Friday, August 18, 2017

The Headlines August 18, 2017

Ten Home Building industry stories we have read recently:
  • Affordable housing shortage challenges working-class Spartanburg residents.   Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
  • How other cities are tackling affordable housing.  Spartanburg Hearld-Journal.
  • Home building slowed as cities try to tame growth.  USAToday.
  • Mauldin among the easiest places in South Carolina to sell a home.  SmartAsset.
  • Lumber shortages encumber more builders.  NAHBNow.
  • A Conversation with Grover and Tonya Martin, Owners, ProSource.  UpstateBizSC.
  • Builders starting to report shortages of framing lumber.  Eye on Housing.
  • Mortgage rates fall again.  Eye on Housing.
  • How a home purchase boosts consumer spending.  Eye on Housing.
  • NAHB Chair elected to Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Board.  NAHBNow.
August 18, 2017.

Raleigh HBA in search of Parade of Homes judges

The 52nd annual HBA of Raleigh Wake County Parade of Homes judging is scheduled for one day only: Friday September 29, 2017.

The HBA of Raleigh offers judges one night complimentary lodging (Thursday, September 28th) at the DoubleTree by Hilton (500 Caitboo Avenue in Cary, North Carolina). The HBA will cover the cost of your hotel room and tax for that night. Breakfast is included with your hotel stay and lunch will be provided on judging day. Spouses and significant others are welcome to join you in your hotel room, but they may not accompany you in the car on judging day.

The HBA of Raleigh will host a Welcome to Raleigh dinner for judges on Thursday night at locally famous Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant so you can renew your old friendships and make a few new ones before getting down to business. Spouses and guests may attend the dinner on Thursday night, but non-judging guests must pay $30 for their dinner.

Your Judging Day on Friday begins at 7:30 a.m. at the HBA office and should be completed by 5:00 p.m.

If you are interested in judging this year, contact Jaclyn Parks at (919) 232-5884 or email to obtain a judging commitment form.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Career fair for employers interested in hiring people laid off by the V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Station

Earlier this week SCANA and Santee Cooper, partners in the expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Station in Fairfield County, announced they have abandoned the project and will lay off 5,600 workers.  Most of the workers are highly-skilled construction workers with skills that may translate to home building and related trades.

If you are an employer looking for available talent, SC Works Greater Upstate, Spartanburg Small Business Development Center, and SC Works Midlands will host a Trade Skills Career Fair:

  • When: Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. (employer set up begins at 9 a.m.)
  • Where: Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Life Center, 195 Amicks Ferry Road, Chapin, SC 29036
The purpose of this event is to assist employers who have an interest in hiring employees affected by this layoff.  If you are an employer with positions immediately available to be filled, consider participating in this career fair. A limited number of tables are available for employers to participate. 

For more information, contact Michael Dey at

Department of Labor considering revising the contested overtime rule

On December 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a new rule changing the salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. The rule was promptly stayed by the courts.  The National Association of Home Builders took a very active role in challenging the rule in court.

President Trump's Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, testified at his Senate confirmation hearing that he would prefer a more modest salary threshold than previously proposed, one that is potentially tied to the rate of inflation.

Last month the Department of Labor issued a request for information on the overtime rule. The National Association of Home Builders will submit comments on the rule, as it did last year when the Obama Administration was considering changing the rule.

The Headlines: August 3, 2017

Ten Home Building industry stories we have read recently:
  • Greer CPW to expand infrastructure near GSP. GSA Business.
  • Housing demand in the Southeast finds a "new normal." NAHBNow.
  • CFPB publishes final "Know Before You Owe" rule. NAHBNow.
  • Where are older Millennials going when they leave downtown? Housingwire.
  • How the Reedy's water quality is hindering recreation for county residents. Greenville Journal.
  • Why isn't the housing market booming the experts expected? NPR.
  • A surprising way to increase property values: build affordable housing. The Washington Post.
  • Two major lending changes mean it's suddenly easier to get a mortgage. CNBC.
  • Appraisers may be holding back the housing market, and that might be ok. Forbes.
  • Why Washington can't fix the new housing crisis. Politico.
August 3, 2017.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Welcome New Members: June

Your Home Builders Association welcomes these new members to the association in June:

Summit Solar: Derek Landino, Josh Williams, and Greg Gravelle
NewStyle Communities: Kelly Lew
Deck Masters Contracting: Kyle Marsh
Spectrum Communications: Michelle Higginbotham
Humrickhouse Signature Homes: Lee Humrickhouse

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald speaks on housing affordability to U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Granger MacDonald greets Vice President Pence at the White House recently
NAHB Chairman of the Board, Granger MacDonald, yesterday addressed the Finance Committee of the U.S. Senate in a hearing titled "America's Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions."

The focus of the hearing was tax credits for low income housing, but also touched on labor shortages, regulatory burdens, and other issues which impact housing affordability.  South Carolina's Senator Tim Scott questioned MacDonald on the labor shortage issue as it impacts housing affordability.

