Wednesday, December 30, 2015

FHFA: Mortgage Interest Rates Fall in November

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from October to November, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's mortgage rate index.

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index was 3.85 percent for loans closed in late November, down 4 basis points from 3.89 percent in October.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.86 percent, down 4 basis points from 3.90 in October.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.08 percent, down 4 basis points from 4.12 in October.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.01 percent in November, down 3 basis points from 4.04 percent in October. The effective interest rate accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage.

The average loan amount for all loans was $319,800 in November, up $11,200 from $308,600 in October.

Monday, December 28, 2015

FHFA House Price Index Up 0.5 Percent in October

U.S. house prices rose in October, up 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.8 percent increase in September was revised downward to reflect a 0.7 percent increase.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From October 2014 to October 2015, house prices were up 6.1 percent.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from September 2015 to October 2015 ranged from -0.5 percent in the New England division to +1.2 percent in the East South Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +2.9 percent in the New England division to +8.9 percent in the Mountain division.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Welcome to Our 2016 Board of Directors

After the nominations had been submitted, our 2016 Board of Directors were approved and elected at our Annual Membership Meeting earlier this month, with Joe Hoover leading as President.  Thank you to our 2015 President Susan Peace-Vernon and the wonderful Board that accompanied her as they worked together on public policy initiatives, strengthening the Approved Professional Builder/Remodeler Program, and community service projects that directly assisted families in the Upstate. We are excited to see the 2016 Board work just as hard on improving our industry and association in the new year.

Newly Elected 2016 Board of Directors-Officers:
President, Joe Hoover, APB, Hoover Custom Construction
President Elect, Bob Barreto, GBS Building Supply
Vice President, James Speer, APB, Carson Speer Builders

Newly Elected 2016 Board of Directors-Members:
Ben Moseley, Heirloom Stair & Iron
Alan Wilson, Clark's Termite and Pest Control
Matt Shouse, APB, LS Homes
Matt Ruth, APB, Mobius Construction
Thomas Dillard, APB, Dillard-Jones Builders
Bill Kane, APB, Ryan Homes

Continuing on the Board of Directors:

Associate Vice-President, Jon Statom, Palmetto Exterminators
Immediate Past President, Susan Peace-Vernon, APB, Dillard-Jones Builders
Treasurer, Chuck Childress, BB&T
Secretary, Scott Warren, APB, Dunn Custom Builders

Friday, December 18, 2015

FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Rates Decreased in October

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from September to October, according to several indices of new mortgage contracts.
  • The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index was 3.89 percent for loans closed in late October, down 4 basis points from 3.93 percent in September. 
  • The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.90 percent, down 5 basis points from 3.95 in September.
  • The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.12 percent, down 5 basis points from 4.17 in September.
  • The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.04 percent in October, down 6 basis points from 4.10 percent in September. The effective interest rate accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage.
  • The average loan amount for all loans was $308,600 in October, up $900 from $307,700 in September.
FHFA will release November index values Wednesday, December 30, 2015.

FHFA House Price Index Up 1.3 Percent in the Third Quarter

U.S. house prices rose 1.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). This is the 17th consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.8 percent from August. House prices rose 5.7 percent from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Home prices rose in every state (except for West Virginia) and in th​e District of Columbia between the third quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2015. Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the third quarter, posting a 2.4 percent quarterly increase and a 9.0 percent increase since the third quarter of last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices rose 0.2 percent from the last quarter.

Rebuild Upstate and HBA to Rehabilitate a Clemson Home, January 9

On January 9, 2016 your Home Builders Association is working with Rebuild Upstate to repair and rehabilitate a family's home in Greenville. We are looking for volunteers to do the work, as well as material donated to help fray the cost. Please contact Crystal Yanes at (864) 254-0133 or cyanes@hbaofgreenville.com if you are interested in donating or volunteering.

Description of Work: Repair front steps; build ramp off back porch with concrete sidewalk to driveway; HVAC ducts need re-wrapping; replace toilet and sink in master bath.

Background: Ms. Jones is a 70 year old woman with severe arthritis and cancer She has  hard time getting around, and no funds due to medical treatments and fixed income to spend on repairs on her trailer. The handrails on her front step are not secured well, and the treads are mildewy and slippery. She would benefit from a ramp out of her back door, her duct work needs to be re-wrapped, and her toilet and sink need to be replaced. With these repairs, we will give her a safer and more sustainable place to live.


Other Info:
  • Number of volunteers needed: 8
  • Plan to work from 8-5
  • Please carpool, if possible. Parking is limited
  • Please bring your own snacks and lunch.
  • Please wear close-toe shoes and dress appropriately
  • Please fill out the Volunteer Release Form below

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Supreme Court to Hear Clean Water Act Case

Your Home Builders Association’s two-decade battle to right a federal regulation that can unnecessarily cost a home builder thousands of dollars is finally going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Friday, the Court agreed to hear Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, which concerns whether a “jurisdictional determination” (J.D.) made under the Clean Water Act is a “final agency action” under the Administrative Procedure Act. If the answer is yes, then landowners could dispute J.D.s in court without first seeking a permit that the landowner does not think he or she needs.

The National Association of Home Builders was the only amicus that requested the Court to accept this case.

Builders and developers often obtain J.D.s that explain which parts of their property are wetlands or jurisdictional waters. Of course, any area that is jurisdictional requires a Corps’ permit before a property owner may develop it.

The problem has always been that property owners could not dispute in court whether a specific area is jurisdictional. The Corps and courts always required them to endure the entire permit process before they could go to court.

That, in turn, means that the property owner could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a permit that may not have been necessary.

Your Home Builders Association has been fighting this issue for at least 20 years.

Coat Drive Was a Success!

The Community Service Committee is proud to announce that they collected 30 coats to be donated. Thanks to GBS Building Supply for matching our donation and transporting the coats to Haven of Rest in Anderson. We appreciate the kindness and generosity of our members in helping those in need.

Interested in helping your HBA with more service projects? Join the Community Service Committee by emailing eo@hbaofgreenville.com to let us know!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Professional Women in Building Shows Impressive Growth

After last week's Annual Membership Meeting, Carol Morgan discussed the merits of starting a Professional Women in Building (PWB) committee locally with the Home Builders Association of Greenville. Those who attended the panel were very interested in starting this prestigious group, and we wanted to see if there was a similar interest among our members who could not make the Annual Membership Meeting.

Please look out for information on an interest meeting that will most likely take place at our Housing Market Forecast in February. The interest meeting will be free and does not require registration, but if you would like to attend the Forecast please register here.

Want to learn more about the PWB? Read the article below from NAHB profiling the HBA of Metro Denver's PWB council.


NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) is the Federation’s fastest growing council, and there’s a reason why.

When the group laid out its strategic plan in the fall of 2013, the roster listed fewer than 900 members. Council leadership made it a goal to reach 1,000 members in the first year, and increase that figure by 10% each year.

