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 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 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.