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www.hbagc.net
State & National Updates

Framework would lower business and individual tax rates.

Inside Washington


NAHB Commends GOP Tax Reform Plan

Framework would lower business and individual tax rates.


30-Day 'Good Faith' Enforcement of New Silica Rule

NAHB provides resources to help builders comply.


GOP the New Majority on the Labor Board

Latest Senate confirmation is an important change to the housing industry.

 

Business Matters

 

Restarting Your Business After a Natural Disaster

Tips to get you up and running again.


Green Home Building is Sprouting

New study shows that green homes are gaining market share.
 


After a slow start to the year, economic growth accelerated in the spring. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP growth stepped up to a 2.6% annual rate in the second quarter, a significant improvement over the 1.2% rate registered for the first three months of 2017. NAHB forecasts the economy's modest growth will continue over the near term.

Economic Growth Picks Up the Pace

 

After a slow start to the year, economic growth accelerated in the spring. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP growth stepped up to a 2.6% annual rate in the second quarter, a significant improvement over the 1.2% rate registered for the first three months of 2017. NAHB forecasts the economy's modest growth will continue over the near term.

The homeownership rate is finally showing signs of stabilizing after years of decline. Census Bureau data for the second quarter showed a homeownership rate of 63.7%, after reaching a cycle low of 62.9% during the second quarter of 2016. Moreover, the Census data also showed that for two consecutive quarters, the U.S. housing market has added more home owners than renters.

Demand for owner-occupied housing will depend on the future of the labor market, which continues to be tight. Over the last two months, the economy has added an estimated 440,000 jobs. The residential construction labor force continues to expand, but at a slow pace. In the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 188,300 jobs. However, the count of open, unfilled construction sector jobs increased in June to 225,000 — the highest count since September 2016.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Industry Insights


Number of Open Construction Jobs Climbs

After declining in the previous month, unfilled jobs increased significantly in June.


Homeownership Rate Bottomed Out?

Census data show signs of stabilization after reaching a low point one year ago.


Pending Sales Break Losing Streak

Fewer investors meant first-time buyers had a better chance to enter the market.


Builder Confidence Strengthens in the 55+ Housing Market

Optimism has remained solid for three consecutive years.


Top 10 Sources of Softwood Lumber Imports

Financial incentives are growing for foreign companies to export their lumber to the U.S.


Economic Indicators

 

Economic Improvement Continues Across the Country

Since the first quarter of 2017, an additional 20 metro areas have achieved normal market activity.


Federal Open Market Committee Plans to Shrink Balance Sheet

Measures aim to "foster maximum employment and price stability."


Personal Income and Consumption Expenditures Flatten

The leveling off comes after six consecutive months of growth.


Solid Job Gains in July

The unemployment rate dropped back to its 16-year low of 4.3%.


Lending and Spending


Loan Officer Survey Reveals Easing Lending Standards

The recent findings can serve as reliable indicators of future economic growth.


FHA Financing of New Home Sales Dwindles

The share of FHA-backed mortgages dropped below 12% for the first time since 2014.


Mortgage Rates Tick Up on New Home Purchases

Rates are still below the peak of 4.18% recorded in February.


Private Residential Construction Spending Dips

June was the third consecutive month of decreases after a strong start to the year.


 


Legislation would reinstate sensible criteria for labor rule.

Inside Washington


Joint Employment Bill Gives Builders Clarity

Legislation would reinstate sensible criteria for labor rule.


Department of Labor Seeks Comments on Overtime Rule

NAHB will submit a detailed statement.


Economics


5 Lessons from the S&L Crisis

Builders can still learn from the events that took place 30 years ago.


New Home Sales Edge Higher in June

Sales have risen nearly 11% since the start of 2017.

 

Across the Nation

 

Solar Mandate in Miami Raises Concerns

The requirement is the first of its kind in Florida.


South Carolina Builders Meet with EPA Leaders

Administrator Pruitt gives an update on the "waters of the U.S." rule.


Feds Bring Regulatory Roundtables to Kentucky, Ohio

Forums offer a great opportunity to discuss federal regulations.


NAHB to weigh in on what rules need to be rescinded or modified.

July 24, 2017

Industry Insight

NAHB and House Panel Reach Agreement on Flood Insurance Bill

Legislation addresses concerns of housing community.

Treasury Eyes Repeal of Burdensome Regulations

NAHB to weigh in on what rules need to be rescinded or modified.

EPA Formally Withdraws National Post-Construction Rule

NAHB gets a win in long-running battle against excessive stormwater regulation.

Remodeling Market Confidence Remains Positive

Lack of skilled labor remains a serious issue.

Trending

NAHB Highlights How Homes are Changing Lives

The Drive Home illuminates inspirational stories.

Better Appraisals on Green Homes

Updated tool can provide a more accurate assessment.

Education Programs Provide Inspiration, Second Chances

Workforce development grants make a difference.

 

Economics

Builder Confidence Remains Solid

A slight slippage due in part to rising material prices.

Single-Family Starts Bounce Back in June

Production was at its second-highest rate this year.

 


Supply issues, rising prices tied to trade dispute.

Industry Insight


New Builder Concern: Lumber Shortages

Supply issues, rising prices tied to trade dispute.


CFPB Publishes Final 'Know Before You Owe' Rule

Updates clarify disclosures for construction loans.


Trending


High-End Development Down on the Farm

"Agrihoods" serve up farm-to-table living.


New School Year Brings New Opportunities

Learn how internship programs can boost your business.


 


Despite growing supply-side concerns, housing demand continues to be sustained by healthy job creation and optimistic consumers.

Job Growth Helps Propel Housing Demand

 

Despite growing supply-side concerns, housing demand continues to be sustained by healthy job creation and optimistic consumers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 220,000 jobs were created in June, with the unemployment rate increasing slightly to 4.4%. Moreover, home builders and remodelers added almost 116,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Ongoing job creation has also helped support consumer optimism. The Consumer Confidence Index was up slightly in June, with one submeasure increasing to nearly 33% of respondents indicating jobs are plentiful. Incomes are also rising, with disposable personal income up 2.2% over the last year.

Economic challenges remain anchored on the supply side of the market, with a new softwood anti-dumping duty — in addition to existing countervailing duties — adding to builder costs. Moreover, the share of single-family home builders reporting shortages of framing lumber has increased to 21%.

For a midyear housing and economic market check, watch our construction forecast webinar, featuring NAHB's forecast and commentary from Moody's Mark Zandi and NAR's Danielle Hale.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Industry Insights


Builders Reporting Shortages of Framing Lumber

Ready-mix concrete and trusses are also increasingly in short supply.


Open Construction Jobs Decline in May

The labor market for construction workers remains tight as home building expands.


Lending and Spending

 

Residential Fixed Investment Reaches Near-Decade High

Housing's share of GDP holds strong. 


Private Residential Construction Spending Declines

The drop in May was the largest in three years.


Mortgage Rates Fall Again

Rates have slipped 18 basis points during the past three months.


Economic Indicators


Employment Gains Accelerated in June

Over the last year, home builders and remodelers have added 115,600 jobs.


Steady Growth in Personal Income

Disposable income in May had the largest monthly increase in two years.


How a Home Purchase Boosts Consumer Spending

NAHB analysis compares expenditures of new home buyers to non-moving home owners.

 


The Weekly News Digest for NAHB

Industry Insight


More Tariffs Slapped on Canadian Lumber Imports

NAHB denounces U.S. Commerce Department action.


EPA, Corps Act to Rescind WOTUS Rule

Agencies vow transparency in drafting replacement.


Safety


OSHA Delays Deadline to Dec. 1 for Electronic Injury Reporting

NAHB, other groups filed lawsuit challenging the requirement.


Confined Spaces Rule Clarified

NAHB fact sheet helps builders comply with standard.


July 13 Webinar Focuses on Fire Protection

Great tips to keep your jobsite safe from fire damage.

 

Economics

 

Home Buying Boosts the Economy

NAHB study shows impressive ripple effect.


Housing Demand in the Southeast Reaches 'New Normal'

The region is finding its sweet spot.


Digital Tools

 

Top 5 Mobile Apps for Home Builders

These tools help efficiently manage your projects.


Sales + Marketing Ideas Launches App

Get the latest ideas and trends on your smartphone or tablet.
 


A compilation of the week's top housing news.

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

Marketplace

Tight inventory slows down housing market

Vancouver, Washington, a bedroom community across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, has seen its inventory of homes for sale shrink as the housing market picked up after the Great Recession and available homes got snapped up. First-time home buyers and others looking for affordable homes see the area as an alternative to Portland, where rents and home prices have soared in recent years.


HousingWire
Not even housing inventory crisis can stop homebuyers

It seems nothing can stop housing demand, which just hit a new high, according to Redfin, an online real estate brokerage.


MarketWatch

Home-price growth sizzles in May, driving a wedge in the market

Home prices remained hot in May, bolstering owners' equity but locking many would-be buyers out of the market.


CNBC
Mortgage applications rise 1.4%, defying higher rates

The math doesn't exactly make sense, but perhaps the sentiment does. More borrowers applied for home loans last week, even as interest rates made their largest five-day jump since just after the presidential election. Perhaps some thought it might be their last chance at low rates.


NPR
Why isn't the housing market booming the way experts expected?

Interest rates are near historic lows and consumer confidence is high, but the market isn't booming. One reason may be mobility: people moving from state to state is half what it was two decades ago.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

The Washington Post
Trump's budget plans have already cut financial support for low-cost housing

The pool of private funds available to build or preserve affordable housing in the United States has shrunk by about $1 billion since November, and President Trump's tax plan is to blame — even though it hasn't been adopted yet.


NPR
Affordable housing market hurt by tax overhaul uncertainty

The prospect of Trump's tax overhaul has cut the value of low-income housing tax credits 10 to 15 percent. Funding for units across the U.S. is in question, and less housing will be built as a result.


The Washington Post
A surprising way to increase property values: build affordable housing

Despite the lawsuits, media spotlight and conventional wisdom, affordable housing developments built in poor, heavily black communities can lead to greater racial and income integration, according to new research by Stanford economists.


USA Today
Housing help for Congress? How about for people who really need it?

Just before he departed the House last week to become a Fox News contributor, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz proposed a housing stipend for members of Congress. "I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington," he said. "You shouldn't have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress."

 

HOUSING FINANCE NEWS


National Mortgage News
'If not now, when?' Fed's Powell on GSE reform

Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell, who heads the agency's supervisory committee, called on lawmakers Thursday to move more quickly in crafting legislation to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, saying that "we're almost at a now-or-never moment here." (Subscription may be required.)


American Banker
Will housing finance reform hurt small banks?

The battle over the future of housing finance may turn on whether whatever reforms or replaces Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will bypass small banks, delivering more market share and power to the biggest banks. (Subscription may be required.)