“It was a lofty goal to start and we didn’t know if we were going to hit it or not,” said Carole Jones, CAPS, CGB, CGP, PWB chair, and licensed builder and associate broker from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “But we far surpassed it and are still going strong.”

Membership in the council has grown by 57% over the past three years – from 872 members in 2012 to 1,374 members today, according to PWB Executive Director Sheronda Carr. This year alone, the council started four new chapters, and three more are slated to launch in time for the 2016 International Builders’ Show.

“PWB is seeing an organic evolution of women at the grassroots level making the necessary strides to fuel the next generation of female building professionals through industry support, professional development, and leadership training opportunities,” Carr said. “Our members are not just the builder’s wives anymore, but accredited, licensed and certified professionals representing all facets of the residential construction industry.”

A shining example of this trend is the Denver PWB. Chris Presley, president and founder of of Epic Homes, and the first female president (in the 73-year history) of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, said that establishing an avenue for women in the profession to connect and engage was a top priority for her.

Starting with just six women in October 2014, the council has now grown to 179 members, and steadily continues to increase.

“Our goal was just to get 20 to 40 members in the first year,” Presley said. “We actually had to cut off registration for the kickoff event. Over 180 people RSVP’d; the initial reservation was only for 50 people.”

One of the things that surprised her most, she said, was the number of people who showed up that were not members of the HBA.

“I was astounded. There must have been a real need in Denver,” she said.

To that end, the council has wasted no time providing the valuable programs, activities and services that industry professionals are seeking from such an organization.

Presley said they offer members a quarterly luncheon, a monthly informal happy hour in a no-selling environment, education and professional development series, mentoring, and community service opportunities.

In general, where most professionals find PWB valuable is in the opportunities it affords to find other people, programs and projects locally that can help them reach their career goals, Jones said.

For example, Random Acts of Coffee, which is a fun and unique way to get members to meet someone new – has been wildly successful for members of the Denver PWB.

At luncheons, individuals place their name in a hat and while they’re eating they’re randomly matched with another member with whom they are expected to meet for coffee and chat. Presley said that it has led to a number of business relationships that may not otherwise exist.

Jones firmly believes that PWB has become the fastest growing council in the Federation because members understand the value that being involved brings to their business, and they share their thoughts and experiences with their peers, social and business networks.

The value isn’t hard to see. Findings from a recent NAHB survey of women in the home building industry showed that current membership in a PWB Council correlates with higher company earnings.

The median dollar volume members expected in 2014 was $2.9 million, about 22% higher than the $2.4 million expected by those who had never been a council member, and about 12% higher than the $2.6 million expected by past members of the council whose memberships expired.

The survey also provided some evidence that more women are seeking out careers with the construction industry. According to survey results, women represent about 40% of most companies’ workforce. Twenty-two percent of respondents said that women make up 80% of their companies’ workforce.

Anecdotally, Presley shared that one of her male peers, a division head of one of the largest home building companies in the country and one of the top five builders in Denver, said he started attending the PWB luncheons to seek out help on how to elevate women, since they’ve become such a large part of his organization.

“It’s good feedback because it allows us to tailor our professional development and education programs and provide more coaching and training to address those skills and qualities that tend to be less common in women,” Presley said, citing the confidence and willingness to ask and go after what they want in a business environment as one example.

Office Closed for Christmas, New Years


Your Home Builders Association office will be closed December 24, 25, 31, and January 1. We would like to wish all of our members a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year, from your Home Builders Association family. We look forward to another year of good friends and hard work to improve our industry.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Call for Nominations--Builder, Associate, and Remodeler of the Year

We feature our Bridge Award winners in
our weekly column in the Greenville News.
Recent Builder of the Year Gus Rubio is shown
here featured in the column from 10/02/15.
Your Home Builders Association asks that you recommend a member for our annual BB&T Builder of the Year Award, Richard A. Ashmore, Sr., Associate of the Year Award, and Remodeler of the Year Award. The awards are given to a member who freely gives of his or her time, efforts and participation in order to make the HBA of Greenville a stronger organization for all of its members. These members serve the industry through participation on HBA Committees and with special projects of the Home Builders Association. Each represents the highest level of integrity and honesty in the home building industry. You can find a full list of winners on our website, but below is a list of recent recipients:

Builder of the Year:
  • Gus Rubio, CMB, CGP, APB, Gabriel Builders, 2014
  • Robert Markel, CGR, 2013
  • Wayne Moore, 2012
  • Thomas Dillard, CGP, 2011
  • Brad Thompson, 2010
  • Todd Usher, Master CGP, GMB, 2009
  • Rick Quinn, 2008
  • Ted Smith, 2007
  • Coleman Shouse, 2006
  • Ted Smith/Ron Taylor, 2005
  • Keith Smith, 2004
  • Jim Gregorie, 2003
  • Dan Rawls, 2002
  • Clyde Rector, 2001
  • Bill Fuller, 2000


Richard A. Ashmore, Sr., Associate of the Year:

  • Ron Tate, Esq., Gallivan, White & Boyd, 2014
  • Bob Barreto, 2013
  • Jon Statom, 2012
  • Jason Freeman, 2011
  • Scott Presley, 2010
  • Eric Hedrick, 2009
  • Chuck Childress, 2008
  • Tom Ward, 2007
  • Scott Presley, 2006
  • Lou Hutchings, 2005
  • Richard Powers, 2004
  • Sandy Wiygul-Bell, 2003
  • Robert Murphy, 2002
  • Gary Gilliam, 2001
  • Richard Powers, 2000

Remodeler of the Year:
  • Alan Boone, APR, Advanced Renovations, 2014
  • Mike Freeman, GMB, APB, ACA/Freewood Contractors, 2013
  • Robert Markel, CGR, Hadrian Construction, 2012
  • Clyde Rector, APB, Merritt Homes, 1998
  • Miller Crittendon, 1999


In addition, these awards also may be given to members of the association:
  • Community Service Award
  • Membership Award
  • Spirit of the HBA Award
  • Committee Chairman of the Year Award
  • Rookie of the Year Award 

These awards may be given to a political or community leader:
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • HBASC Champion of Housing Award 

Award winners will be announced at the Third Annual Southern Home and Garden Bridge Awards, presented by GBS Building Supply. The date of this event is still to be determined, but will most likely be in March 2016.  If you know of a member or other person who should receive one of these awards, please send your nomination to Michael Dey at mdey@hbaofgreenville.com. Your nomination will be confidential.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

We had a Wonderful Time with the Past Presidents

Immediate Past President
Mike Freeman welcomes
Susan to the club.
Every year we take time to celebrate our past presidents for all of their hard work and dedication to improving the building industry. This year, we gathered on Tuesday for a luncheon at Larkin's on the River where we celebrated with good food, old friends, and plenty of laughter. We thanked current HBA President Susan Peace-Vernon for the commitment and grace she showed during her year of presidency. In order to welcome incoming president Joe Hoover, all the past presidents stood and shared a piece of advice from their own experience to help Joe--many simply wished him luck for the long year ahead.

