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Housing Headlines Archives for 2016-05

The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Regulations & Trade 

Enough is Enough!

Virginia firm tells Congress of its nearly three-decade-long wetlands permitting nightmare. 

NAHB, OSHA Settle Litigation on Confined Spaces Rule

A free NAHB webinar on June 16 will explain what builders need to know. 

Supply Caps on Canadian Lumber More Harmful than Tariffs

Bilateral talks focus on parameters of a new deal. 


New Home Sales Reach Post-Recession High

April pace is the highest rate since January 2008. 

Apartment, Condo Markets Hold Steady in 1st Quarter

Reading marks the 17th straight quarter in positive territory. 

Your Business

Estimating Accurately to Build Client Trust

NAHB's three-part online course can help refine your technique. 

What are the 2016 Trendsetting Colors?

This pink-and-blue combo is "an antidote to modern-day stress." 

The latest in industry news and information from NAHB

Rules & Regulations 

Overtime Rule Doubles Salary Threshold

Regulation will take effect Dec. 1.

Court Makes Unusual Move with Clean Power Plan Rule

This rare change may signify the broad impact implementation of the rule could have on the U.S. economy.


Builder Confidence: The Song Remains the Same

Sentiment has held steady for four straight months.

Single- and Multifamily Starts Up in April

Housing production expected to ramp up moving forward.

On Capitol Hill

Senate Bill Would Expand Production of Affordable Homes

Measure would help preserve or create an additional 400,000 units over a 10-year period.

House HUD Funding Bill Contains NAHB-Supported Provision

Legislative language would delay HUD from implementing executive order on floodplains.

Business Matters

Security Concerns Invade Smart-Home Market

NAHB has created a guide to help builders navigate potential problem areas. 

3 Steps to Better Bids

This three-part course can help you beat the competition


Builders Remain Cautiously Confident

Builders Remain Cautiously Confident


April's home construction data and May's builder confidence reading tell a similar story with respect to home building at the start of the second quarter. Housing demand is promising, particularly given constrained conditions for existing home inventory. But while home building continues to grow, the industry is currently in a cautious stance given regulatory burdens and supply chain issues.


Slight Gains for Custom Home Building

The market share will likely experience ups and downs in the quarters ahead. 

Townhouse Construction Growth Continues

Long-term demand looks encouraging for medium-density neighborhoods. 

Flat Trends Continue for Single-Family Home Size

Typical homes will decrease in size as more entry-level homes are developed. 

April Starts Consistent with Builder Confidence 

Growth in home construction is a key bright spot in the U.S. economy. 

The Song Remains the Same: Builder Confidence Holds Steady

Single-family market hindered by persistent access issues and rising regulatory burdens.  

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Market Stays Positive

Expected sales for single-family homes reached its highest-ever index reading. 


Remodelers Identify Top Sources for Building Materials

Index shows specialty retailers are a go-to for home finishes. 

'Desire for Better Amenities' Drives Customers to Renovate

Remodelers report a few changes in consumer behavior for 2016. 


Serious Delinquency Rates Continue to Fall

Steady decline coincides with the easing of lending standards on net. 

Consumer Credit Expands to $3.59 Trillion

The increase reflects an expansion in the outstanding amount of non-revolving credit. 

Housing Affordability Posts Second Straight Quarterly Gain

Index identifies the most and least affordable markets in the nation. 


Number of Unfilled Construction Jobs Keeps Rising

Current job openings are at their highest monthly count since May 2007.

Employment Situation in April: A Bad Month

April's report is an outlier compared to the solid, two-year trend. 



14 Million Households 'Priced Out' by Government Regulation

Federal guidelines add a whopping $84K to the sales price of a new, single-family home. 


Regulations Keep Driving Up Prices on New Homes

Costs have risen nearly 30% over the last five years.  



Nationwide Recovery Continues at a Steady Pace

Index shows positive movement across the board in permits, prices and employment. 

Personal Income Recovering after the Great Recession 

In 2014, young adults earned 11.2% less than their same-age counterparts did in 2000. 

Building Material Prices Increase in April

Widespread gains come on the tail end of trending reductions over the last eight months.  

Consumer Price Index Rose in April – Pumping Up Inflation 

A jump in the price of gasoline was the primary culprit.


The Latest in Housing and Construction Industry News

Regulations & Codes

OSHA Announces New Recordkeeping Rules

Agency fails to adequately address NAHB concerns. 

Smoke Alarms, Not Sprinkler Mandates, Says NAHB

Newer homes safer than older ones. 