CNBC
Two major lending changes mean it's suddenly easier to get a mortgage

Two major changes in the mortgage market go into effect this month, and both could help millions more borrowers qualify for a home loan. The changes will also add more risk to the mortgage market.

 

REMODELING

 

U.S. News & World Report
The pros and cons of live-in home flipping

Mindy Jensen and her husband Carl have made up to $100,000 every two years by buying a house, fixing it up while living in it full time and then selling it for a profit. Call it live-in flipping.


Las Vegas Review-Journal
Universal design makes homes accessible and pleasing

In our 40s, we've accepted the aches and pains that remind us we're no longer 25. That said, the last thing we want to think about is how our health might look in our 60s and 70s, much less what living accommodations we might need to handle our changing physical abilities.

 

HOUSING POLICY

 

Politico
Why Washington can't fix the new housing crisis

Donald Trump campaigned on restoring the "American dream," a 1931 metaphor for economic success that has become political shorthand for homeownership. But as president, Trump faces a unique challenge delivering on that promise: The country is in the grip of a new kind of housing crisis that Washington has virtually no power to solve.

 

LABOR


Construction Dive
Labor Dept. plans revision of stalled overtime rule

The U.S. Department of Labor has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to confirm that it is permitted to use salary as a factor in determining which workers are eligible for overtime before it begins a new rulemaking process to amend a pending overtime regulation, according to Bloomberg BNA.

 

APPRAISALS

 

Forbes
Appraisers may be holding back the housing market, and that might be okay

I want to warn you from the top, this is a highly speculative post in multiple directions at once. I have a theory as to what is holding back the housing market, and another theory as to why that might be a good thing. There isn't a lot of data to back up either claim, and I wouldn't elevate other above conjecture at this point. But stick with me anyway.

 


 


Inside Washington


Builders Take to the Halls of Congress

More than 800 members speak out as one voice on housing.


Rep. Westerman's Forestry Bill a 'Win-Win-Win'

NAHB testifies on need to increase lumber production from federal lands.


Flawed Flood Insurance Bill Clears House Panel

NAHB opposes "new construction" provision.


NAHB Officers Hold Productive Talks with HUD Secretary

Agenda focuses on regulatory reform and housing affordability.


Economics


Builder Sentiment: Still Solid

Confidence levels have remained consistently sound in 2017.


Multifamily Decline Brings Overall Housing Starts Down 5.5% in May

On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are still up 7.2%.

 

Codes

 

How to Comply with the 2018 Building Codes

Free webinar replay provides the answers.


New Guidance Helps Insulate You from Poor Walls and Attics

Tech Note offers best practices for optimal installation.
 


A tightening labor market and a desire to normalize monetary policy led the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee to tighten financial conditions.

Federal Reserve Policy Moves


A tightening labor market and a desire to normalize monetary policy led the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee to tighten financial conditions.

First, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the second rate hike of 2017, increasing the target rate to a range of 1%-1.25%. NAHB expects one additional increase in 2017.

Second, the committee announced plans to reduce its balance sheet, which grew after the Great Recession as part of an accommodative policy known as quantitative easing. The balance sheet, which includes $1.8 trillion in agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, would be reduced in a "gradual and predictable" manner, creating only a slight increase in mortgage rates. The reductions in mortgage-backed securities would start at $4 billion and rise to $20 billion per month over a 12-month period and not result in a complete run-off of holdings. This process would likely begin at the end of 2017.

The Fed's actions are motivated by admittedly conflicting data. Measures of inflation remain below the Fed's 2% objective, but tight labor market conditions risk accelerating prices. For example, the unemployment rate was 4.3% in May and job openings persist at elevated levels, especially within the construction industry. The Fed's moves represent a belief that economic conditions continue to be solid and growth will continue.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Lending and Spending


Fed Raises Rates, Announces Balance Sheet Reduction Plan

The announced policy is intended to be "gradual and predictable." 


Softwood Lumber and OSB Prices Keep Climbing

May's increase pushed the softwood lumber price index to its highest level in nearly 13 years. 


Private Residential Construction Spending Slows in April

Declines largely stem from both the multifamily and home improvement sectors.


Home Equity Grows to $23.5 Trillion

More home owners are refinancing to cash out.


Mortgage Rates Fall

Though they remain above the low of 3.54% set in October 2016.

 

Economic Indicators


Consumer Credit Expands at a Slower Pace

Total household debt has returned to its 2008 peak level.


Pending Sales Slump

April declines were reported in all regions of the U.S. except one.


Employment Situation is Just a Little Disappointing

May's report is unlikely to alter the Fed's overall positive economic impressions.


Consumer Confidence Slightly Decreased in May

Optimism waned for the near-term outlook.


Industry Insights


Regional Patterns Emerge for Age of Construction Workers

Median ages are highest throughout the Northeast, lowest in the Midwest.


Who are NAHB's Associate Members?

Census illustrates the categories of those who are indirectly involved in home building.


Construction Job Openings Jump in April

Recent increases in quits reflect growing competition for workers.


Home Price Appreciation Slowed in March

Since November 2016, prices have been decelerating.

 


NAHB leads the charge to rescind this mandate.

OSHA Suspends Rule Requiring Electronic Reporting of Injuries

NAHB leads the charge to rescind this mandate.
 

Rules & Regulations


NAHB Targets 10 Overreaching Regulatory Programs

Comments were submitted to EPA in response to presidential directive.


HUD Task Force to Tackle Excessive Regulation

NAHB to weigh in on which rules should be repealed, replaced or modified.


Senate Panel Approves 3 NAHB-Supported Regulatory Bills

Versions of these measures have already passed the House.

 

Economics

 

Builder Confidence Continues to Climb

A further sign that the housing market is getting stronger.


Single-Family Starts Hold Steady in April

However, a multifamily pullback brings overall production down.


The Weekly News Digest of NAHB

Business Matters


Tired of Burdensome Regulations?

This is your chance to make a difference.


Latest Trends for 55+ Housing

Find out what these buyers really want.

 

Industry Insight

 

Kitchens Edge Baths as Top Remodeling Projects

These two categories continue to stand out.


Housing Affordability Sees Slight Uptick

Wage growth helps offset the effects of rising mortgage rates.


Codes & Safety


Big Savings from Better Codes

NAHB efforts help protect your bottom line.


Get Ready for the 2018 IRC

May 25 webinar will help your business prepare for new requirements.


Video Reinforces Importance of Fall Protection

Builders take a stand for worker safety.

 

 


NAHB event focuses on how to achieve meaningful regulatory reform.

Rules & Regulations

 

Trade Groups Mull Relief for Small Businesses

NAHB event focuses on how to achieve meaningful regulatory reform.


Bipartisan House Bill Promotes Cost-Effective Energy Savings

Measure would also help home builders by limiting unreasonable regulations.


EPA Urged to Reconsider Costs of Complying with Lead Paint Rule

NAHB testifies as agency reevaluates its regulations.


Business Matters


Get on the Road to Profitability

Three-part online course will help you steer your business in the right direction.


House Passes GOP Health Care Bill

A first step in returning affordability to the health care system.

 

Economics


Tight Inventories, Rising Costs Shape Building Industry

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz provides a housing overview.


55+ Builder Confidence Down After Post-Election Surge

The index marks 12 consecutive quarters in positive territory.
 


A strong month for home sales in March reinforced the trend of positive housing demand.

Tight Inventory and Rising Costs

 

A strong month for home sales in March reinforced the trend of positive housing demand. Sales of new single-family homes grew 15.6% from a year prior, and 5.8% above the previous month's mark—a noteworthy gain, considering February's sales benefitted from the unseasonably warm weather.

March was also an encouraging month for the existing homes market, which saw sales rise 4.4% to its highest pace in 10 years. Inventory of existing homes for sale remains very tight, standing at only a 3.8 months' supply. This is a primary reason why the increases of home prices continue to outpace growth in household incomes.

However, supply-side costs remain on the rise as builders continue reporting scarce availability of labor and lots. And the announcement of an effective 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber could have a significant, negative impact on construction jobs and wages. One-third of the softwood lumber consumed in the U.S. is imported, about 95% of which comes from Canada.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Sales


March Sales Roar Like a Lion

The surge led to the fastest pace in 10 years.


Pending Sales Pause

The number of signed contracts in March still exceeded the level from a year ago.


House Prices Surpass Pre-Recession Peak

All 20 metro areas had positive home appreciation.

 

Construction


Duty on Canadian Lumber Will Have Significant Impacts

Thousands of U.S. jobs and hundreds of millions in wages will be lost.


Post-Recession High for Residential Construction Spending

Both multifamily and home improvements experienced big gains in March.


Poll Examines Career Motivations of Young Adults

Most know what they want, but very few say it's a job in construction.


Lending


Cash Sales Dwindle for New Homes

The current share of FHA-backed loans is twice the size of its pre-recession average.


Mortgage Rates Tick Down in March

The decline comes after four consecutive months of increases.


Declining Activity for USDA Single-Family Programs

NAHB study explores the trends of USDA home loans over the past decade.


Economic Indicators


GDP Growth Slows in the 1st Quarter

A second-quarter rebound is a strong possibility.


Homeownership Rate on Stable Ground

Levels increased slightly in every age group.


Consumer Confidence Declined in April

A less-favorable outlook comes after a record-setting month for optimism.


Remodelers Report Broad-Based Confidence

Sentiments about market conditions are the most positive since 2015.


 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Silica


Enforcement of Silica Rule Delayed Again

NAHB and its coalition partners will continue to challenge the rule.


OSHA's Postponement Adds Up to Big Savings 

Deferral should save members more than $1,500 per housing start in 2017. 

Inside Washington


Housing Must Figure in Tax Reform Efforts

NAHB sends a strong message to policymakers.


SCOTUS Moves Forward with WOTUS Jurisdictional Case

Trump Administration will continue to pursue replacement of wetlands rule.

 

 


Optimism among single-family builders this month is the strongest it has been since 2005.

Builder Confidence Highest in Nearly 12 Years

 

Optimism among single-family builders this month is the strongest it has been since 2005. Much of this positive sentiment stems from the widely anticipated reductions of government regulations. A prime example was the recent executive order to roll back the Waters of the United States rule that affects builders' and developers' wetlands permits. However, we can expect some moderation in builder confidence in the months ahead, as interest rates rise and headwinds persist for access to lots and labor.
 
As expected, last week the Federal Reserve increased the short-term federal funds rate for just the third time in the post-recession era. Much of the Fed's stance is fueled by a strengthening labor market, which added 235,000 jobs last month. As the rate of inflation approaches the 2% target rate, NAHB forecasts two additional rate hikes this year.
 
Additional price pressures can be seen on the supply side of the industry. Gypsum prices have increased more than 6% in the first two months of 2017, and softwood lumber prices rose almost 5% due to the ongoing lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. As housing starts continue to rise in the months and years ahead, additional sources of lumber will be required.
 
