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 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.

  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: or 864-467-7300
Pickens County: or 864-898-5872
Laurens County: or 864-984-6546
Spartanburg County: or 864-487-2552
Anderson County: or 864-260-4028
Oconee County: or 864-638-4150
Greenwood County: or 864-942-8537
Abbeville County: or 864-366-5312 ext. 102
Union County: or 864-429-1600
Cherokee County: or 864-487-2543

For more information or for questions, please contact Michael Dey at 864-254-0133 or

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 or visit the HBA of Greenville at

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).