This is always a wonderful event where we hear about lesser-known pieces of HBA history and marvel at how much the association has grown. The holiday season is the perfect time to come together for food and friends, and that is certainly what happened. Thank you to all who attended and to all who have served your HBA as president.


Current President Susan Peace-Vernon stands with
 incoming president Joe Hoover.

Thank you to all of our past presidents (not all are pictured).

Find more pictures from this event on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lucy Sabatine

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, we extend our sincere sympathy to the family of Lucy Sabatine of Roseto, PA, mother of HBA member Nick Sabatine of Greater Greenville Association of Realtors.

Lucy Sabatine, 92, passed away Wednesday December 2, 2015 at home. Born October 21, 1923 in Landisville, NJ, a daughter of the late Peter and Madeline (Leggio) Provenzano. Her beloved husband, Anthony Sabatine, passed away in 1965. She was a seamstress in various garment factories in the Slate Belt Area for many years retiring from the former Girl Fashions in 1991. She was a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Roseto and UNITE-the garment workers union. She is survived by a daughter Philomena Drogo of Roseto and a son Nicholas and his wife Francine Sabatine of Greenville, SC and granddaughters; Jennifer Francis and her husband Chris of East Earl, PA and Jessica Bremer and her husband Bill of Harrisburg, NC and great grandchildren Kyle and Kyra Francis and William and Derek Bremer and a granddog Lilly. She was predeceased by brothers; Ambrose, Thomas and John and a sister Bessie Provenzano and a son-in-law Michael Drogo.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday December 7, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Third & Garibaldi Avenues, Roseto. Burial will be in the New Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Roseto. Memorial Donations may be offered in Lucy's name to either the church, 560 North Sixth Street, Bangor, PA 18013 or to Celtic Hospice & Home Health 1619 N. 9th Street, Suite 14, Stroudsburg, PA 18360. Please keep Nick and his family in your thoughts.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Good News for Home Owners

In an important victory for NAHB and home owners, the House today approved a five-year highway bill that will not use guarantee fees (g-fees) collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for transportation programs.

The Senate is expected to approve the measure tomorrow and President Obama will sign the legislation into law shortly thereafter.

NAHB led the charge to strip a provision that would have used g-fees to help offset a funding shortfall from the final legislation.

G-fees are a critical risk management tool used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to protect against credit-related losses on mortgages they have purchased or mortgage-backed securities they have guaranteed. NAHB has always maintained that these fees should only be used for their intended purpose – to protect against mortgage defaults and ensure the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Despite strong opposition from NAHB, Congress voted in 2011 to enact a 10-year, 10 basis point increase in g-fees to fund the extension of the payroll tax cut. To help fund the long-term transportation bill, lawmakers subsequently proposed what would amount to a $1.9 billion tax on home owners by providing a four-year extension of the previous 10 basis point increase through 2025.

In an official statement, NAHB Chairman Tom Woods called it “outrageous” that Congress would consider using a g-fee hike to pay for transportation programs unrelated to the housing government sponsored enterprises.

“With first-time home buyers still hesitant to enter the marketplace, it makes no sense to impose what amounts to a new tax on homeownership that will disproportionately affect low- to moderate-income borrowers. Homeownership cannot, and must not, be used as the nation’s piggybank.”

Working with our Democratic and Republican allies in the House and Senate, NAHB ultimately was able to get the g-fee provision removed from the final transportation bill.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Building Science Seminar 12/09/15

Join Prime Energy Group as they host a luncheon on December 9, 2015 at the Old Cigar Warehouse. Registration is free and includes lunch, door prizes, and the chance to hear several excellent speakers. This event is being presented by one of our Home Builders Association members, Prime Energy Group. Register today to learn about the benefits of spray foam and other energy programs.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Good News From the IRS Regarding Repair Regulations

Responding to concerns voiced by NAHB members and other groups representing taxpayers, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have made a taxpayer-friendly change to tax regulations regarding repair and improvement expenses that took effect in 2014.

In general, the new rules require business taxpayers to capitalize, rather than expense or deduct, expenditures used for certain repair or maintenance projects.

Under the first edition of the repair rules, a taxpayer without an applicable financial statement could elect to expense purchases that cost up to $500 on a per-item basis. A separate $5,000 safe harbor was established for taxpayers with applicable financial statements. These safe harbors were created as a taxpayer simplification measure to reduce administrative costs.

Many organizations, including NAHB, provided examples to the IRS indicating that the $500 limit for taxpayers without financial statements was too low given typical costs of computers, machinery or equipment and parts.

In response to these concerns, Treasury and IRS have increased the $500 limit to a $2,500 per item safe harbor for costs incurred after Jan.1, 2016. This is a favorable change for the construction and real estate sectors, which possess a larger concentration of small businesses.

Here’s an example: Suppose a business taxpayer makes a significant repair to the HVAC system of a small apartment building that involves the purchase of a part that costs $2,000.

Assuming that the repair would otherwise require capitalization because the repair is significant and critical to the operation of the system, under the new increase in the safe harbor amount ($2,500), that cost may now be deducted immediately by the taxpayer without financial statements.

Be sure to consult your tax professional regarding this change and the new repair and maintenance rules in general.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Conforming Loan Limits Unchanged in SC at $417,000

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2016 will remain at $417,000 for one-unit properties in South Carolina. That amount is the conforming loan limit for the majority of the county. The loan limits are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and are calculated each year.

HERA sets maximum loan limits as a function of median home values. In 39 high-cost counties, loan limits will rise because those counties experienced increases in local home values. These metro areas include several west-coast counties as well as Boston, Denver, and Nashville.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) established the baseline loan limit at $417,000 and mandated that after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit cannot rise again until home prices return to pre-decline levels. The $417,000 loan limit will stay the same for 2016 because FHFA has determined that the average U.S. home value in the third quarter of this year remained below its level in the third quarter of 2007.

HERA provides for higher loan limits in high-cost counties by setting loan limits as a function of area median home value. Although the baseline loan limit will be unchanged in most of the country, 39 specific high-cost counties in which home values increased over the last year will see the maximum conforming loan limit for 2016 adjusted upward.

Although other counties also experienced home value increases in 2015, after other elements of the HERA formula — such as the statutory ceiling and floor on limits — were accounted for, these local-area limits were left unchanged.

A list of the 2016 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country can be found here.

MORE from IBS: Explore Buyer Preferences and Sales Success

In the last five years there has been a dramatic shift in what customers expect from their home shopping experience. That is why it is so important that your online and onsite sales programs work hand-in-hand. If you’re interested in learning more about how to do this, the 2016 International Builders’ Show is your one-stop-shop for all things sales and marketing.