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Labor


Job Growth Continues for Builders and Remodelers

Unfilled jobs decreased in numbers as hiring accelerated.


Employment Situation in February: Fits Like a Glove

Labor report aligns well with the Fed's intention to raise interest rates. 


Are Young Construction Workers Worth Your Time?

Builder survey reveals the potential effects of hiring a less-experienced crew.

 

Finance


Home Equity Reaches a New Peak

Real estate holdings climbed more than $1.5 trillion in the past year.


Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Slowly Grows

Shrinking credit card debt was outweighed by an increase of student and auto loans.


FOMC: Economic Outlook is Meeting Expectations

As anticipated, the Fed recently announced yet another rate increase.


Prices and Production


Solid Gains for Starts

February's pace for single-family homes was the fastest since 2007.


Consumer Price Index Rose Slightly in February

A decline in energy prices partially offset increases in other areas.


Gypsum Products Lead Price Increases Among Building Materials

Price jump for softwood lumber the biggest in four years.


Absorption Flat for Apartments, Jumps for Condos

The median asking rent significantly increased from 2015.


Trends


Builder Confidence Reaches a Cycle High

Optimism hasn't been this strong since 2005.


How 'Green' is the Average Builder?

Single-family builders typically use 10 different green products or practices.

 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Economics


Construction Costs on the Rise

Softwood lumber, gypsum, OSB and concrete prices up in February.


Builder Confidence at a 12-Year High

Trump's move to roll back regulations buoys builders. 


Single-Family Starts Highest Since Late 2007

Production expected to grow throughout the year. 

 

Inside Washington


Trump Proposes $6 Billion Cut to HUD

President's spending plan is first step in negotiations with Congress. 

 

Green Building


Builders Rank the Most, Least Popular Green Practices

More buyers are zeroing in on energy efficiency. 


Home Appraisals to Include HERS Scores

The change should help in the valuation of above-code energy improvements.
 

 


Environment

 

POTUS to WOTUS: You're Fired!

President Trump's directive requires EPA to reconsider waters of the U.S. rule.

 

Yes, You Still Need a Permit

A Q&A on what builders need to know about WOTUS.

 

Inside Washington

 

Trump Delivers an Important Message to Home Builders

NAHB Chair Granger MacDonald meets one on one with the president.

 

Congressional Leaders Urged to Adopt Strong Housing Agenda

Senior officers detail housing priorities.

 

House Votes to Overturn OSHA Volks Recordkeeping Rule

The focus now shifts to the Senate.

 

NAHB Honored for 'Get Out the Vote' Campaign

Our grassroots efforts wield considerable influence on Capitol Hill.

 

Industry Insight

 

Have Gypsum Prices Found a New Normal?

Trend has been stable since 2015.

 

Use These Free Flooring Installation Guidelines

Don't get saddled with expensive insurance claims.

 

Association Update

 

Celebrate National Designation Month

Completing NAHB courses helps your business and your bottom line.

 

IBS 2017 Education Session Recordings Now Available

Find out what some of the industry's best experts have to offer.

 


Weekly News Digest of NAHB

Inside Washington


NAHB Seeks Solutions as Lumber Prices Rise

Stalled negotiations, short supply means costs may go up 30% by April.


More Clarity with New CGP, but Liability Still a Problem

EPA's 2017 Construction General Permit is now in effect.

 

Starts & Stats


Builders Still Optimistic in February

Overall housing market fundamentals remain strong.


Strong and Steady Market Nationwide

A seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.246 million starts is a return to trend.


Lot, Labor Shortages Lead to Slight Rise in Home Prices

Housing Opportunity Index dipped last quarter.


The NAHB Advantage


An Alternative to Impact Fees

NAHB resources help you help your city find other ways to finance infrastructure.


Save Today, Tomorrow and All Year

NAHB members saved $20 million in 2016 with these exclusive discounts.


Missed IBS? We've Got You Covered

Watch videos from the board presentations and read committee meeting recaps at your convenience.


Challenges Inhibit More Robust Housing Growth

Industry Insight


Challenges Inhibit More Robust Housing Growth

In a nutshell: Too many regulations and not enough lots.

 

Conventional Financing Continues to Climb

Meanwhile, the share of new homes with FHA loans declines.


Building Success with Happy Owners

Managing expectations leads to satisfied customers.

 

Inside Washington

 

White House 'Unfreezes' Streamlined Wetlands Permits

NAHB cites confusion, cost and extra bureaucracy; the feds agree.

 


 


Builders to Confront Labor, Financing Challenges

Builders to Confront Labor, Financing Challenges

 

More than 80% of builders surveyed say that the scarcity of labor leads the list of challenges for 2017. While employment is growing within the housing industry—adding 128,000 jobs over the last year, and 20,030 in January alone—unfilled construction jobs remain a key supply-side headwind. Housing markets also continue to be held back by a lack of inventory, which has kept pending existing home sales flat for most of the last two years.
 
The rising cost of credit is another point of concern as the new year begins. Federal Reserve data indicate that demand for multifamily debt and commercial real estate construction and development loans slowed or declined at the end of 2016, perhaps due to rising interest rates. New home sales were also down in December, which some analysts attribute to higher mortgage rates. However, regional data do not fully support that claim.
 
While rising rates will act as a drag on housing demand going forward, sales were up 12% over the course of 2016 and favorable demographics will cause sales to rise more in 2017, supported by rising wages and job growth.
 
–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Lending


Conventionally Financed New Home Sales Reach 9-Year High

Improved economic conditions help ease lending conditions for conventional loans.


Standards on CRE Loans Tighten as Demand Weakens

However, the pace of tightening has eased slightly after it peaked in mid-2016.


Federal Open Market Committee Meeting – No News is Good News

Economic conditions are right for a faster pace of monetary policy normalization.


Mortgage Rates Rising

Increasing rates too rapidly will likely impact sales.

 

Sales


Nation Moves Closer to Recovery

House prices are the lone bright spot amid lagging single-family permits and employment numbers.


Home Prices Continued to Rise in November

Tight inventory and high demand pushed prices up at a rapid pace.


Homeownership Rate Bottoming Out?

A 50-year low has been followed by two consecutive quarters of increases.


New Home Sales Grew 12% in 2016

A strong year overall, despite a weak December estimate.


Trends


Residential Construction Employment Growing

January's fast pace is an encouraging sign for 2017.


Record-High 4th Quarter for 55+ Housing Market 

Builders report increases in current sales, expected sales and prospective buyers.


Residential Construction Ends 2016 on High Note

Three consecutive monthly increases in spending add momentum at the start of a new year.


Housing Share of GDP Essentially Unchanged

A slight drop brings total contributions to 15.6%.


Economy


Employment Situation Looks Promising

Solid report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics starts off the year.


Consumer Confidence Decreased in January

Optimism about current conditions is overshadowed by low expectations for the future.


First Look at 4th Quarter GDP Growth 

Real GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate, slowing from 3.5% in the previous quarter.


 


Products & Trends

 

Thoughtful Designs Can Make Your Home Stand Out

See what today's buyers are looking for.

 

Trendsetters Revealed at International Builders' Show

New report highlights the latest products and features consumers want most.

 

What are the Most Popular Floorplans?

Builders adjust layouts to match buyer preferences.

 

Industry Insight

 

55+ Building Confidence at All-Time High

Aging baby boomers fuel a growing demand.

 

An Affordable Green Building Community for Veterans

Silver level NGBS-certified program breaks new ground. 

 

NAHB Again Challenges Clean Power Plan

Implementing the rule could affect building energy codes. 

 

Close to Home

 

HBAs Awarded NAHB Grants for Litigation

More than $100,000 goes to local cases with national implications.

 

Take a Bow, Top Spikes

A special thanks to our most active recruiters.

 

NAHB's 75th Anniversary: The Drive Home

Connecting with home owners across the country.

 


Weekly News Digest of NAHB

Labor


What's the Top Builder Concern for 2017?

Hint: It's unchanged from last year.


4 Steps to Help Meet Your Firm's Labor Needs

Make your company the builder of choice in your local market.


HBAs Bring Workers Home

Successful strategies to get students excited about careers in construction.


Economics


Key Building Materials Prices Far Surpassed Inflation in 2016

OSB prices led the way, surging 13.8%.


Highest Property Tax States are in the Northeast

New Jersey has the highest average annual real estate tax bill. 


New Home Sales Register Monthly Dip in December

However, 2016 sales posted the highest rate since 2007. 

 

 

Industry Insight


Trump Administration Halts Cut to FHA Loan Costs

NAHB will encourage HUD to reinstate the premium reduction.


 

 


Economics

 

Builders Confident as Year Begins

Members hopeful regulatory burdens will be eased.

 

December Starts up 11.3% on Multifamily Surge

Single-family production posted solid gains in 2016.

 

Industry Insight

 

NAHB Congratulates Donald Trump on Becoming 45th President

Home builders will work with new administration and Congress to promote pro-housing policies.

 

Coalition Launches Skilled Labor Fund

Goal is to attract and train residential construction workers.

 

Big Wins on 2017 Construction General Permits

However, liability concerns remain.

 

Top 5 Roadblocks to Cost-Effective Green Infrastructure 

Builders polled say regulatory constraints top the list.

 

New Product Offers Agents a Safer Option When Showing Homes

Innovative, award-winning service boosts leads and allows buyers to tour on their own, at their convenience.

 

 


Industry Insight

 

Where is Housing Headed?

Economists predict a gradual, upward trajectory but headwinds persist.

 

New-Home Buyers Prefer Amenities over Size

Survey shows that suburbs still reign. 

 

New Cost of Business Study a Must-Read for Remodelers

Report assesses profit margins, growth and demographics of industry.

 

Inside Washington

 

A Fast Start on Regulatory Reform

House approves third major regulatory relief bill.

 

FHA Lowers Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Reduced rates will save FHA-insured home owners $500 in 2017.

 

Resolution to Vacate WOTUS Rule Introduced in Senate

In a related development, the Supreme Court will take up court jurisdiction on the issue.

 

International Builders' Show

 

2017 Kicks Off on a High Note 

Exhibit floors marked by heavy traffic.

 

Leadership Team Set

Texas builder Granger MacDonald elected as 2017 NAHB Chairman.

 

 


Rising Rates a Challenge for 2017

 

Economic conditions continue to mirror market reactions to the post-election environment. For example, the 10-year Treasury rate has risen from 1.8% in early November to approximately 2.4% this week. Rates escalated on the prospects of increased growth in a tight labor market. This higher cost of capital has pushed up mortgage rates (30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped from 3.5% to 4.2% in recent months). And rising rates have already had an affect on pending homes sales which decreased 2.5% in November, 0.4% lower than a year ago.

 

However, it is important to keep in mind that rising rates are the result of improving economic growth prospects. Similar to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, many market measures are showing post-election strength. For example, consumer confidence increased in December to the highest level since 2001. These trends reflect the broader economic challenge for 2017: a delicate balance of improved growth prospects and rising interest rates.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Economic Insights

Consumer Confidence Reaches Post-Recession High

Assessments of current conditions declined but consumers are optimistic for the near future.

