Friday, October 2, 2015

EPA finalizes new ground-level ozone standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has met its court-ordered Oct. 1 deadline for final revisions to the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). In the final rule, EPA tightened the ozone standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from the current level of 75 ppb.

Your Home Builders Association joined the National Association of Home Builders and nearly a dozen other state and local HBAs to submit comments on the proposed rule, urging the agency to maintain the current standard. Tighter limits can lead to job loss and hurt local economies as jurisdictions are forced to curb air pollution levels through tighter limits on diesel emissions — potentially curtailing home building and development — cutbacks in manufacturing and other sources and through more stringent auto emissions testing.

Among issues highlighted in those comments was the fact that the current 2008 standard is still being implemented. Any revision to the standard will greatly enlarge the number of affected areas throughout the country.

EPA originally proposed revising the standard on a range from 65-70 ppb. The final decision by the Administrator concluded that a standard of 70 ppb will provide the adequate margin of safety the law requires.

Impact on the Upstate
In the Upstate the new standard should have little, if any impact.  The region is in compliance with both the existing and the new standard.  Unless pollution levels change significantly, the Upstate has dodged a bullet with this new rule.

This decision mitigates the potential impact of the proposed rule in some areas, but will still broaden the impact of the regulation both in states with experience implementing the ozone standard and in newly affected states.

Indeed, as NAHBNow recently reported, 13 areas determined by EPA to be in compliance with the 2008 standard will likely now be deemed out of compliance with the revised 2015 standard.

According to EPA, the estimated costs of implementing the regulation will be $1.4 billion with estimated public health benefits ranging from $2.9 to 5.9 billion annually in 2025. As a result, the net benefits for the final rule range from $1.5 to $4.5 billion nationwide, except for California, which EPA analyzed separately because areas in the state are not required to meet the existing standard by 2025 and may not be required to meet a revised standard until sometime between 2032 and 2037, and where the net benefits are estimated at $0.4 to $1.3 billion.

Young buyers want to live in the 'burbs

The housing market is slowly gaining strength after the ravages of the Great Recession. Home prices are rising across the country, and both home sales and housing starts are up year-over-year. Home-builders are gradually gaining confidence, in part because of anticipated growth in the first-time homebuyer market.
That market has been severely depressed. From 2004 to 2014, the home ownership rate for those under age 35 fell from 43 percent to 36 percent, according to U.S. Census data. And economist Robert Dietz at the National Association of Home Builders said the proportion of single-family homes purchased by young buyers has fallen to 18 percent, from an historical average of approximately 30 percent.
But Dietz points to several recent indicators suggesting that more young people are now entering the market for first homes — or soon will be. He cites an increase in household formation, which has risen in the past three quarters, after falling during and after the recession. (Household formation is the establishment of new households — typically by young people moving out from their parents’ home or a roommate situation, or new families forming though marriage and domestic partnership.) The birth rate has started rising again as well.
Dietz said there is a popular stereotype of the so-called Millennial generation as averse to major financial and life-cycle milestones, like moving out on one’s own, starting a family, and buying a house. But in fact, he said, “consumer preference surveys have traditionally shown at least three-quarters of Millennials are interested in becoming homeowners eventually.”
He cited, among other sources, a recent survey of young people by Fannie Mae.
And the improving economy should finally put some wind at young peoples' backs now. Jobs are more plentiful and secure now than several years ago, and interest rates remain low.
On the other hand, many young people carry a significant student debt burden, which may make it more difficult for them to take on additional debt and get a mortgage. Credit standards to obtain a mortgage are still very tight. And rents are climbing steeply in many markets, making it harder to save for a down payment.
Plus, in some of the hottest urban real estate markets — such as San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, and New York — first-time buyers face an “affordability crunch,” with rents and purchase prices simultaneously soaring in the most desirable neighborhoods.
An example is Portland, Oregon’s trendy Southeast Division Street, a busy urban strip lined with new apartment buildings, funky clothing stores, and a $4-per-scoop gourmet ice cream parlor where there’s often a line halfway down the block.
Inhabit Realty occupies a concrete-glass-and-steel office at street-level in one of the new mixed-use commercial buildings on the strip. Eric Hagstette is principal broker. “You have a local grocery store, you have shops, restaurants, parks, public transportation all at your fingertips,” said Hagstette.
“And that’s what’s driven our prices so high—because people want this lifestyle." Hagstette said. “A new condominium home or townhome easily goes for $400/square-foot.” 
That works out to about $500,000 for a 1,500-square-foot 2-bedroom unit in a new building. Prices can be significantly higher for fully-upgraded and -renovated century-old craftsman homes on the neighborhood’s narrow, tree-lined streets.
This is not a real estate market that most young buyers — except perhaps the highest-paid tech and corporate workers — can easily buy into.
Fortunately, said economist Robert Dietz, most don’t want, or need, to. “In medium-sized and smaller metro areas, the traditional single-family home in the suburbs remains popular,” said Dietz.
The reason is partly affordability. The typical American starter home, likely in a suburb or small city, costs just $168,000, according to Fannie Mae.
“There has been an increase in college-educated young adults living in very dense urban neighborhoods — smart young things living in Brooklyn, in downtown San Francisco,” said housing analyst Jed Kolko at U.C. Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. “But it’s not true of that generation overall. Only about one third of 25-to-34-year-olds have a college degree. Today they are actually less likely to be living in urban neighborhoods, as opposed to suburban areas, than that same age group was in 2000.”
Josh Rief, who is 30 years old, recently took the home-buying plunge in the suburbs. He and his wife, Chelsia, purchased a five-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot house in a large housing development in Molalla, Oregon, about 40 miles from downtown Portland. There are farms and timberland all around.
Josh works at a local bank as a treasury analyst. Chelsia is a stay-at-home mom and also publishes a food blog part-time. They have three children, aged 11, 7, and 2. Chelsia said for more than a decade they rented — trying to save, living in cramped spaces.
“We were quickly growing too large for our other home,” she said. “We just felt like we needed to get the kids into a home that they could grow up in with more space, in a neighborhood where there would be kids their age.”
They paid $260,000 and got a mortgage just under 4 percent.
“We were just looking for a good, homey, secure spot,” said Josh. “We’d love to have a quirky little place in Portland with lots of character and history and everything else. But I’m not willing to pay an extra $300,000 for that right now. Right now, I just need space for my kids.”
And he’s found it — in the cookie-cutter suburbs far outside the hip urban hub. It’s likely to be a choice more young people make, as they graduate from their recessionary twenties into financial middle-age.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ABC's of Construction- Lux Edition sponsored and hosted by Goodwin Foust Custom Homes