"We are fortunate that our national chairman, Granger MacDonald, is well versed on the subject of housing affordability," Bob Barreto, President of the HBA of Greenville, said.  "His company has built and manages nearly 5,000 affordable rental housing units in his home state of Texas," Barreto said. "We also were proud to have Granger MacDonald as keynote speaker at our 2016 Annual Meeting."

Click here to view the hearing.  MacDonald's testimony begins at 1:00.30.  Senator Scott's questions of Chairman MacDonald begin at 1:48.00 and continue at 1:51.00.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Meritage Homes names Hahn Greenville Division President

Steve Hahn
Meritage Homes Corporation, an HBA of Greenville member company, announced the appointment of Steve Hahn to Greenville, South Carolina Division President.

In this role, Mr. Hahn is responsible for growing the company’s operations in Greenville. He will oversee the division’s growth strategy and day-to-day operations, including land acquisition and development, home construction, customer service, and sales and marketing.

Mr. Hahn brings more than 18 years of experience in the home building industry, with a consistent track record of improving revenues, providing fiscal planning and leading operations teams in uniquely challenging markets.

Prior to this role, Mr. Hahn served as the Vice President of Land Development for the Phoenix division of Meritage Homes, which is the company’s largest division. His career also includes tenures with Toll Brothers, Lansdowne Development Group, Van Metre Homes and Trilogy Development Group. Mr. Hahn is a graduate of Lehigh University, where he earned his degree in civil engineering.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jerry Cowan

Jerry Cowan
Our friend and member, Jerry Cowan, died Saturday.  Jerry was the HBA liaison for Builders Mutual Insurance Company.  Jerry was a tireless advocate for Home Builders Associations, was a member of dozens of HBAs in the Carolinas, and served on multiple boards including the National Association of Home Builders.

Details are available here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The “Not-So-Obvious” Benefits of Buying New

Bob Barreto

By Bob Barreto, President
Home Builders Association of Greenville

Home buyers have the choice of two types of houses on the market: resale or new.  Home buyers planning to buy a brand-new house or town home often cite, as factors driving their choice, energy-efficiency, open layout, a warranty, and being able to select appliances, flooring, and paint colors.

But builders say that buyers can be drawn to a new house for reasons that are not as obvious.

Building a Community Together
A new home often comes with a new community. When families move into a new community at the same time, lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness are formed right away. Nobody is the “new kid on the block.”

Community Amenities
New communities generally offer popular amenities like pools, walking trails and athletic courts. Some new communities are geared toward residents in the same stage of life. Whether you have a young family, or consider yourself to be an “active retirees,” you can find a community that meets your family’s needs.

Throwing a party in an older home can be a challenge because smaller, distinct rooms make it difficult to entertain guests. Most new homes offer larger, open floor plans ideal for entertaining. We have all heard that parties usually end up in the kitchen. What better way to solve that problem than to have your kitchen in the great room?

A Clean Slate
Parking your car in a sparkling-clean garage, or being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen, is part of the appeal of new construction. In addition, you will not have to spend time stripping wallpaper and repainting to suit your style.

Outlets, Outlets Everywhere!
If you have ever lived in an older home, you know the challenges of having enough extension cords, and the concerns of connecting too many appliances to the same cord. Home builders had no way of anticipating the invention of the modern technology that we enjoy today. New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems, and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet your individual needs.

Consult a New Home Sales and Marketing Professional
Buying a new home comes with its own set of challenges. For starters, your new home may not even be built yet. However, the important advantage of buying a new home is that you can tailor nearly every aspect of your new home to suit your family’s needs and lifestyle. For that advantage, you may sacrifice immediate availability.

There is a group of professionals in the Greater Greenville area who specialize in connecting home buyers with Approved Professional Builders to make that dream of a new home a reality.

Members of the Sales and Marketing Council of the Upstate work directly with Approved Professional Builders. They are uniquely qualified to help you with your new home quest. For more information about the SMC of the Upstate, visit

Hire an Approved Professional
When buying a new home, in addition to consulting with a member of the Sales and Marketing Council of the Upstate, ask your Home Builder if he or she is an Approved Professional Builder. For more information about Approved Professional Builders, visit

Thursday, July 27, 2017

FHFA: Mortgage rates increased in June

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages increased from May to June, 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 4.00 percent for loans closed in late June, up 13 basis points from 3.87 percent in May.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.00 percent, up 10 basis points from 3.90 in May.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $424,100 or less was 4.15 percent, up 18 basis points from 3.97 in May.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.11 percent in June, up 9 basis points from 4.02 in May. 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 $318,900 in June, up $3,400 from $315,500 in May.

South State Bank annouces $100 million low-income mortgage initiative

HBA member South State Bank announced this week a $100 million initiative to offer mortgages to consumers in low- to moderate-income and minority areas.