This year, the show is offering several in-depth, three-hour intensive education sessions that dig deep into specific sales and marketing niches. For example, the session From Online to Onsite: Mapping Out Sales Success in 2016 & Beyond 
provides insight on how to build a sales machine that is 300% more effective when sales and marketing roles are united. During this session, participants get an in-depth look at the strategies used to build cohesive online and onsite programs. They’ll also learn how to create a structured online sales program that results in higher prospect engagement and increased appointments.

Another key session, Who (Really) Are Your Buyers? Leveraging Demographics & Personalities to Deliver What Buyers Crave, provides a deeper understanding of consumer science in home buying. Because no two people are exactly alike — we all act, think and communicate in unique ways — it can be a challenge when it comes to making a sale. This session gives builders key insight into consumer behavior and how that translates into more sales.

Don’t miss out on these opportunities to discover how to take your sales to an entirely new level. A real understanding of the people who will be living in your homes, can make a significant difference in your business.

IBS Has Exciting Opportunities for Young Professionals

The NAHB's International Builders' Show (IBS) is coming to Las Vegas in January, so buy your tickets today! If you are a Young Professional who is unsure of what benefit IBS will have for you, read on to see the opportunities at this year's show.

As the number of young professionals attending the Builders’ Show continues to grow, so does the education and events specially tailored to give up-and-coming industry professionals the tools they need to refine their skills, make new connections and have some fun!

Innovative Education
Explore cutting-edge innovations in technology, building materials, products and even financing through an exciting contemporary learning format in the NEW Innovation Hub. Attendees will also become the innovative resource behind developing topics being discussed in some “crowdsourced” sessions. Several sessions on various topics will be held inside the Innovation Hub during the three days of the show.

Residential Construction Management Competition
This competition is one of the highlights of the Builders’ Show and gives students the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom via the completion of a management project/proposal to a real construction company.
Proposals are submitted to a group of construction company executives who act as judges and students will defend their proposals to the judges in front of an audience. This is a great opportunity to watch students display their knowledge and skills. The competition takes place Monday and Tuesday, with the awards ceremony from 5-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan 20.

Under-40 Panel Discussion & Mixer
Professional Builder magazine editors will lead a sure-to-be-lively panel discussion featuring some of the industry’s under-40 rising stars. During this session, the panel will reveal some of their challenges and accomplishments, as well as their thoughts about how the industry can attract more young people. Grab a beer and listen to the panel on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 3:45-5 p.m.

Young Professionals After-Hours Party
One of the best ways to grow professionally is by meeting and networking with other industry professionals. The under-40 crowd will come together to enjoy incredible entertainment, an open bar and late night munchies, at the Foxtail Nightclub in SLS Las Vegas – one of the hottest new hotels on the strip — from 8-10 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Get complete descriptions and see additional young professional opportunities at IBS.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Office Closed November 26 and 27

The HBA of Greenville office will be closed Thursday, November 26th in observance of Thanksgiving. The office will reopen on Monday, November 30th with normal business hours.
We wish a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Your HBA is grateful for our members and the warm community that we have created.

HBA/SMC Annual Membership Meeting--Marketing, Bylaws, Elections, Oh My!

Marketing
Carol Morgan, managing partner of mRelevance, will be our featured speaker at this year's Annual Membership Meeting. Carol will explain how and why your website serves as the center of your strategy and how that informs each of your marketing tactics and activities. Get ideas for improving your marketing program with dozens of real-world examples of successful and innovative marketing tactics. This seminar will provide big picture marketing strategy guidance for marketing new homes, remodeling, products, and more.

Bylaws
Our Annual Membership Meeting is the time for everyone to gather and learn, but also to share your input with your Home Builders Association. This year the board has made some changes to the bylaws and we need our members to vote on those changes. To see these proposed changes, click here.

Elections
As 2015 comes to a close, it is time to elect your 2016 Board of Directors. The nominations are in and we need you to vote on the proposed board, which can be found here.

Bonus!
Join Carol after the Annual Meeting concludes for a separate information session on Professional  Women in Building, including Carol’s experience as the chair of the NAHB Professional Women in Building Committee. The SMC will also be holding a brief discussion before the Annual Meeting begins.

We are also hosting a coat drive for this event. Please bring a new or gently used coat to benefit those in need.

If you are unable to attend the Annual Membership Meeting you may vote via proxy card or directly online, both of which can be found here.

This is your chance to have your voice heard!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lot Leads--Get the Dirt on Available Lots

Your HBA has been alerted to a lot for sale in Greenville. See below for details:
Location: 6.42 Acres Woodland Drive Greenville, SC 29617, just 3 miles from Downtown Greenville, in area of homes off Poinsett Hwy between Cherrydale Point shopping center and Furman University.
Directions: From downtown Greenville, take Poinsett Highway 2.8 miles past Cherrydale Point shopping center. Take left onto Woodland Drive. Entrance to property is between two white houses on the right approximately 0.4 miles
Lot Details: Suitable for single family or rezone for multi-family development. Pre-approved preliminary subdivision plan available for consideration or develop as desired. County has pre-approved access drive, road location and cluster development. Currently zoned R10 but adjacent to RM20. Ample city water with access to new 6" main. Sewer main easement on property with pre-approved capacity. Property is wooded with very tall hardwood for timber.
Contact: Tax Map Number 0438000101001. Priced to sell quickly at $35/acre - $224,700 total.
For additional information, please contact Dave Jones@ 864-616-8888.
There is also a single residential building lot adjacent to the 6.42 acres. Tax Map Number 0438000101100. $24,000, same contact person.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Home Works is Looking for Volunteers to Help Columbia Flood Victims

Home Works of America has announced a task force that will act in December to help repair the homes of flood victims in Columbia. They need volunteers to help supervise the work. Please see their press release with more details below:
December 28-30 - In response to the historic flooding in October 2015, Home Works of America in partnership with the Building Industry Association and St. Bernard Project has repurposed the December home repair session and will designate all efforts to address the needs of flood victims who have not received help. Volunteers needed for supervision of job sites and preliminary assessments and repair of mechanical systems of selected homes. For more information click here or contact R.B. Gallup, BIA Task Force Member.

More than $110,000 has been donated by individuals, corporations, and foundations - which will be used to offset materials/supplies and direct costs for these repairs.
For more information about the goals of the Task Force (including United Way of the Midlands, Mungo Homes, AARP of SC, Habitat for Humanity, the BIA of Central SC, the Electric Cooperatives of SC) as well as key donor partners without which none of this would be possible, please contact Jim Powell, Executive Director. Press releases with specific information will be forthcoming.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Time is Running Out to Save on IBS Tickets

NAHB's International Builders' Show (IBS) is a three day event where members of the building industry have countless opportunities to learn and network. Taking place January 19-21 in Las Vegas, there are multiple benefits of attending, ten of which you can find here. There will also be a presidential candidates forum where they will be asked about questions pertaining to the building industry.