 

Employment Situation – Good Enough

Payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December.

 

FOMC December Meeting – The Devil is in the Details

Federal Open Market Committee members note the pace of economic growth will depend on several key policy changes from the Trump administration. 

 

Housing Trends

 

Age of Housing Stock by State

Median ages of homes range from as young as 20 years (Nevada) to as old as 57 years (New York).

 

Mortgage Rates Climb

Average rates on all loans increased in November from 3.60% to 3.64%.

 

Market Growth Expected Following Modest Construction Pace

Aging housing stock signals growing demand for remodeling projects and new construction.

 

Starts and Sales

 

Home Price Gains Continued in October

Tight inventory and high demand brought prices back to pre-recession levels.

 

Pending Sales Retreat

Index level drops to its lowest level in almost a year.

 

Single-Family Construction Up in November

Though total private residential construction spending slipped to an annual rate of $462.9 billion.

 


Builders Confident at Year's End

Confidence among single-family home builders reached a post-recession high in December, following the election of a new president who promises regulatory relief and increased economic growth. Sales in November also showed positive trends, as new home sales jumped more than 5%—almost 13% higher than the same time last year. Existing home sales also edged up in November, with a four-months' supply of inventory.

 

New home construction was disappointing in November—down nearly 19% for the month—largely due to an unusual decline for multifamily starts. However, home building in 2016 performed well overall. Single-family starts are up almost 10% for the year, while multifamily starts are down about 4%.

 

Despite an ongoing scarcity of lots and labor, we anticipate continued growth of residential construction in 2017. Economic growth should also improve next year, compared to the relative weakness experienced in 2016. The full NAHB economic and housing forecast will be unveiled during the NAHB International Builders' Show.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Building Conditions

 

Absorption Data Show Multifamily Market Leveling Off

Following a peak in the third quarter of 2015, signs indicate a slight slowdown.

 

Construction Employment Across States

States with the highest annual growth rates are Nevada, Iowa and Washington. 

 

Builder Confidence Closes Year on a High Note

Presidential election spurs Housing Market Index to its highest reading since July 2005.

 

Prices Increase for Most Building Materials 

November saw costs rise for OSB, gypsum products and ready-mix concrete.

 

Home Sales 

 

New Home Sales Grow

November's sales pace was the second highest since the end of the recession.

 

Financing Sources for New Homes

Portion of conventional mortgages in the third quarter was the most since 2008.

 

Existing Sales' Year-End Sprint

Last month's increase lifted sales to the highest pace in nearly a decade. 

 

Economic Insights

 

3rd Quarter GDP Growth

Revised estimates show real GDP grew at a 3.5% seasonally adjusted annual rate.

 

Moderate Rise for CPI in November

Consumer inflation slowed from 4.37% to 2.43%.

 

Housing Starts Fall in November

Totals were down 18.7%, following a strong October pace. 

 

Top Posts of 2016

 

Economic Impact of Home Building

Constructing 1,000 single-family homes generates 2,975 jobs and $111 million in federal revenue.

 

Where are the Nation's Second Homes?

Counties in New York, Pennsylvania and Utah are among the hot spots for these houses. 

 

Regulatory Costs Add Up in a Big Way

Nearly one quarter of the price for an average new home stems from government fees.

 

Lots in 2015 are Smallest on Record

Median lot size of a new single-family home dropped below 8,600 square feet.

 

How Much Time it Takes to Build a Single-Family Home

Survey shows average completion time is about seven months.

 


Economics

 

Builder Confidence Ends Year on a High Note

Builders hopeful Trump will follow through on his pledge to cut regulations.

 

Fed Raises Interest Rates

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz provides an analysis.

 

Housing Starts Down 18.7% on Multifamily Weakness

Single-family production is up 9.6% year to date.

 

Inside Washington

 

Illinois Builder Ed Brady Being Considered as FHA Commissioner

Outgoing 2016 NAHB chairman in discussions with Trump transition team.

 

Ways and Means Republicans Vote to Support LIHTC

Key housing tax credit to be included as part of efforts to revamp the tax code.

 

 

Industry Insight

 

Take Action Now to Stop Flawed HUD Floodplain Rule

NAHB has created a template letter for you to respond by the Dec. 27 deadline.

 

$1,000 Makes a Big Difference in Housing Affordability 

Modest price hikes can push hundreds of thousands of households out of the market.

 

Trench Collapse Fatalities Doubled in 2016

OSHA levies thousands in fines when employers repeatedly fail to follow safety protocols. 

 

By the Numbers

 

5 Negotiating Tips for Construction Loan Financing

These steps will make it easier to negotiate with your bank or lender.

 

Employers Face Earlier W-2 Deadlines, Higher Fines in 2017

As tax season nears, keep these two big payroll tax filing changes in mind.

 

8 Easy Ways to Keep Jobsites Safe

Following these guidelines can help workers steer clear of hazards.

 


Fed Raises Interest Rates

For just the second time since the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve increased its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. While still low, the rate increase continues the path toward higher interest rates and a normalized monetary policy after years of stimulative policy designed to support an economic recovery. The current outlook is for three additional rate hikes in 2017. Economic growth remains modest, though the pace could increase with a fiscal stimulus in the form of deficit-financed tax cuts or government spending increases as the Trump administration takes office.

 

The move by the Fed is consistent with recent labor market data, which reveal tight employment conditions. The unemployment rate declined to 4.6% in November, as 178,000 jobs were created during the month, of which 19,600 positions were in the home building and remodeling sector. Over 120,000 jobs have been created in residential construction within the last year. While solid employment figures are good news for housing demand, ongoing labor constraints are an inflation risk and a motivation for the Fed to continue raising rates in 2017.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Employment

 

Residential Construction Employment Rises

Number of job openings continued its upward trend in November.

 

Employment Situation in November: Step 2

The stage is set for the next move toward monetary policy normalization. 

 

Home Building Employment Still Far Below its Peak

New NAHB study shows which states were the hardest hit and slowest to recover from the downturn.

 

Consumers

 

NAHB Releases 2016 'Priced Out' Estimates

New data reveals the delicate balance of housing affordability with increasing rates and regulations.

 

Home Owner Equity Continues to Increase

Home prices reach a new high as the portion of underwater homes dwindles.

 

Consumers Express Optimism in November

The current and near-term outlook is positive thanks to ongoing employment and economic growth.

 

Steady Growth for Personal Income

October's 0.6% rise was the biggest in the last six months.

 

Lending

 

Federal Reserve Chair: Rate Increase a Vote of Confidence

Strong economic growth is expected in the years ahead. 

 

Non-Mortgage Credit Expands

Federal Reserve Board reports consumer debt continues to climb. 

 

Rates Hold Steady in October as Increases Expected

Existing homes saw an uptick of one basis point, while rates for new homes fell two basis points.

 

Serious Delinquency Rates Show Improvement

But concerns persist regarding student and auto loans.

 

Trends

 

Popularity of Building Information Modeling Increases

Reliance on this project management technique has grown significantly among NAHB members.

 

Pending Sales Maintain Pace

Tight supply in October led to 40% of homes selling at or above list price.

 

Strong Growth Continues for Multifamily Construction 

Record-breaking spending brings the current total up to $63.7 billion.

 


Housing Finance

 

FHA Raises Loan Limits

The nationwide rise in home prices means buyers in 2,948 counties will see increases.

 

Outlook Gloomy for Tax Extenders, Including Energy Incentives

Popular temporary tax provisions are set to expire this month; it appears unlikely Congress will renew them. 

 

House Votes to Reinstate Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Legislation would allow home builders to help their employees cover rising health care costs.

 

Construction Safety

 

Framing and Roofing Companies Slammed with Hefty Fines

OSHA's enforcement of fall protection violations seems to have picked up in recent months.

 

New OSHA Director to Discuss Agency's 2017 Agenda at IBS

Dean McKenzie will review the agency's current activities and discuss plans for the new year.

 

Find it and Fix it...Before OSHA Does

Here's what you need to do to stay compliant.

 


Construction Surges in October

 

Single-family construction starts rallied in October, increasing nearly 11% to an annual rate of 869,000. Meanwhile, multifamily construction in October was also unusually strong. A gradually strengthening economy has led to a broadening of the types of residences being built, as depicted in the third-quarter data for the individual home building sectors:

  • Custom home building posted 49,000 starts—its best quarter since the recession.
  • Townhouse construction achieved a 12.4% share of the single-family market—near a cycle high.
  • Median single-family home size is trending down as more entry-level homes are constructed.
  • Rental housing continues to dominate, accounting for 92% of all new multifamily construction.

Overall growth helped support yet another strong level of builder confidence, according to this month's NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. However, the surge from October is likely temporary. Single-family starts are expected to return to trend in the coming months, as will apartment construction while that market seeks a balance between supply and demand.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Economic Conditions

 

Second Look at 3rd Quarter GDP Growth – Better, but Beware 

The upward revision was based mainly on faster growth in personal consumption expenditures. 

 

Review of November's FOMC Meeting: Not Much Clarity

Federal Open Market Committee now mulls the risks of moving too slowly.

 

Consumer Price Index Rose in October

Increasing energy prices accounted for most of the rise of inflation.

 

Industry Insights

 

Home Prices Jumped in September

The annual growth rate of 10.4% was the fastest in the past 36 months.

 

AD&C Lending Expands

Volume of residential construction loans grew to its highest rate since the summer of 2014.

 

Single-Family Built-for-Rent Construction Sees Growth

Current market share is higher than the historical average, but down from 2013 levels.

 

Steady Progress for New Homes Sales

Single-family home inventory stands at its highest level since the downturn.

 

Existing Sales Revive

October's sales pace of 5.6 million homes was the highest since February 2007.

 

NAHB Survey: AD&C Loan Standards Continue Easing 

However, the pace of easing slowed between the second and third quarters.

 

Housing Trends

 

Multifamily Construction Dominated by Rental Production

Multifamily developers expected to build more for-sale units in the years ahead. 

 

Post-Recession High Set for Custom Home Building

Starts totaled 49,000 in the third quarter.

 

Townhouse Construction in the 3rd Quarter

A gradual resurgence in market share is anticipated during the coming years.  

 

Single-Family Home Size Trending Lower

Average new homes slowly scaling back to their pre-recession size. 

 

Housing Starts Accelerate in October

A surge in single-family construction was coupled with a rebound in multifamily.

 

Positive Gains for the Apartment and Condo Market

Multifamily Production Index posted a three-point gain in the third quarter.

 


Labor 

 

In Victory for NAHB, Federal Judge Blocks Overtime Rule

Dec. 1 effective date pushed back until a final court ruling is made.

 

Economics

 

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Raise Conforming Loan Limits in 2017

This is the first increase since 2006.