Formaldehyde Rule Needs Clarity

EPA's ambiguity hurts builders and remodelers.


Building Codes Voting Guide Now Available

NAHB has pointers for ICC members to choose cost-effective building code proposals this month.

Supply & Demand

Don't Be Surprised if Lumber Prices Change

Supply-side issues could arise due to recent Canadian wildfires. 

Housing Affordability Posts Second Straight Quarterly Rise

Favorable home prices and mortgage rates fuel gains. 

Industry Insight

Fix Our Housing Finance System

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady sends the right message in response to George Will's op-ed.

BUILD-PAC Events Boost Industry

A goal of $3 million for this election cycle. 

A compilation of the week's top housing news



The Wall Street Journal
Home prices this year post steady but not spectacular gains
Home prices grew moderately in cities across the U.S. in the first quarter, as the market heads for steady, but not spectacular growth in 2016.

Report: Home sales hold ground despite TRID
Mortgage rates are close to record lows, and April home mortgage applications were at their highest since 2010, however lack of inventory continues to give sellers the upper hand, according to Capital Economics report, titled US Housing Market Monthly.

As equity returns, HELOC values rocket
Americans opened more, and more expensive, home equity lines of credit in the first quarter as home values and owner confidence swelled.

Mortgage applications up just 0.4%, despite rates near three-year lows
Despite the lowest interest rates in nearly three years, the number of people applying for a mortgage barely moved last week.

The New York Times
Tips for house hunting in a seller’s market
A lack of homes for sale in many parts of the country is making house hunting a challenge this spring, especially for first-time buyers.


The Wall Street Journal
Rising rents squeeze middle class
Rising rents in cities across the nation are hurting the poorest residents, but those who are higher on the income ladder might be bearing the brunt of the pain. (Subscription may be required.)

First-time buyers face housing crunch in big cities
Despite low interest rates, it's a difficult time for people who want to buy a house for the first time. Skylar Olsen of Zillow explains why so few houses are available and why prices are so high.

Homeownership rates are falling, and it's not just a millennial problem
More people are renting than buying these days and they’re not just millennials.

The Wall Street Journal
Luxury condo boom is ending in Manhattan; Demand for luxury units slows amid unprecedented supply
The 1,004-foot Manhattan condominium tower known as One57 was the envy of the real-estate market as it was being constructed in recent years, garnering interest from so many wealthy buyers that it sparked a boom by developers betting demand for luxury apartments would keep climbing to the skies. (Subscription may be required.) 




The Washington Post
The cost to taxpayers of shoring up Fannie and Freddie (letter to the editor by Ed Brady)
While George F. Will fretted in his May 5 op-ed, “Treasury’s Fannie and Freddie rip-off,” that a few hedge fund managers are being ripped off because they can’t recoup their long-shot investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the real focus should be on taxpayers.

The Wall Street Journal
Bets on Fannie and Freddie get help from lobbyists
Hedge funds that have bet hundreds of millions of dollars on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's stock aren't just leaving the fate of their investment to Wall Street. They are also working K Street.

The Wall Street Journal
Hedge fund cash flows to GOP lawmakers seeking to loosen government grip on Fannie and Freddie
Private shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have waged an intense lobbying campaign in an effort to drum up support for releasing the companies from government control and in the process restore some value to their shares.

Conservative groups join growing push to recapitalize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
Over the last year, various groups, including community lenders, affordable housing advocates, civil rights groups, interested observers, and financial analysts, called for a change in governmental policy that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rebuild a capital base.

National Mortgage News
Flood insurance bill could threaten the GSEs
Legislation that would authorize the use of private flood insurance on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages was overwhelmingly approved by the House late last month, but concerns about its potential impact are beginning to crop up. (Subscription may be required.)




The Wall Street Journal
Home builders say they are squeezed by rising compliance costs
The average cost for home builders to comply with regulations for new home construction has increased by nearly 30% over the last five years, according to new research from the National Association of Home Builders. (Subscription may be required.)

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Editorial: Making homes unaffordable
There are all sorts of burdensome government regulations that make it harder for average Americans to make ends meet — alarmist environmental edicts and inane occupational licensing rules to name just two.


Product News


MP Global
The Market is Warming Up for Electric Radiant Heat under Hard Surface Floors
While electric radiant under-floor heat systems for supplemental warmth started out years ago as a luxury option in new homes and high end renovations, they are now an increasingly popular perk for many types of new construction and remodeling projects. The concept is popular in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, family rooms, entryways, laundry areas, sunrooms, and other spaces where a bit of extra warmth underfoot would be appreciated. 