If you want to attend, buy your tickets before November 20 and get them at a discounted rate. Also, members receive a discount so speak up about your membership! For more information about the show and the amazing opportunities it offers, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thank You PAC Donors

We would like to thank everyone who has donated to the Political Action Committee this year:
Brittany Bailey
J. Coleman Shouse
Eric Hendrick
Jason Bergeron
Mike Freeman
Jon Statom
Michael Dey
Jamie McCutchen
Richard Powers
Matt Shouse
Michael Galloway
Hal Dillard
Rick Quinn
Bob Barreto
Ron Tate
James Speer
We would also like to thank everyone who came to the PAC dinner last night, including Mayor Dennis Raines and his wife. The attendees enjoyed fine wine and delicious food at Rick Quinn's home at our annual event to celebrate PAC donors.

We would love to see you next year at the annual PAC dinner. Be sure to donate $250 or more to the PAC, helping us to create relationship with law makers in order to make your job and our industry better.

Habitat for Humanity and HBA Partner to Help Greer Family

On February 13, the HBA of Greenville and Habitat for Humanity of Greenville need your help! Your HBA has partnered with Habitat of Greenville to rehabilitate and weatherize a family's home in Greer. With donations and volunteers from HBA of Greenville members, we can knock this project out in a day or two. Some of the materials needed include doors, a mail box, kitchen appliances, and carpet. See below for the full list.

If you would like to help please call Crystal Yanes at the HBA office 864-254-0133 for more information.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

NAHB: Greenville housing market continues to improve

The economic and housing recovery continues at a slow, but steady pace. For the country as a whole, the Leading Markets Index (LMI) rose to .93 in the third quarter of 2015, .01 point higher than its level in 2015, and .04 point higher than its level from one year ago. The index uses single-family housing permits, employment and home prices to measure proximity to a normal economic and housing market. The index is calculated for both the entire country and for 364 local markets, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). A value of 1.0 means the market (or country) is back to the last level of normality.



Greater Greenville
The Greenville area also continues to improve.  In the third quarter the index rose .02 to .94.  Permits continue to lag at .61, but housing prices are at 1.25 and jobs are at .95.  Spartanburg also is at .95, but permits have risen to a much more healthy .78.  Charleston is the only marketing in South Carolina that has returned to normal at 1.07 with permits at .80.




Nationally, all three components of the LMI contributed to the quarter-over-quarter growth in the nationwide score. Permits rose from .46 to .47, prices increased from 1.35 to 1.37, and employment rose from .96 to .97. Over the year, the permits, prices, and employment components expanded by .04, .07, and .02 respectively. Regionally, 79 of the 364 markets, 21%, have an LMI Score that is greater than or equal to 1.0 and are considered normal, up from 74 in the second quarter of 2015 and 62 last year.

While most markets do not have an Overall LMI Score that is greater than or equal to 1.0, a recovery in one or more components has taken place across a number of MSAs. For example, in 26 markets single-family permits have returned to normal. This is unchanged from the second quarter, but 5 more than last year’s total. The number of markets where house prices are considered normal was also unchanged over the quarter at 345, but it is 6 greater than the 339 markets from one year ago. Meanwhile, the number of MSAs where employment has reached or exceeded normal reached 72, up from 64 markets in the second quarter and from 40 markets one year ago.

Of the 364 MSAs included in the LMI, 56% saw their score increase over the quarter and 69% recorded year-over-year growth. According to the map above, the MSAs with the largest year-over-year increase, those markets where the annual increase in its LMI Score exceeded that of the nation as a whole, were largely located in the West and in the South, and many reside in the former “bubble” states of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. As illustrated by the first map, many of the markets in these states now have an LMI score closer to the middle of the Score distribution, and off the bottom, indicating that the effects of the crisis in these MSAs are disappearing and the recovery in these markets is taking hold.

Housing Affordability Rises in Greenville, Falls Nationally

Modest home price and interest rate increases resulted in a slight drop in nationwide housing affordability in the third quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

“Attractive home prices and interest rates, along with firming job growth, are helping housing markets across the country to gradually improve,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “While this bodes well for housing in the coming year, builders continue to face challenges, including a lack of available lots and skilled labor.”

“The decline in the index was slight and affordability remains good,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “With mortgage rates near historic lows and home prices advancing at a modest pace, this is an excellent time to buy.”

In all, 62.2 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is down from the 63.2 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the second quarter.

The national median home price increased slightly from $230,000 in the second quarter to $231,000 in the third quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged higher from 3.99 percent to 4.18 percent in the same period.



Greenville and the Upstate
The index for Greater Greenville rose to 80 in the second quarter from 77.7 in the first quarter and 73.4 in the same quarter last year.  House prices rose slightly while income remained the same.  Greater Greenville ranks as the 76th most affordable housing market in the country.

Featured Markets
Syracuse, N.Y. was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, switching places with Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., which fell to the second slot on the list. In Syracuse, 91.7 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $68,500.

Rounding out the top five affordable major housing markets in respective order were Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Meanwhile, Glens Falls, N.Y. claimed the title of most affordable small housing market in this year’s third quarter. There, 92.6 percent of homes sold during the second quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $65,400.

Smaller markets joining Glens Falls at the top of the list included Sandusky, Ohio; Kokomo, Ind.; Springfield, Ohio; and Rockford, Ill.

For the 12th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 10.5 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,400.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were located in California. In descending order, they included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara.; and Santa Rosa-Petaluma.

All five least affordable small housing markets were also in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif., where 16.5 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $87,000. Other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included Salinas; Napa; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles; and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, respectively.

Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Editor’s Note
The Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning the area’s median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by Core Logic, a data and analytics company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The HOI is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

REMINDER (Builders): Property Tax Relief Deadline is Near

For our builder members: BELOW are the details for a tax exemption on property taxes that the HBA fought hard to get for our builder members. Take advantage of it and apply before January 31.

As the result of legislation supported by your Home Builders Association, Home Builders are eligible for property tax relief on homes they have completed but are not yet sold or occupied. The relief is available for up to five years, but is lost once the home is occupied (for example, if the home is rented) or sold.
January 31, 2016 is a VERY IMPORTANT date. The property tax exemption deadline for recertifying unoccupied homes that got property tax relief in 2015, and for certifying any newly constructed homes, or older homes that have not been enrolled in the program for the 2015 property tax year, is January 31. Those who fail to certify or recertify with their county assessor byJanuary 31 will have no recourse and there will be no exceptions and no tax relief. If you think you might be eligible, contact your county assessor. When in doubt, call your assessor. There are significant savings to be had by participating in this property tax relief program.

Relief also is available for the part of the year in which the home is completed. However, you must apply for relief within 30 days of receiving a certificate of occupancy.