 

New Home Sales Down 1.9% in October

Still, sales have been trending upward since last year.

 


Rules & Regulations

 

Businesses Get Ready: Overtime Rule Kicks in Dec. 1

In 10 days, the overtime salary threshold will double from $23,660 to $47,476.

 

NAHB's Legal Victory Blocks 'Persuader' Rule

Measure would discourage employers from seeking legal advice on union concerns.

 

Inside Washington

 

No Quick Fix for Builders as Trump Administration Takes Shape

NAHB hard at work to ensure its members' concerns are met in the post-Obama era.

 

NAHB Chair to Congress: Appraisal System Needs Fixing

Ed Brady outlines solutions to reform appraisal practices and oversight.

 

BUILD-PAC Runs a Winning Campaign

On election day, 95% of PAC-supported candidates won their races.

 

FHA Fund Rises Again

However, HUD officials signal no sign of a premium cut.

 

Business Matters

 

Which Green Infrastructure Techniques Do You Use?

Take this quick poll for a chance to win a $100 prize. 

 

Housing Starts Jump 25.5% in October

Single- and multifamily production post strong gains.

 

Apartment, Condominium Market Sees 3rd Quarter Gains

Overall, multifamily developers remain positive about the market.

 

Building Codes Voting Extended Through Nov. 27

One more week to "phone a friend" for a more cost-effective IRC, energy code.

 


Economic Impact of Trump's Victory

President-elect Donald Trump will undoubtedly have a profound and lasting impact on economic policy throughout his presidency. Costly business regulations are likely to be reduced or rolled back; rate-reducing, base-broadening, comprehensive tax reform will be under active consideration; and the leadership of the Federal Reserve will change in 2018.

 

The nation's low unemployment is placing pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates, and those rates will influence many future policy decisions. The incoming Administration, in cooperation with a Republican-controlled Congress, will likely pursue policy that will boost GDP growth in the short run. However, if policy changes result in a growing deficit or overheating labor markets, interest rates will rise (faster) in response. Moreover, any policy changes that restrict trade will act as a drag on economic growth.

 

Interest rates are sure to grow in the years ahead. Smart policy is needed to identify economic efficiencies that will help limit how quickly those rate increases accelerate, thereby supporting housing affordability and improving business lending conditions in the longer term. 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Employment

 

Construction Job Openings Continue to Rise

Access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.

 

Employment Situation in October – No Surprise

Solid labor market report might convince the Fed to raise interest rates next month. 

 

Lending

 

Past-Due Mortgages at a Post-Recession Low

Share of delinquent loans has fallen significantly from its peak set in 2010.

 

Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Accelerates

Both revolving and non-revolving credit are on the rise.

 

Mortgage Market Dynamics Largely Improve

Majority of loan officers report easing lending standards. 

 

Sales

 

Housing Affordability Edges Lower

Home prices appreciate enough to offset a small decline of interest rates.

 

Economic Recovery Continues, but Variations Persist

Solid gains for home prices, while permits in most markets are lagging. 

 

Strong 3rd Quarter for 55+ Housing Market

Builders report continued confidence despite declining production and demand.

 

Trends

 

Two-Thirds of New Homes in New England Include Decks

Among all U.S. homes started in 2015, 64% included porches and 23% included decks.

 

Big Decline of New High-End Homes in 2015

Number of new homes for sale priced at more than $1 million dropped nearly 50% from the previous year.

 


What does the GOP Sweep Mean for Housing?

2016 Elections


What Does the GOP Sweep Mean for Housing?

Read NAHB's analysis for a more detailed look at the results.


Trump Announces 'Most Likely' Supreme Court Nominees

His pick will break a 4-4 ideological split.


Codes & Regulations


FEMA Provides Early Notice of 2017 Rate Hikes

Average flood insurance policies to rise 5.4%.


Online Codes Voting Underway

Help keep codes affordable with one quick call.


Economics


Housing Affordability Edges Lower in 3rd Quarter

Home price appreciation offsets a small decline in mortgage rates.


Recovery Continues at Modest Pace

Nearly half of markets are back to normal levels of housing and economic activity.


First Look at This Week's Housing News

Codes & Regulations


NAHB Challenges Flawed WOTUS Rule

First brief filed before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.


A Call to Action as the Online Voting Process Begins

Members need to call their building code officials and send them this voting guide. 

 

Where Do Your Impact Fees Really Go?

Misued impact fees can add up to millions of dollars.


New Clarity for Wetlands Permits

Guidance letter focuses on jurisdictional determinations.
 


Federal Reserve Holds Rates Steady

 

At the conclusion of its November meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee chose not to increase the federal funds rate. The Fed's comments gave no definitive signal of when the next increase will come, though it is widely anticipated that the first and only rate hike of 2016 will occur in December. While national job gains have been "solid," according to the Fed, concerns remain about weak GDP growth related to soft business investment.

 

However, housing data continually indicates improving market conditions. The month of September saw:

  • Pending home sales rise 2.4% higher than one year ago;
  • New single-family home sales grow 3.1% from the previous month; and 
  • The share of first-time buyers of existing homes increase to 34%. 

At just a 4.8 months' supply, inventory of new homes for sale remains tight. Meanwhile, multifamily construction spending reached a historic high in September. And in the remodeling industry, NAHB surveys show 14 consecutive quarters of positive market conditions.

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Industry Insights

 

Multifamily Construction Spending Hits Record High

Total private residential construction spending increased to an annual rate of $459.5 billion.

 

Framing Methods for Single-Family Homes

Wood still way ahead of concrete and steel-framed homes in 2015. 

 

Two-Car Garages Most Common in New Homes

But three-car garages are more popular than ever. 

 

Remodeling Market Optimism Strengthens

For 14 consecutive quarters, the majority of remodelers report positive market activity.

 

Home Sales

 

Homeownership Rate Edges Up

Millennials and seniors are driving most of the growth. 

 

Pending Sales Up

Good news for residential construction as the market broadens and demand grows.

 

Financing Sources Shift for New Homes

Growing share of conventional mortgages indicates the market continues to get healthier.

 

New Home Sales – Gains and Headwinds

Builders balance caution and available resources in their efforts to meet expanding demand.

 

First-Time Buyers Step Up

Existing home sales in September increased throughout the U.S., led by gains in the Northeast.

 

FHA Mortgage Share Increased in 2015

New data breaks down the changing makeup of financing sources. 

 

Economic Conditions

 

First Look at the November FOMC Meeting

Fed announces no rate hike "for the time being."

 

Mortgage Rates Tick Up, LTV Ticks Down

Loan-to-value ratio dropped for new homes but stayed the same for existing ones.

 

Personal Spending and Income Rose in September

Bureau of Economic Analysis data indicates worker compensation is growing. 

 

3rd Quarter GDP – Mind the Details

Initial estimates show real GDP grew at twice the annual rate of the previous quarter. 

 

Consumer Confidence Retreated in October

Mixed assessments about employment conditions, and more are saying business conditions are "bad."

 

Home Prices Continued to Climb in August 

Fifteen out of 20 metro areas in the U.S. had positive home price appreciation.

 


Inside Washington

 

HUD Proposes Expanded Floorplain Rules for FHA-Financed Loans

Single-family homes and multifamily structures face added requirements.

 

House Report Illustrates Need to Rescind WOTUS Rule

It's all about "politics over policy."

 

Codes & Regulations

 

5 Minutes to Better Codes

Get in the game and take these simple, quick steps to keep codes affordable. 

 

FHA Eases Condo Owner-Occupancy Requirements

Rules lowered from 50% to 35% under certain conditions. 

 

Industry Insight

 

Supreme Court to Hear Property Rights Case

At issue: A Fifth Amendment "takings" clause. 

 

New Home Sales Continue Year-Long Upward Trend

This gradual rise is in line with other positive signals.

 

 

 


Where Do the Presidential Contenders Stand on Housing?

2016 Elections 


Where Do the Presidential Contenders Stand on Housing? 
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton provide their take on issues confronting the industry. 


NAHB Endorses 135+ Candidates for Congress 
See who your association is endorsing in your state or congressional district


Safety & Labor 


OSHA Extends Anti-Retaliation Enforcement Deadline 
Move allows more time to consider a motion challenging the new provisions. 


Overtime Rule to Double Salary Limit Begins Dec. 1 
NAHB spearheading coalition efforts to delay Dept. of Labor's new rule from taking effect.  


Agency Seeks Feedback on Construction Safety Standards 
Chime in on OSHA's proposed updates. Some changes could affect your business.


Economics 


Builder Confidence Remains Solid in October 
The housing market continues to make slow and steady gains. 


September Housing Starts Decline on Multifamily Weakness 
However, single-family production posts solid gains. 


Optimism Strengthens in 3rd Quarter 
Remodelers nationwide are seeing increased demand for jobs.


Around the Federation

 

NAHB Honors 150 'Defenders of Housing'

Legislators honored for promoting homeownership and a better small business environment.

 

Alabama Builders Provide Home for a Hero

Baldwin County HBA inspires community to build home for veteran severely injured in Iraq.

 

Tell Us Why You're the Best Builder

It takes more than stellar revenue to be named NAHB Custom Builder of the Year.

 

Codes and Regulations

 

Untangling Codes in Michigan

This HBA knows how to partner with building officials for safer, more cost-effective codes and standards.

 

Court Wants Changes for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Decision preserves longstanding statuatory interpretation of marketing service agreements.

 


Growing Demand Will Support Expansion in New Home Sales

 

The Federal Reserve held short-term interest rates constant last month, as expected, but the next rate hike is likely not far away. NAHB predicts rates will rise at the Federal Open Market Committee's upcoming meeting in December, one year after the first rate increase of this cycle occurred.Despite these expected increases, mortgage rates should remain relatively low throughout the next few years, supporting continued growth in the demand for housing.

 

Unlike the recent slowing of existing home sales, new home sales should continue to expand. August recorded the second-highest annual rate of new, single-family home sales since the end of the recession. And the low inventory—currently at just a 4.6 months' supply—points to an uptick in construction ahead, consistent with the growing amount of confidence among builders.

 

Economic Conditions

 

Single-family Construction Spending Declines

Recent drops in both single-family and home improvement spending overshadowed record-breaking gains for multifamily construction.

 

Effective Rate on New Home Loans Continues to Drop

August marked the seventh consecutive month of falling interest rates.

 

BEA Releases a Third Estimate of GDP Growth

Latest figures from the Bureau of Economic Anaysis indicate overall economic growth is accelerating.

 

Housing's Share of GDP Holds Steady 

But for the first time in more than two years, residential fixed investment had a negative effect. 

 

Market Trends

 

Construction Employment Growth by State

California, Florida and Colorado are among those with the biggest gains. 

 

Share of Plus-Sized Homes Keeps Growing

Not since 2007 have there been this many starts of new homes with more than 5,000 sq. ft. 