Just in time for the Holidays your SMC of the Upstate thought we would show you a few of our "Favorite Things." A wish list if you will of things that are hot in new construction. Come find out how to sell new construction with the latest and greatest installed in the walls and we'll bring the ABC's of Construction events full circle with a finished home.  

Sponsored and hosted by Goodwin Foust Custom Homes.  
Thursday, November 19th from 11-1:00 p.m. 

*RSVP required- please RSVP by Monday, November 16th.*

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Home Sales Rise 5.7 Percent in August

 Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.7% housearrowto a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 552,000 units in August from an upwardly revised July reading, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We continue to hear from our members that more serious home buyers are returning to the market,” said Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “Builders are gradually adding inventory to meet future demand as they handle shortages of lots and labor.”
Regionally, the Northeast, South and West posted respective gains of 24.1 percent, 7.4 percent and 5.4 percent. The Midwest registered a 9.1 percent decline. The inventory of new homes for sale was 216,000 units in August. This is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.
“Today’s report indicates the release of pent-up housing demand as the overall economy strengthens, consumer confidence grows and mortgage interest rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The housing market should continue to move forward at a modest but more persistent pace throughout the rest of 2015.”
Article courtesy of

Fall was in the air at Thursday's Chili and Politics Event making it a success!

While the rain may have dampened summer's sting and allowed for cooler weather, it was a great night for Chili and oysters at the annual Chili Cook-off event on September 24th. This year's event was hosted and sponsored by Gateway Supply Co, with oysters provided by Clark's Termite and Pest Control, and the nights beverages sponsored by Greer State Bank.
The HBA of Greenville would like to congratulate the Chili and Dessert Cook off winners.
  • Best Dessert- Ferga-licious, Ferguson Enterprises.
  •  Best Overall- Mean Mama's Chili, GBS Building Supply
  • Hottest Chili- Fire in the Bowl, Gateway Supply Co
  • Best Presentation- Flint Rubble Bubble, Ferguson Enterprises.
Thank you to everyone who brought a chili, dessert, or both. There was a great turn out with 9 chili entries and 5 dessert entries. We are looking forward to next year so get your aprons and recipes ready!
We would also like to thank those that donated school supplies to our School Supply Drive benefiting Greenville County Schools. Thank you!

Getting ready!


MNI Direct Grand Opening, Thursday October 1st.

Save the date- October 3rd for The Villas at Carriage Hills Grand Opening!