DETAILS OF LAW:
  1. Effective date: July 1, 2010
  2. Homes Covered by Law: Newly constructed unoccupied detached single-family homes built in 2008 or later.
  3. Extent of Tax Relief: Provides property tax relief only for real estate improvement (new home), but builder/developer still pays property tax on the unimproved land.
  4. First Eligible Tax Year: 2010 property tax year. No refunds are available for the 2008 and 2009 tax years. Exemption application must have been made by September 30, 2010, to be eligible for relief in the 2010 tax year.
  5. Duration of Eligibility: Until the house is sold, occupied, or it has reached the property tax year ending the sixth December 31(five years) from the date a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), if required, was issued, whichever comes first.
  6. Recertification: After the initial application, the builder will be required to re-certify homes with Certificate of Occupancy (CO) annually by January 31 every eligible year that the house remains unoccupied.
  7. Homes with No CO: Homes without a certificate of occupancy (if required) are not habitable, therefore they can’t be occupied. This means that they can’t be added to the tax rolls until both the CO is issued (if required) and the house is occupied (Administrative Law Court decision).
  8. Change in Occupancy: Builders are required to notify the assessor if the house is rented or is occupied by the builder. The house permanently loses its tax exemption with the notification. If the house is sold, the assessor will pick up the change in tax status when property deed is recorded.
  9. Legal Reference: Section 12-37-220(B) of state code of law. Bill – H. 3018, Ratification- R88, Act- 76
  10. Obtaining Exemption: Homes Receiving CO in 2010 or later, notify assessor within 30 days of receiving a CO, or by January 31, that the house is unoccupied. If house sale is not pending, it would seem prudent to file the exemption form when the CO is issued just to be safe. Each county has a form to claim the exemption. However, the form may vary slightly from county to county. To protect your legal rights, the application must be notarized.
Below is contact information for the County Assessors in the Upstate:

Greenville County: www.greenvillecounty.org or 864-467-7300
Pickens County: www.pickensassessor.org or 864-898-5872
Laurens County: www.laurenscountytaxes.com or 864-984-6546
Spartanburg County: www.spartanburgcounty.org or 864-487-2552
Anderson County: www.andersoncountysc.org or 864-260-4028
Oconee County: www.oconeesc.com or 864-638-4150
Greenwood County: www.co.greenwood.sc.us or 864-942-8537
Abbeville County: www.abbevillecountysc.com or 864-366-5312 ext. 102
Union County: www.countyofunion.org or 864-429-1600
Cherokee County: www.cherokeecountysctax.com or 864-487-2543

For more information or for questions, please contact Michael Dey at 864-254-0133 or mdey@hbaofgreenville.com.

EPA Ramps Up Lead Paint Inspections

If you are a builder or remodeler, this information from NAHB regarding the EPA's crackdown on lead paint is crucial for your business.

Some regional offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are changing the way they approach lead-safe work practice inspections, which could be a factor in the rising number of companies fined for violating EPA regulations.

EPA’s approach to lead-safe work practice inspections varies by region. Region 7 (Midwest) is the latest to employ a more targeted approach, having recently increased its focus on the St. Louis, Mo., area.

The strategy mirrors what was done during the summer of 2014 in EPA Region 1 (New England), which concentrated its efforts primarily in New Haven, Conn. EPA says the strategy led to improved compliance and awareness of the Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) regulations. Out of the 65 inspections conducted in New Haven during that period, EPA issued enforcement actions against six companies.

“After seeing what was done in Region 1, we saw an opportunity for us to not only educate the remodeler community, but also the general public to help drive demand for the remodelers who are certified to do the job the right way,” said Jamie Green, chief of the toxics and pesticides branch for Region 7.

EPA issued a press release and conducted radio interviews when the initiative kicked off last August. Since then, 26 inspections have been conducted in St. Louis to evaluate lead-safe work practices.

Inspectors also began conducting “compliance assistance visits,” reaching approximately 200 remodelers throughout the city. The visits were done at times when regulated work was not being done, so rather than carry out an inspection, the inspectors would explain the RRP regulations, deliver information packets and answer questions.

Projects that receive full inspections are identified in a variety of ways, but primarily as a result of tips and complaints submitted by the general public, as well as from EPA-lead searches of publicly available information.

Still, many are conducted on an ad-hoc basis, according to Green, who says inspectors will often drop in on a project while traveling to and from predetermined inspections.

Next month, Region 7 will launch an advertising campaign to raise awareness among St. Louis-area consumers about the risks of lead exposure.

“The ultimate goal here is to protect children’s health,” Green said. “There are a lot of remodelers out there who are doing it right, so a large piece of this is to make sure we’re reaching out to consumers about the value of hiring those certified renovators.”

Green says it’s too early to determine the impact of the new, targeted approach. However, the focus on St. Louis will continue through the end of the year, when Green will assess the initiative’s effectiveness and decide if similar measures would be worthwhile in other parts of the region.

Nationwide, the number of enforcement actions against businesses that violated the RRP regulation increased in 2015. Seventy-five companies received fines of $2,000 to more than $50,000, mostly for violating work practice standards and/or failing to obtain proper training and certification regarding lead-safe work practices.

For more information about how to comply with the RRP rule, visit nahb.org or visit the HBA of Greenville at hbaofgreenville.com.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Apartment Absorptions for the Second Quarter

This data is fresh from NAHB's Eye on Housing blog, and relates well to our discussion at last months Sales and Marketing Council education event.

The rental apartment market continued to be strong during the second quarter of 2015, as multifamily production levels remain elevated.

According to NAHB analysis of the most recent data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments (SOMA), completions of privately financed, unsubsidized, unfurnished rental apartments in buildings with five or more units totaled 210,200 residences for the four quarter period ending with the first quarter of 2015, a 40% increase from the prior four quarters.

Non-seasonally adjusted three-month absorption rates (units rented after construction of the property is complete) for first quarter completions (rented during the second quarter of 2015) were effectively unchanged from a year prior at 61%. Absorption rates for rental apartments rose coming out of the recession but have established a more stable range since 2011, a period during which completions have increased substantially.


In contrast, condo and co-op completions remain at historically low levels, with 1,300 for-sale multifamily homes (in 5+ unit properties) completed during the first quarter of 2015. The non-seasonally adjusted 3-month absorption rate for for-sale multifamily for condos completed during the first quarter and sold during the second quarter of 2015 held strong at 74%.


The SOMA data also reveal that for properties with five or more units, approximately 5,300 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit or other federally subsidized units were completed during the first quarter of 2015. Over the last four quarters, 27,300 LIHTC and other affordable housing units were completed (approximately 10% of total apartment completions).