The $100 commitment, which is planned over a five-year period, will target the bank's combined markets following its merger with Park Sterling Bank, another HBA member.  The combined bank will serve South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, with a strong presence in the Greater Greenville area.

The Headlines: July 27, 2017

Ten Home Building industry stories we have read recently:
  • When builders and Postmasters disagree. NAHBNow.
  • Treasury examines burdensome tax regulations with eye to repeal. NAHBNow.
  • New home sales rise by 2.9 percent in May. Reuters.
  • Existing home sales rebound in May despite record-low supply. MarketWatch.
  • Five years ago, Trump made a prediction on Twitter about housing. He nailed it. The Washington Post.
  • More than half of U.S. renters can't afford a mortgage. MarketWatch.
  • Could the housing market meltdown happen again? Investors Business Daily.
  • Community banks account for nearly half of residential construction loans. Eye On Housing.
  • Want a $1 million paycheck? Skip college and go to work in a lumberyard. Bloomberg.
  • Top 5 mobile apps for Home Builders. NAHBNow.
July 27, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Featured Bridge Award: Fairview Builders at Royal Oaks Court

This week's Featured Bridge Award, presented by GBS Building Supply, is in the Craftsmanship Category, New Home.  Fairview Builders' project on Royal Oaks Court won the Bridge Award in the $1 million to $2 million price range.

Fairview Builders at Royal Oaks Court

The 2016 Southern Home and Garden Bridge Award was presented by GBS Building Supply for Best Kitchen in a New Home, $1 million to $2 million. Congratulations Fairview Builders.  See all of the Bridge Awards by visiting

House prices jump 6.9 percent year over year

U.S. house prices rose in May, up 0.4 percent from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.7 percent increase in April was revised downward to reflect a 0.6 percent increase.

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From May 2016 to May 2017, house prices were up 6.9 percent.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from April 2017 to May 2017 ranged from -0.5 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to 1.0 percent in the West South Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from 4.0 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to 8.7 percent in the Pacific division.

Monday, July 24, 2017

ReWa Approves New Account Fee Schedule

NAF changes apply to multifamily, mixed-use projects
Changes apply to fees paid on or after January 1, 2019

At its regular board meeting in July, ReWa approved changes and increases to New Account Fees (NAF) for mulifamily and mixed-used projects. According to ReWa staff, the new fee schedule better assesses the cost of serving these larger developments, particularly mixed-use developments that include commercial activities.

The new fee schedule does not impact single-family residential developments.

Your home builders association was consulted on the proposal before it was submitted to the ReWa board.

New Account Fees for Multifamily and Mixed-Use ProjectsAll new account fees are currently based on meter size; however, this creates an inequity among customer classes. To address this inequity, ReWa will assess multi-family and mixed use new account fees based on the estimated daily wastewater flows as provided by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Regulation 61-67, Appendix A-Unit Contributory Loadings to All Domestic Wastewater Treatment Facilities (UCL). The estimated daily wastewater flow would be multiplied by the capacity cost per gallon of $8.33, which is based on the current new account fee of $2,500 for single-family homes with a 5/8” meter divided by the 300 gallons capacity per day per the UCL.

The table below shows the flow and the respective proposed new account fees for multi-family housing per unit.

Multi-Family Housing
Flow (gpd)

Three (3) Bedrooms (Per Unit)
Two (2) Bedrooms (Per Unit)
One (1) Bedrooms (Per Unit)

The table below presents a sample multi-family housing new account fee calculation using the proposed methodology.
Sample Multi-Family Housing
Flow (gpd)
Cost per Gal. per day
Three Bedroom Apartments
$ 8.33
$  25,000
Two Bedroom Apartments
One Bedroom Apartments
Total New Account Fee

$  156,250

When the multi-family housing project is submitted to ReWa’s engineering department for review, the number of residential units and associated number of bedrooms per unit will need to be clearly identified on the plans and shown in the design calculations. In cases where the bedrooms are unknown, ReWa will charge a $2,500 per unit fee and when the bedrooms are confirmed, the developer or engineer may request a refund, if applicable. The table below shows a sample mixed use property new account fee calculation using the proposed methodology. 
Sample Mixed Use Property
Flow (gpd)
Cost per Gal. per day
Two Bedroom Condos
$ 8.33
$  22,500
Restaurant w/ 75 Seats
Office / Retail w/ 15 Employees
Total New Account Fee

$  43,625

When a mixed use project is submitted, in addition to identifying the residential units, commercial sites along with their projected use should also be identified on the plans. In cases where specific tenant information is not known at the time the project is submitted, the developer is to submit his best guess for the tenant and the applicable UCL. Prior to occupancy, the developer or engineer is to coordinate with ReWa’s engineering department to ensure that the original plans and fees submitted still match what is actually in place. At this time, if applicable, ReWa would refund fees or the developer would pay additional fees.

The effective date for these changes is January 1, 2019. Fees on developments previously approved but not yet paid at January 1, 2019 will be calculated based on the above methodology.