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).
By comparison, 225 counties were designated as non-attainment under the 2008 standards (below).
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 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

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 or calling 855-292-8849 to speak with a licensed health insurance counselor.