 


Inside Washington

 

House Votes to Delay Overtime Rule

NAHB continues push for stronger relief.

 

White House Releases Housing Development Toolkit

Though aimed at reducing regulatory hurdles, the strategies focus too much on inclusionary zoning. 

 

November Elections Could Chart the Future of Housing

You can help strengthen housing's voice in Washington. 

 

Industry Insight

 

Building Systems Housing Summit Breaks New Ground

Systems-built housing builders, manufacturers and suppliers discuss the future of the industry.

 

New Home Sales Remain Solid in August

Year-to-date sales pace indicates housing recovery remains firmly on track.

 

Codes & Regulations

 

New Voting Guides Point to Better Building Code Decisions

ICC will soon vote on thousands of proposed changes, many that would add unreasonable costs.

 

Court Hears Marathon Argument on Climate Change Rule

Clean Power Plan rule could uniquely impact home builders. 

 


NAHB Weekly News Digest

Inside Washington


NAHB, Business Groups Sue to Block Overtime Rule

Set to take effect on Dec. 1, rule would double the overtime salary threshold.


GOP Senators and NAHB Urge Democrats to Act on WOTUS

New report highlights major flaws of EPA's overreaching water rule.


ESA Changes to Flood Insurance Program Will Harm Housing 

NAHB tells Congress how the new mandates will add costly regulations and restrict development.


New Housing Tax Credit Would Benefit the Middle Class

Builders commend Oregon senator for his proposal to spur more development of rental homes.

 

Economics

 

Builder Confidence Surges in September

As household incomes rise, more serious buyers are stepping forward.


Housing Production Hits a Mild Speed Bump

August was a blip in what has otherwise been a gradual, long-term recovery.


Green Building


Everything You Need to Know About the New Green Standard

Latest edition of the NGBS reflects notable advances in sustainable construction.


The New Math: Zero Energy Equals a Perfect 10

A few lessons from a long-time green builder on how to master this profitable energy equation.


Builder Confidence Matches a Post-Recession High

Builder Confidence Matches a Post-Recession High


Last month's surprising dip in housing starts came as inventory remained tight for both new and existing homes. The seasonally adjusted annual pace of single-family starts in August was down 6% from the previous month, although year-to-date totals for single-family construction are still up 9% from this time last year.
 
Home building is noticeably down in the South, largely due to flooding that affected many areas of the Gulf Coast. Nationwide, multifamily starts declined 5.4% from July to August. Multifamily development has generally been flat, as the rental apartment market finds a balance between supply and demand.
 
However, despite persistent shortages of lots and labor — July estimates of unfilled construction sector jobs reached 214,000 — home builder confidence is growing stronger. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for September climbed to a level of 65, matching a post-recession high and suggesting a weak August will be followed by growth in permits and starts.


Business Conditions


Builder Confidence Surges in September

Upward momentum expected to built into 2017. 

 

A High Point for Large, For-Rent Multifamily Buildings

Completions in 50-plus unit buildings have skyrocketed 284% since 2011. 


Building Materials Prices Continue to Climb

Though overall producer prices remain flat, lumber and gypsum rose sharply in August.


Sales and Contract Prices Per Square Foot in 2015

Prices for spec homes in the Pacific and New England regions far exceed the national average. 


Housing Trends


Home Equity Grows Even as Homeownership Declines

Household holdings of real estate in the second quarter totaled $22.29 trillion.


New Single-Family Homes Have More Bedrooms

Share of new homes with four or more bedrooms in 2015 increased to 47%.


Concentration of Large Builders in Metropolitan Markets

Major housing markets have become more concentrated since the trough of the housing crisis.


Economic Insights


Housing Starts Pause in August

Single-family and multifamily posted declines after several months of gains.


Consumer Price Index Posts Strong Gain in August

Rising costs of medical care largely contributed to the increase in core inflation.

 

Consumer Credit Outstanding: What's Driving Auto Loan Growth?

The soaring auto loan market is drawing the attention of financial regulators. 

 


Developers Push Back Against Burdensome Infrastructure Costs

Industry Insight

 

Developers Push Back Against Burdensome Infrastructure Costs

Government edicts must meet constitutional principles.

 

New State-by-State Data Available on Fire Sprinkler Mandates

Forty-four states have rejected such requirements. 

 

NAHB Seeks New Lumber Sources in Chile

CEO Jerry Howard holds productive talks with Chilean producers.


Remodeling


Gain a Competitive Edge at the 2016 Remodeling Show

Next month's event in Baltimore offers valuable networking and educational opportunities. 


Better Remodeling Sales Start Here

Sept. 14 webinar provides a blueprint to boost sales. 


Association & Council News


Making a Case for Systems Built Housing 

Former traditional home builder speaks to the advantages of systems built housing.


Professional Women in Building Week Kicks Off Today

Inaugural event highlights the role of women in home building. 


 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Washington Update


FEMA Looks Beyond 100-Year Floodplain

Proposed rule would require FEMA-funded construction to be two to three feet higher but leaves flood insurance policies alone.

 

Energy Bill Heads to Finish Line

Contact your federal lawmakers and urge them to keep the House language on energy codes in the final bill.


Clinton Releases Small Business Assistance Plan

NAHB continues to work with both candidates to keep housing, small business at the forefront of the campaign.


Industry Insight


New Home Sales Climb to Highest Level Since October 2007

Positive data is consistent with builders' reports that market conditions are improving.


Supporting a Brand Through Social Media

Case study highlights the need to maintain a robust online presence.


Confidence in Apartment and Condo Market Dips in 2nd Quarter

Despite modest decline, developers are still reporting steady demand.


Legal


NAHB Leaders Discuss Arbitration Issues with CFPB Director

Builders seek clarity, submit comments on proposed agency rule.


Suit Seeks Protection for 417 Additional Species

Expedited Endangered Species Act listings could usurp private property rights.
 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Economics

 

Dog Days Don't Deter Builders

New construction and sales are on the rise in most areas of the country

 

New household formations are upping the demand for rental housing.


Continued Growth for Housing Through 2017

Economists see construction sector moving forward.


Industry Insight


FHFA Ups Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Multifamily Lending Caps 

Limit increases to $36.5 billion.

 


Presidential Campaigns


Trump Vows to Cut Burdensome Regulations 

GOP candidate talks housing in address to NAHB Board of Directors. 


Housing Creates Jobs, Says Top Clinton Economic Advisor

Gene Sperling lays out Hillary Clinton's housing agenda to association leaders. 


Charlie Cook Predicts a Tight Race

Political pundit believes a strong GOP voter turnout will be the difference maker.  


Industry Insight


The Key to Cost-Effective Building Codes

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady shows members how they can help reduce excessive regulations.  


New American Remodeled Home Focuses on Efficiency 

Renovated showhome will consume less than half the energy of the original.  


News Plug Helps Make Sales, Recruit Members

Media outreach to HBAs results in positive outcomes for builders. 


Economics


Rising Prices Affect Housing Affordability in 2nd Quarter

Housing Opportunity Index remains fairly high. 


Slab Foundations, Two-Story Homes Still Dominate

NAHB sheds more light on the details of today's new homes. 


Weekly News Digest from NAHB

Industry Insight


Streamlined Clean Water Permit Acts in Jeopardy

U.S. Army Corps proposes to reissue and modify existing nationwide permits. 


Housing Markets Continue Gradual Climb Back to Normal

Nearly half of metros are fully recovered, many of which have exceeded their pre-recession strength. 


Student Program Scraps the Boring, Starts Inspiring

Eastern Iowa partnership helps open more career opportunities for students.  


Economics


2nd Quarter Results Show 55+ Market Remains Solid 

Builders report steady demand, yet labor and lot shortages linger for many. 


Lots in 2015 Smallest on Record

Size varies substantially by region.  
 


Weekly News Digest of NAHB

Rules & Regulations


Federal Fines to Jump Aug. 1

Agencies hike penalties for OSHA, stormwater and other infractions.

 

OSHA Anti-Retaliation Enforcement Provision Delayed

Recordkeeping stipulation pushed from Aug. 10 to Nov. 1.


White House Heeds NAHB Call for Review of Stormwater Proposal

View the association's detailed comments on EPA plan.


Industry Insight


NAHB Calls on Trump and Clinton to Focus on Housing

CNBC interviews NAHB Chairman Ed Brady at the GOP National Convention.


What Do Single-Family Builders Pay their Staff?

Study highlights the most recent compensation and benefits data for 39 home building positions.


Economics


Builder Confidence Holds Firm in July

Fundamentals are in place for slow, steady growth in the housing market.


Housing Starts Rise 4.8% in June

Single-family production should continue to strengthen throughout the year.


Association News


Top Spikes Pull in the Members

Across the Federation, Spikes prove there is strength in numbers.


Associates Spreading the Word about BUILD-PAC

Their PAC participation is up 14% and growing.


Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Economics


Housing Recovery Strengthens, but Challenges Remain

Harvard study notes Americans remain optimistic about homeownership.


New Home Sales Post Solid Reading in May

Though down from April, the sales market continues to make overall gains.


Inside Politics


House Votes to Reinstate Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Legislation would help workers obtain health insurance.


Senate Bill Would Reform Federal Housing Programs

Measure includes many NAHB-supported bipartisan fixes.


House GOP Tax Plan Would Impact Key Housing Tax Provisions

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady cites major concerns, pledges to work with House leadership.


White House Issues New Rules to Minimize Drone Crashes

FAA yet to release long-term framework for commercial drone use. 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Economics


Builder Confidence Resumes Upward Momentum

After holding steady for four months, builder sentiment is on the rise. 


Housing Starts Hold Firm in May

Groundbreaking on single-family homes inches up.


Inside Politics


House to Vote this Week on NAHB-Supported Health Care Bill

Measure would reinstate the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements. 


PWB Strengthens Clout of BUILD-PAC

Council is a high-profile advocate for NAHB's political action committee.


Rules & Regulations


Don't Run Afoul of New Silica Rule

Webinar explains how the rule will affect construction job sites.


New Resources for Complying with Lead Paint Rule

Toolkit helps tackle inspections and recertifications.


HUD Proposes Using ZIP Code-Based Fair Market Rents

These changes would apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program.
 


Surprising Labor Market Data Pauses the Fed

Surprising Labor Market Data Pauses the Fed

 

A weak labor market report clearly influenced the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates steady this week. The Fed noted that job gains have slowed and business investment has been soft. Housing, however, remains a bright spot as the economy picks up speed entering the second quarter. 


Industry Insights


Who are NAHB's Builder Members?

 

The latest member census reveals that the median dollar volume for builders in 2015 was the highest on record.

 

Market Share of the Nation's Top Builders

The total number of closings among each of the top 100 U.S. builders in 2015 ranged from 365 to 36,736. 


One-Person Residential Construction Firms Total 1.7 Million

Though large in numbers, these contractors typically pull in modest receipts.  