Friday, November 6, 2015

NAHB Helps Clarify EPA's New Rule

Having trouble understanding the EPA's new rule and how it will affect you? NAHB clarifies with infographics and projections below.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone has been published in the Federal Register.
As previously reported by NAHBNow, EPA revised the standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from the 75 ppb set in 2008.
Based on the agency’s 2012-2014 air quality monitoring data, there are at least 241 counties where current ozone levels exceed the newly revised 2015 standard (below).
map
By comparison, 225 counties were designated as non-attainment under the 2008 standards (below).
map
The final standard is likely to affect 14 of the top 20 housing markets, expanding its impact on new housing. More than 140 local HBAs are likely to be impacted – some for the first time, and some seeing more members affected. [See infographic for more details.]

Preliminary data offers some indication of what the impact will be: EPA will likely take final action based on updated air quality monitoring data. In addition, the counties without valid air quality monitors may be designated as nonattainment based on the status of neighboring counties’ air quality, even if those counties are in another state.

EPA projects that states will submit designation recommendations by Oct. 1, 2016. EPA will respond by June 1, 2017,indicating whether the agency intends to make any modifications and providing states an opportunity to comment and provide additional information. By Oct.1, 2017, EPA will issues final area designations,which are expected to be based on 2014-2016 air quality data.

While the overall impact of the final rule is mitigated in comparison to the full range of options considered by EPA under the proposal, the full scope of implementation issues may not be known until area designations are made final and state implementation plans are developed: It is at this stage when potential roadblocks to land development and building may be proposed.

By 2020-2021, states must provide their state implementation plans that outline how they will reduce emissions and meet the standard in non-attainment areas. EPA expects the implementation of other federal clean air rules, such as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Tier 3 Vehicle Emissions and Fuels Standards, and the Clean Power Plan, to have a significant impact on reducing ozone-forming pollution in the years ahead the requirements.

Regardless, areas designated non-attainment will be faced with adopting a suite of federal, state and local measures that are needed to demonstrate how the relevant nonattainment area can achieve the standard by the required deadline.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Builders Build More Homes

Good news for those in the home building industry--NAHB's Eye on Housing blog reports that home building continues to grow.
Housing starts for the month of September rose 6.5% to an eight year high of 1.206 million units on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. The increase was all in the multifamily sector, rising 18.3% to 466,000. Single-family starts were virtually unchanged at 740,000. This is the first month total starts passed the 1.2 million mark since October 2007.
The trends in both are more apparent on a quarterly or year-to-date basis that smooths some of the monthly irregularities inevitable in sample data. Single-family starts averaged 746,000 for the third quarter, up 5.7% from the second quarter. Multifamily starts averaged 418,000 for the third quarter, down 7.3% from the second quarter. On a year-to-date basis, both increased: single-family starts are up 11% from the same period in 2014 and multifamily starts are up 13.8%. These averages provide a clearer picture of the steady increase in housing construction that we have been experiencing for several years.

Permits were down 5% but that change was also due entirely to the multifamily sector. Single-family permits were virtually unchanged at 697,000 while multifamily permits fell 12.1% to an annualized rate of 406,000. Multifamily permits accelerated in June as builders drew permits to beat new regulatory deadlines and builders are working off that inventory. On a year-to-date basis, the trends are more informative with single-family increasing 9.4% and multifamily up 18.8%.

The smoothed trends tell the same story: single-family production continues to move forward at a modest pace as more current home owners feel comfortable selling their existing home and buying a new one. Younger, newly formed households continue to move out of their parents or roommate living arrangements and rent an apartment driving up the demand for more rental units. NAHB expects this same trend to continue into 2016.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Meals on Wheels Needs Volunteers and Substitutes

Meals on Wheels is looking for more volunteers to deliver meals to the senior community in the Greater Greenville Area. If you are interested in participating, you can get involved through the HBA. Our members on the Community Service Committee have formed a team that drives a route every week, delivering hot meals to those in need.

Come to our Committee Interest Meeting on Thursday at 4:30 at the HBA office if you would like to hear about more opportunities with the Community Service Committee as well as the other committees within the HBA. We will give a brief description of each committee's purpose and hear from some of the chairs. To see a list of our current committees, click here.

From Meals on Wheels:
"We are incredibly grateful for our volunteers who come day in and day out to deliver meals to our clients, rain or shine. However we understand life happens and substitutes are needed to fill in last minute. If you are a regular volunteer, please do your best to find someone who can take your route for you. If they've never delivered with you before, we are happy to walk them through it so they feel comfortable!
And consider being a substitute! Each Thursday we send out an email with open route for the following week...simply reply based on your schedule and help us out. You can take your regular route or try something new! Email vvanvick@mowgvl.org to get added to the list!"

New Member Reception and Meet the Board, Sponsored by Pestban- Thursday, November 5th, 5:30-7p.m.

The Home Builders Assocation of Greenville would like to officially welcome you, please join us for new member orientation at the HBA office on Thursday, November 5th at 5:30p.m. The reception will start with a short meeting on what the HBA of Greenville is about and how you can get the most out of your membership and get involved. After which, please stay for a reception with the board of directors and current members of the HBA.
 

We hope that you will join us!   

 

It's not to late- for more information or to register for this event click here or contact the HBA office (864) 254-0133

Producer Prices Decrease...For Now

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Producer Price Indexes (PPI) for August. Inflation in prices received by producers (prior to sales to consumers) were unchanged in August following a 0.2% increase in July. Separately, a 0.4% increase in prices for services was offset by a 0.6% decline in prices for goods, driven mainly by falling gas prices. Excluding food and energy, goods prices were -0.2% lower in August.
Building Materials
Among building materials, softwood lumber prices partially reversed the 2.4% increase in July, declining 2.2% in August. Prices have hovered in this range since early 2014. Similarly, OSB price dropped 0.8% after a 1.0% increase in July. Overall, soft overseas demand has kept domestic supply at home placing downward pressure on prices.
Gypsum prices dropped another 0.9% in August, bringing the decline from a February peak to 6.5%. Gypsum prices are now slightly below the housing boom peak (although single family housing starts are just above one half of a healthier/lower pre-boom pace). But it’s approaching the end of the year and a recent tradition is entering its fifth year. Major producers of drywall and ceiling tiles (made of Gypsum) are announcing an array of price increases scattered through the second half of this year and 2016.
National Gypsum, USG, Armstrong, American Gypsum and CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain have all announced price increases, ranging from 5% to 10% now and another 10% next August, for wallboard and/or ceiling tiles, some effective as early as August 2015 and running through 2016.
It looks like recent gypsum price declines will be short lived.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

City to Install First Flashing Yellow Arrow Signal

Many of our members drive a lot, and traffic safety is important. Driving is about to get a little safer and more efficient in Greenville with this announcement from the City of Greenville:
All drivers in Greenville will soon benefit from a new style of traffic signal designed to improve safety. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began using the new signal, commonly called a Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA), in Columbia, and since then, its use has spread across the state. Weather permitting, the first FYA in Greenville is scheduled to be installed on Wednesday, November 4 at the intersection of Laurens Road and Henderson Road. Because the FYA is a SCDOT adopted standard, going forward, all new left-turn signals installed on state roads in the city will be equipped with FYAs.

