avoid potential closures as part of BRAC by creating a better environment for military personnel.
MESSAGE
Thank your Representatives and Senators for supporting this legislation to protect South Carolina’s military installations. Special thanks goes to Jimmy Derrick for spearheading the effort to make this bill a reality.
CO-SPONOSORS
House: Pitts, Ballentine, J.E. Smith, Bernstein, Harrell, Cobb-Hunter, Whipper and R.L. Brown

South Carolina Building Code
CALL TO ACTION
The HBASC is working with a number of interested groups to create the South Carolina Building Code. This state-specific code would allow for a more efficient and effective code adoption process. The code would be tailored to South Carolina and take into consideration the specific needs of the building and development industry in our state. The SC Building Code would also change to a five year code adoption cycle to mirror other building published building codes and recent legislation in other states.
MESSAGE
Tell your Representatives and Senators how burdensome the current code adoptions process and how a South Carolina-specific building code would benefit our industry and affordable housing. This bill is expected to be filed in the next legislative session.

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF HOUSING IN S.C.
Home building generates substantial economic benefits for S.C., including income and jobs for
residents of the state, and revenue for the state government and local governments within the
state. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has developed a model to estimate these
economic benefits.

The model captures the effect of the construction activity itself, the ripple impact that occurs when
income earned from construction activity is spent and recycles in the state’s economy, and the ongoing impact that results from new homes becoming occupied by residents who pay taxes and buy goods and services produced within the state. In order to fully capture the positive impact residential construction has on a state’s economy, it’s important to include the ripple effects and the ongoing benefits.

S.C. is projected to build 20,000 single family homes in 2014. The estimated economic impact is at least:
  • $3.2 billion in income for South Carolina residents,
  • $690.2 million in taxes and other revenue for the state and local governments in the state, and
  • 57,120 new jobs in South Carolina.
The additional, annually recurring impacts of building 20,000 single-family homes in South Carolina include:

  • $554.2 million in income for South Carolina residents,
  • $203.2 million in taxes and other revenue for the state and local governments in the state, and
  • 11,284 new jobs in South Carolina.

These are ongoing, annual local impacts that result from the new homes being occupied and the occupants paying taxes and otherwise participating in the state economy year after year.