 

Lending Trends


Non-Bank Institutions Account for Nearly Half of All Home Loans

The share of mortgage originations from independent mortgage companies is the largest among all lender types. 


Home Mortgage and Multifamily Residential Debt Expand

Rising real estate values outpaced increasing mortgage debt, resulting in overall home equity growth.


Consumer Credit Outstanding Grows on Auto, Student Loans

Outstanding non-revolving credit now stands at $2.65 trillion.


Macroeconomic Indicators

 

Increasing Energy Prices Drive Producer Price Index Higher

May's upsurge was twice the size of April's. 


Last Month's Employment: All Systems No

April was a bad month, May was a shocker, and June is a non-starter.


Construction Employment Drops as Job Openings Persist

The count of total jobs in the home building sector has declined for two straight months.


Personal Consumption Expenditure Jumps

April's increase was the biggest since August 2009. 


Private Residential Construction Spending Stalls

Both multifamily and home improvements declined in April, while single-family spending was virtually unchanged. 


Consumer Perspectives


Consumer Confidence Slipped Again

But expectations improved for business conditions six months from now.


New House Price Data Show Why Costs are a Problem

Nearly one-third of consumers expect to pay less than $150,000 for a home, while just 6% of new homes fall in that range. 

 


As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, builders continue to demand affordable housing for all Americans, calling for sensible reforms to burdensome regulations that increase the cost of housing.

As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, builders continue to demand affordable housing for all Americans, calling for sensible reforms to burdensome regulations that increase the cost of housing.

 

“The aggressive over-regulation of the housing industry is putting the American Dream of safe and affordable housing at risk,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. 

In May, NAHB released a study, Government Regulation in the Price of a New Home, which showed that on average, government regulations account for 24.3% of the final price of a new single-family home. In fact, the regulatory costs for an average single-family home went from $65,224 in 2011 to $84,671 in 2016 – a 29.8% increase in five years.

 

“Regulators at all levels of government – local, state and federal – must understand that their actions have real consequences,” said NAHB Chief Executive Officer Jerry Howard. “The cost of regulation in the price of a new home is rising more than twice as fast as the average American’s ability to pay for it. That is simply not sustainable.”

 

NAHB has been fighting back against costly regulations that fail to meet their intended goals, including the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule that was implemented without considering its impact on small businesses, consumers, workers and the economy.

 

The 100% increase to the salary threshold for overtime eligibility will hit the home building industry particularly hard and harm housing affordability. It will reduce job-advancement opportunities and the hours of full-time construction supervisors, leading to construction delays, increased costs and less affordable housing options for consumers.

 

“Common sense reforms to the regulatory approval process would open the doors of homeownership to more Americans across the country,” Brady said.

 

During National Homeownership Month in June, and throughout the year, NAHB and its 700 state and local affiliates work hard to make affordable housing a reality and a priority to our nation’s leadership.

“Homeownership remains a core American value to consumers across the country,” Brady said. “In addition to building stronger communities, homeownership provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement. It is critical that we keep this dream within reach, and not price out buyers with needless overregulation.” 


Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Economics


Regulations Add $84K to New Home Prices

Costs are rising more than twice as fast as incomes. 


Housing Markets Continue to Edge Forward

More than a third of metros are back to normal.


55+ Builder Confidence Still Upbeat

Index shows eight straight quarters in positive territory.


Industry Insight 


Double-Duty Spaces that Really Work

Boost business with these design ideas that give home buyers more for less.


NAHB Works to Improve Fire Reporting System

Fire marshals seek help from home builders. 


Using Nature to Add Value

Buyers want to be close to parks, walking trails and lakes.


Melancholy Millennials Putting the Car Before the House

Stagnant income deters home purchases but not auto buys.


Housing Finance


Freddie Mac Quarterly Loss Highlights Need for Overhaul 

Taxpayers dodged a bullet, says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady.


Fannie, Freddie Multifamily Lending Caps Raised to $35 Billion 

Action is a victory for NAHB's advocacy efforts.
 


Latest News & Information for Remodeling Industry

OSHA Rule Finalized for Silica Dust Exposure


OSHA issued the final silica rule to limit exposure to crystalline silica, found in many common building materials. Popular remodeling jobs like kitchens and baths that involve cutting tile, bricks and other materials containing crystalline silica over the new limit will likely be impacted by this new regulation. Remodelers will be required to use specified engineering controls like water or ventilation and provide respiratory protection for many common remodeling tasks.


March 31 Deadline to Recertify Training for EPA Lead Paint Rule


Though NAHB continues to beat the drum on the importance of a reliable, easy-to-use and inexpensive way to test for the presence of lead-based paint in walls and trim as key to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, thousands of remodelers still face a March 31 recertification deadline. These remodelers are required to get refresher training either in-person or online through the new online class option.


Marketing In Your Local Media Market for Remodelers


You don’t have to spend the most money on advertising to beat the competition - just spend a little time on public relations. Former NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner shares his keys to effective media relations that include recognizing the right opportunities and knowing who to contact. 

 

 

NAHB estimates 55,000 total tear-downs for 2015 single-family home starts. Anecdotal evidence suggests that tear-down construction has become a significant modus operandi in some parts of the country. Due either to local topographic or political constraints, replacing older structures with new ones can potentially be an important option.
CAPS instructor and remodeler, Vince Butler, explains how he prepped an office above the garage for an in-law suite conversion. Here are 21 design ideas that even an expert should have included in the original office remodel to ensure a smooth transformation into his mother's living space.
Home owner seminars are evolving for a clientele who wants information ondemand and online. Professional Remodeler interviews remodelers for tips on organizing seminars to maximize leads and sales force resources.                             
 
MT Students
A possible solution to the widespread labor shortage: Restock the low inventory of laborers with a new group of fresh (young) faces. 38 high school students in Montana are building a full-sized, two-story, four-bedroom house all on their own (with the oversight of Flathead Building Association members and skilled subcontractors).
Membership Saves You Money
Don't waste your limited time and resources on leads that don't pan out. The goal of this webinar is to give attendees the information they need so that they never again go on a sales call with an unqualified prospect. NAHB Remodelers members get an additional $5 off registration.                         
 
Remodeling Month
Happy clients and beautiful homes - that's what it's all about. Join us as we turn up the volume in May to celebrate all things remodeling. We've created public relations, social media and other promotional resources for you to use during National Home Remodeling Month, saving you money on your marketing budget.
Knowing how much the competition is bringing in can help you better gauge your financial performance and further enhance your industry intellect. NAHB is confidentially surveying remodeler members to provide them with real-market benchmarks they can use to compare their business to others, pinpoint improvement opportunities and set budget targets. Survey participants will receive a free copy of the final report, the 2017 Remodelers’ Cost of Doing Business Study.
PR
Join Professional Remodeler and industry peers for this exciting networking event. The inaugural GenX-Change event is in Dallas, April 13-15 and will provide a day and a half of interactive content for attendees to learn from those who have succeeded by taking risks to grow their businesses. The Professional Remodeler 40 under 40 winners will also be honored at this event. NAHB Remodelers members get $100 off the $325 registration cost.
Give your clients the best during foundation, framing and exterior finishing when you better understand selection criteria, properties of materials, application techniques and the long-term performance of each system. Building Technology: Structures and Exterior Finishes Live Online will be offered in webinar format from 1:00-3:00 PM ET over three consecutive Tuesdays April 5, 12 and 19. Register today!
Houzz
NAHB has formed a strategic alliance with Houzz Inc., the online platform for home building, renovation and design, to help NAHB members use Houzz’s technology and marketing capabilities to connect with a community of 35 million users. Visit the Houzz NAHB member portal to create or update your free professional profile, which includes a verified NAHB badge. Members also have access to the Houzz concierge for assistance.                              

 


The 2016 IBS Show in Las Vegas was described by many as the Best Show Yet!

IBS 2016 was "Awesome," "Exciting," Unbelievable."

 

Check out IBS 2016!

 

Make plans right now to attend IBS 2017 in Orlando, Florida, January 10-12, 2017!


Weekly News Updates from NAHB

 

Economics

How Much Profit Do Builders Make?

Find out how your single-family construction business stacks up against industry-wide averages.

New Home Sales Edge Up in February

A positive indicator as we enter the spring buying season. 

 

Rules & Regulations

Final Silica Rule Announced 

NAHB expresses concern that the rule is neither technologically nor economically feasible for home builders.

New Persuader Rule Reporting to Begin in Late April

May have a big impact on HBAs offering presentations, seminars and other union and labor-related content.

Builders Seek Regulatory Reform to Ease Housing Affordability

NAHB First Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald calls on Congress to take action. 

Time to Get the Lead Out

March 31 deadline looms for remodelers to take refresher training course.

Association Update

Now's Your Chance to Speak at IBS

Industry experts have an opportunity to share knowledge and insight at NAHB's premier event. 

NAHB Kids Shine a Light on Home Building

Creative contest captures the great work of our industry through the eyes of our children.  

 


Rules & Regulations


Confined Spaces Regulation Now in Effect
NAHB resources offer helpful guidance to comply with the rule.


Connecticut Lawmakers Reject Sprinkler Mandates
High costs, few benefits favor smoke alarms over sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

 

Industry Insight

 

Bringing Housing Home a Grassroots Success
Builders cement stronger ties with their lawmakers during in-district visits.


Fair Housing, Warranty Issues in Latest Liability Update
Also see what's trending with regard to OSHA enforcement activity and worker misclassification.


Home Building Gets Competitive in Lego League
It's never too early to get kids excited about a career in residential construction.


Multifamily


HUD Seeks Comments on AFFH State Assessment Tool
States will use this tool to evaluate fair housing choice.


6 LIHTC Expense Traps to Avoid

March 17 webinar will help protect your bottom line.


HUD Proposes Revisions to Risk-Sharing Program
NAHB to weigh in on this housing finance proposal.  


NAHB has launched the Defender of Housing award to honor our senators, representatives and state elected leadership who understand the importance of the housing industry and take stands to help it grow.

 

NAHB has launched the Defender of Housing award to honor our senators, representatives and state elected leadership who understand the importance of the housing industry and take stands to help it grow.
 

HBAs are encouraged to think about the contributions of their legislators who have demonstrated support for home building, remodeling, development and the contributions we make to the economy and submit an application.
 

Nominated by state and local HBA leaders, each candidate is reviewed by a select group of NAHB Federal Government Affairs Committee members before being chosen for this national award. And each legislator honored helps raise the profile of the state or local HBA making the submission.
 

Nominations are now being accepted and close April 29. Award winners will be announced in late May. For additional information, contact Alyssa Rajabi.


NAHB Chairman Ed Brady and First Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald this week conducted two days of meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress to urge lawmakers to pursue a strong national agenda for housing

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady and First Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald this week conducted two days of meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress to urge lawmakers to pursue a strong national agenda for housing. The NAHB Senior Officers reiterated the importance of housing and homeownership to the economy and stressed that a vibrant housing market is necessary in order to maintain robust job and economic growth.