The FYA is part of a four-section signal head that includes:

• A steady red arrow, which means STOP. Drivers turning left must stop.
• A steady yellow arrow, which means the signal is getting ready to turn to red. Drivers turning left should stop if it is safe to do so.
• A flashing yellow arrow, which means left-turns are permitted. Drivers may turn left but must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.
• A steady green arrow, which means left-turns are protected. Drivers may turn left. Conflicting traffic must stop.

According to Valerie Holmes, Assistant City Engineer - Traffic Engineering, the growing use of FYA left-turn signal heads is the result of a national study conducted for the Federal Highway Administration, which demonstrated that the new signals help to prevent crashes, move more traffic through an intersection and provide additional traffic management flexibility. The FYA left-turn signal heads are designed to make it easier for drivers to perceive when to make a left turn maneuver by providing a visual cue for what to do, and at what point. The study found that drivers made fewer mistakes with the new signals than with traditional left-turn arrow signals. In addition to being safer, they also found that the FYAs were more efficient, providing traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Need Affordable Health Insurance Coverage?

Marsh, LLC, the world’s largest global insurance broker and risk management adviser, has collaborated with NAHB to give members exclusive access to affordable health care insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Services affinity program at http://Marsh.NAHBExchange.com.

Launching Nov. 2, this secure website allows you and your family to shop for a range of benefits options—from major medical, short-term medical, and Health Savings Account plans, to income protection, critical illness, dental, vision, life insurance (including term and whole policies), and accidental death and dismemberment plans.

Use decision-support tools available on the website to compare plan options and costs. Then dial a toll-free number, or click online to receive a call to the number of your choice, to talk to a licensed counselor for personalized support. The counselor will answer your questions, walk you through your options, and hold your hand through the decision-making and benefits enrollment process.

All plans offered through the Individual Exchange are compliant with the Affordable Care Act and meet the requirements of the law’s individual mandate (which states that most Americans must have health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty).

Open enrollment, your once-a-year opportunity to enroll in medical insurance coverage for 2016, began Nov. 1, 2015 and runs through Jan. 31, 2016. If individuals choose not to enroll during this open enrollment window, they will have to wait until the fourth quarter of 2016 to sign up for medical coverage for 2017.

Members, employees and families can check out the health insurance solutions available by visiting http://Marsh.NAHBExchange.com or calling 855-292-8849 to speak with a licensed health insurance counselor.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Americans Spent $150 Billion on Home Improvements and Repairs in 2013

U.S. home owners have significantly cut down on the amount of money they spend improving and repairing their homes, reports NAHB economist Rose Quint in a recent Eye on Housing blog post.

Home owners spent about $150 billion on home improvements and repairs in 2013, according to NAHB analysis of the most recent data from the American Housing Survey(AHS). The AHS is conducted every other year by the Census Bureau and sponsored by HUD.

The $150 billion in total remodeling expenditures in 2013 was 34% less than in 2007 ($227 billion), 19% less than in 2009 ($186 billion), and 16% less than in 2011 ($178 billion).

The AHS data also reveals total expenditures by job type. View the Eye on Housing blog post for full details.

Best Buy for Business Joins NPP

As a Home Builders Association member, you can now receive substantial savings from one of the nation's top consumer electronics companies. National Purchasing Partners (NPP) is excited to announce our newest partner, Best Buy for Business. Through your membership you now have access to top tier pricing on over 150,000 brand-name products.

Best Buy For Business offers:
  • Multi-location shipping and local store pickup, returns and exchanges
  • Technical support from Geek Squad
  • Best Buy delivery and local installation services
  • Flexible payment options like Net-30 invoicing, purchase orders and leasing
  • Volume ordering on products and Best Buy gift cards
If you would like step-by-step instructions on how to create the account, click here.

To log into NPP click here, and for more information visit our website by clicking here.

Best Buy For Business offers products that may not be available at our retail stores. Product pricing, availability and offers may vary from our retail stores. BEST BUY, the BEST BUY logo, the tag design, GEEK SQUAD, BEST BUY FOR BUSINESS, the BEST BUY FOR BUSINESS logo and MY BEST BUY are trademarks of Best Buy. © 2015 Best Buy. All rights reserved.

FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Interest Rates Decreased in September

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from August to September, according to several indices of new mortgage contracts.

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index was 3.93 percent for loans closed in late September, down 6 basis points from 3.99 percent in August.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.95 percent, down 4 basis points from 3.99 in August.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.17 percent, down 3 basis points from 4.20 in August.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.10 percent in September, down 5 basis points from 4.15 percent in August. The effective interest rate accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage.

The average loan amount for all loans was $307,700 in September, up $4,400 from $303,300 in August.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Congratulations to Pinnacle Award Winners

Home building industry professionals were awarded the Home Builders Association of South Carolina’s most prestigious awards last week in Asheville, NC. The thirteenth annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony was held to honor the recipients of the Pinnacle Awards.

About the Pinnacle Awards
The Pinnacle Awards were created to honor those in the home building industry who have achieved the highest standard of quality craftsmanship, innovative problem solving and customer satisfaction. This competition is a privilege of membership, as well as a means of challenging our members to greater levels of achievement. The Pinnacle Award recognizes the craftsmanship of the best home builders and remodelers in South Carolina, based on five categories:
  • Green Building
  • New Construction
  • Remodeling
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Best Subdivision/Community
The 2015 Pinnacle Award winners from Greenville are:
     
Jason Armstrong, Ron Tate, and Gus Rubio (respectively) receiving their awards.


Jason Armstrong, Ron Tate, and Gus Rubio hold their awards at the Celebration of Excellence ceremony



Jason Bergeron and Susan Peace-Vernon pick up their awards at the HBA office.



The HBA of Greenville is proud to have five of our members recognized for their hard work and dedication to the excellence of the industry.

EPA Publishes Final Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan has been published in the federal register more than two months after the President and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the finalization of the rule. It goes into effect Dec. 22.

The final rule includes key changes championed by NAHB on behalf of our members. It has triggered a series of state actions as states develop their plans to be in compliance with EPA-established emission reduction requirements.

Additionally, EPA published a related proposed rule that is open to public comment. It contains multiple companion items to help implement the Clean Power Plan, including two model rules that states could use — once finalized — for their compliance plans to ease the approval process. The proposed rule also includes two draft federal plans.

EPA has included several new provisions in the final Clean Power Plan that were not open for comment under the original proposal. One is the Clean Energy Incentive Program, intended to encourage early action on renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in low-income communities. NAHB is reviewing the program, which is outlined in the proposed model rules, and will submit comments on this and all other relevant provisions.

EPA is also accepting comments on related draft guidance that will affect how emission reductions from demand-side energy-efficiency programs are accounted for if states choose to use them as a compliance tool.

Comments on the proposed rule and draft guidance are due Jan. 21, 2016.