 

From left, NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
and NAHB First VIce Chairman Granger MacDonald


 

On Capitol Hill, Brady and MacDonald met with several influential lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.); House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas); and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
 

Discussions focused on the need to enact policies that would provide a stable and affordable supply of credit for home buyers, home builders and rental housing and to reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulations to make homeownership more affordable for firefighters, teachers, police officers and other middle-class families. Lawmakers were also urged to address soaring health care costs by allowing the use of health reimbursement arrangements and to adopt sensible workforce development and immigration policy that will help our industry fill open jobs and boost our nation’s economy.
 

Amidst this presidential election year, when so much hangs in the balance for the housing industry, these meetings will help to lay the groundwork for a successful Bringing Housing Home™ NAHB Legislative Conference during the week of March 7-11 when our members will hold in-district meetings with their lawmakers.
 

Builders are encouraged to log on to BringingHousingHome.com now and register to attend the industry’s most important lobbying event of the year.
 

For more information on Bringing Housing Home, email Michael Persaud at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8542.


Topping the list of problems builders faced is the cost/availability of labor

Topping the list of problems builders faced in 2015 and expect to face in 2016 is the cost/availability of labor, according to a recent survey that NAHB conducted of our members.

 

As NAHB economist Ashok Chaluvadi reported in a recent Eye on Housing blog post, 76% or builders expect this to be a major issue in 2016. Labor concerns have increased in importance during the past three years. In 2013, 53% of builders rated labor as a significant problem, followed by 61% in 2014 and 71% in 2015. An expected skilled labor shortage can constrain an improving housing market.

 

 

To read more, click HERE.


President Obama on Feb. 9 unveiled a $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2017 budget proposal to Congress that is up 5% from the current year.

President Obama on Feb. 9 unveiled a $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2017 budget proposal to Congress that is up 5% from the current year.
 

But Republicans have made it clear they won’t even consider the proposal.  GOP lawmakers made the unusual move of not even inviting Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan to testify about the 2017 budget – further evidence of the ongoing gridlock and partisan divide that now grips Washington.
 

Still, the White House budget serves as the initial marker in the budget battle ahead. Given the size, cost, complexities and major policy overhauls that this blueprint entails, the debate in the weeks and months ahead is likely to be contentious as lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle consider its merits on an array of fronts- from social spending, energy policy to taxes.
 

Here’s how the proposed budget relates to the residential construction industry.
 

HUD
 

  • Proposes $48.9 billion in HUD funding, a 15% increase over the $42.6 billion provided in the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill the President signed on December 18, 2015.
     
  • Provides $20.85 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance, with $18.45 billion for contract renewals and $7 million for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH). The fiscal 2016 approved appropriation provided $19.6 billion for the Section 8 program, with $17.68 billion earmarked for renewals and $60 million for VASH.
     
  • Proposes $10.82 billion for Section 8 Project-based Rental Assistance, with $10.03 billion for contract renewals. Last year’s budget provided $10.62 billion for the program.
     
  • Funds the HOME Program at $950 million, the same level as last year.
     
  • Decreases Community Development Block Grant funding from $3 billion to $2.8 billion.
     
  • Increases Choice Neighborhoods funding from $125 million to $200 million.
     

USDA
 

As the budget process moves forward in the year ahead, NAHB will remain deeply engaged, fighting to strip out any provisions that will harm housing and promoting elements that will help small businesses and the housing sector.
 

For more information, email Jessica Hall at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8253


Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

 

However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years – versus five years for hands-on training courses – and can only be exercised every other re-certification cycle.

 

“As a longtime advocate for a simplified re-certification process, NAHB Remodelers appreciates that EPA’s changes provide some flexibility, but the limited and convoluted parameters of the online training option are unnecessarily complicated and could affect the number of renovators who opt to become re-certified,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, CGR, CAPS, CGP, GMB, GMR, a remodeler from Wichita, Kan.

 

“Whether they choose to refresh their training online or in person, with the March 31 re-certification deadline looming for over 100,000 remodelers, and thousands more later in 2016 and 2017, remodelers are left with precious little time to meet their re-certification obligations.”

 

Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a HUD or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers.

 

EPA’s changes only apply to those states where EPA administers the program. The 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

 

The White House Office of Management and Budget released the final rule to EPA on Jan. 21.

 

For online or in-person refresher training, remodelers should contact their local home builders association, or they can find a course on EPA’s website. More information on how to determine specific deadlines can be found using NAHB’s “What You Need to Know about EPA Lead-Safe Re-certification.”


In a highly unusual move, the U.S. Supreme Court last night halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan Rule

In a highly unusual move, the U.S. Supreme Court last night halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan Rule, which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emission from power plants located within their borders.

 

While the rule is supposed to focus on power plants, EPA’s emission reduction requirements are so stringent that states will have to use a variety of mechanisms to meet them.

 

Because EPA has encouraged states to use building energy efficiency, including the imposition of building codes, as a way to comply with these targets, NAHB has been engaged on this rule from the beginning, filing comments that significantly improved EPA’s treatment of energy efficiency in the final rule.

 

However, because incentives remain for states to use energy efficiency to meet these onerous requirements, NAHB, along with many other parties, filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the rule.

 

The states and some industry groups asked the D.C. Circuit to halt implementation of the rule while it is being litigated. The court refused, and these groups then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the rule.

 

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, granted these groups’ requests. States will now be relieved of taking action immediately to try and meet the rule’s deadlines, and can instead hold off until after the courts have decided whether the rule is legal, which likewise provides relief for impacted industries as well, including NAHB’s members.


There are numerous ways to push back and stay profitable.

Small-volume builders who are feeling boxed in by large production builders in their area should take heart. Daniel Levitan, MIRM, IRM Fellow, CMP, CSP, owner of Levitan & Associates in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who recently spoke at the NAHB International Builders’ Show, said there are numerous ways to push back and stay profitable.

 

Levitan conceded that large production builders have a lot of advantages over small-volume builders. To list a few:

 

 

– Easy access to capital
– Economies of scale
– Favorable treatment from subcontractors
– Library full of home plans with known costs
– Market visibility
– Sales and marketing efficiency
– Ability to survive market conditions

 

The upside for small-volume builders, however, is that most production builders are resistant to change, typically unable to respond rapidly to new opportunities or create new housing products, and find it challenging to take on smaller jobs or sites or typical developments. “And as most of you know, some of the small projects are more profitable than the large ones,” Levitan said.

 

Large volume builders also struggle to market outside of their established comfort zone, and are rarely able to accommodate requests for customization.  So if you want to stay competitive with the big builders, Levitan recommends the following:

 

  • Develop a significant Web presence to make yourself stand out.
  • At a minimum, do some limited customization.
  • Build in a sub-market. Go where the big builders won’t go.
  • Directly target their weakness. For example, if they build quality, build to price or vice versa.
  • Fill in the holes they leave behind. “If they’re doing all brick, you do stucco. If they’re doing one-story houses, you do two-story houses,” Levitan said.
  • Partner with other small-volume builders.
  • Find private investors.
  • Pursue urban infill housing opportunities.
     

Interested in learning more? Search NAHBNow.com or visit NAHB.org for additional tips, strategies, articles and resources.


The White House Office of Management and Budget released a final Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulemaking on Friday that could make it more difficult for developers and builders to obtain federal wetland permits.

The White House Office of Management and Budget released a final Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulemaking on Friday that could make it more difficult for developers and builders to obtain federal wetland permits.

 

NAHB is particularly concerned about how these rules could increase the size of future critical habitat designations. Once adopted, these ESA regulations will dramatically expand what types of habitat qualify as suitable for listed species.

Historically, federal regulators focused on areas occupied by the species and areas with specific physical or biological features to support the species.

 

This new rule would allow federal regulators to designate habitat that does not include the species nor any important physical or biological features, provided these areas could eventually develop such features or be used by the species.

 

The rules will be jointly administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and become enforceable 30 days after being published in the Federal Register, which is expected within a week.

 

Once finalized, these regulations will make it extremely difficult for landowners and states to refute a federal determination that their properties or state lands should be designated as critical habitat.

 

These ESA rules, when combined with the expanded definition of ‘waters of the U.S.’ under the Clean Water Act, will significantly and unnecessarily increase the areas regulated by the federal government while providing little added environmental protection.

 

For additional information, contact Mike Mittelholzer.


The smart-home technology craze began years ago in some parts of the country, but in many other areas, it’s only just begun.

The smart-home technology craze began years ago in some parts of the country, but in many other areas, it’s only just begun.
 

If you’re just entering this market, or have yet to do so because you think you don’t have the know-how, fear not – you don’t need to be a technology specialist. But you should become familiar with what’s trending and how you can address your clients’ needs before they go to another builder.
 

Product developers are constantly churning out new gizmos, like the thousands that were displayed at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. But only a small number are actually embraced by the general public.
 

Get a feel for what’s really trending
 

During an education session at this year’s International Builders’ Show, Greg Haupert, the executive director of Business Networking International and a home-technology integration specialist, listed several smart-home trends that have truly started to take root, including:
 

  • Contemporary comfort with automated thermostats, lighting and security systems that quickly learn the owner’s preferences and can be controlled and monitored from anywhere in the world.
     
  • High-tech appliances like refrigerators with internal cameras that allow the owner to remotely check its contents, and an automated compressor that adjusts its speed according to how much food is inside.
     
  • Smart TVs – not simply those that run apps like Netflix and Hulu, but rather, TVs that are integrated to create a smart-home hub through which many, if not all of the home’s smart features can be controlled.
     

Many other experts at IBS recommended several more design trends and innovative products builders should consider.
 

Team up with an expert
 

Once you know what’s hot among consumers, but don’t feel confident enough to market yourself as a smart-home specialist, Haupert suggests partnering with one.
 

It’s okay to admit you don’t have all the technology answers as long as you partner with or employ someone who does, and who can comfortably interact with the client.
 

“Having a smart-home technology expert that you can rely on and consult with for certain projects will help boost your business and reputation,” Haupert said. “Don’t assume that [a tech specialist’s] only goal is to up-sell the client. When you find a trustworthy partner whom you can work with consistently, that will better enable you to meet your clients’ needs.”
 

Furthermore, he suggests working with contractors who can offer service contracts to the client. This will reduce your liability if (or rather, when) issues arise.
 

Plan ahead
 

But before you get too far down the road with a client, it’s critical to develop a technology plan as early as possible. Custom A/V and smart-home technology is best integrated when planned for well in advance. Pre-wiring a new home can save the client thousands down the road.
 

Haupert strongly advises that builders find out which pieces of technology the client wants and how they want to use them in their home. From there, go through the floor plan room by room and ask how they might want to use the technology in each space.
 

NAHB has several educational opportunities for industry professionals who want to learn more about integrating design and technology. Go to nahb.org for additional info.