Integrity Windows and Doors
The 4-Panel Sliding French Door By Integrity: Our Biggest Door Yet
For homeowners who crave expansive vistas, Integrity has released their biggest door yet, the 4-Panel Sliding French Door. Making no compromises, its size invites maximum daylight into the home, illuminating a rich wood interior, while its exterior is made of durable, and virtually maintenance free, Ultrex pultruded fiberglass.  




The Washington Post
Agency seeks input from public on possible fixes for controversial home closing rules
A recent effort by the federal government to make the home closing process smoother and more transparent for buyers has instead turned into a quagmire of inconsistency and confusion, according to title companies and real estate agents.


Mortgage News

The Wall Street Journal
Private lenders remodel the mortgage market
Mike Klemens, 81 years old, is a bridge player, real-estate investor and part of a new generation of private lenders helping reshape the American home-mortgage market. From his ranch-style house in the hills above the San Fernando Valley, he services home loans financed from his individual retirement account and profits made in 35 years of buying and selling Southern California real estate. (Subscription may be required.)


Softwood Lumber Agreement


Canadian lumber producers reject rumoured U.S. calls for return to quotas
Canadian forestry company executives are eager for a new softwood lumber agreement but say they are not interest in a rumoured U.S. proposal to reinstate across-the-board quotas.

A Compilation of the week's top headlines



Construction Dive

5 charts that reveal the future of residential construction

The residential construction industry's recovery has moved along a slow and steady path as the housing market struggled to find its footing after the crash eight years ago. Despite the lack of surging growth in homebuilding, economists are optimistic about the industry's future — especially now that the market has been able to move past the boom and bust ramifications.

Construction Dive
CoreLogic: Home prices climb 2% as housing industry drives economic growth

U.S. home prices, including distressed sales, increased 2.1% between February and March and 6.7% between March 2015 and March 2016, CoreLogic reported in its Home Price Index Tuesday.

Millennials are moving, but mortgages don't follow

It is the number one barrier to entry for young, would-be home buyers: Credit. Millennials are the first generation to come of age in a post-almost-apocalyptic housing market, where lenders, eight years later, are still paying billions in reparations for mortgage misconduct and outright fraud.



Mortgage applications down 3.4% on another slight rate gain

It was yet another small tick higher for interest rates last week, and it was enough again to hold borrowers back from applying for a mortgage.





The Hill
Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform

Housing industry and mortgage advocates say Freddie Mac's $354 million first-quarter net loss should sound an alarm on Capitol Hill that there is an urgent need to overhaul the nation's housing finance system.



Freddie Mac reports small enough loss to avoid bailout

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac on Tuesday said it lost money in the first quarter, but the red ink wasn't large enough to force it to request a government infusion.


The Wall Street Journal
Fannie Mae to Pay $919 Million Dividend to Treasury as Profit Falls

Fannie Mae said it would send a $919 million dividend payment to the U.S. Treasury in June and reported that its net income declined in the latest quarter amid falling interest rates. (Subscription may be required.)



The Washington Post
Treasury's Fannie and Freddie rip-off

Gigantic government's complexity and opacity provide innumerable opportunities for opportunists to act unconstrained by clear law or effective supervision. Today's example, involving the government's expropriation of hundreds of billions of dollars, features three sets of unsympathetic actors — a grasping federal government, a few hedge funds nimble at exploiting the commingling of government and the private sector, and two anomalous institutions that should never have existed.


What about Fannie & Freddie?

While the remaining White House hopefuls have discussed the intimate details of many policies and proposals, none have seriously addressed the future of housing finance reform. Given the significant size and scope of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the two Government-sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and their hyper leveraged, undiversified business models, presidential candidates owe it to the American people to provide detailed plans for housing finance and the role of government in the system.



American Banker
As Investment Portfolio Dwindles, Fannie Looks Elsewhere for Growth

Going forward, Fannie Mae will be relying more on loan guarantee fee income from its single-family and multifamily businesses.  (Subscription may be required.)




U.S. regulator raises multifamily lending caps

The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Wednesday it raised the limits on the multifamily financing on the two housing agencies to $35 billion from $31 billion, effective immediately.


Ply Gem
PVC Shake and Shingle

The style and grace of shake-and-shingle clad homes is part of the American architectural tradition, but the upkeep required to keep these exteriors looking good is more than most homeowners care to take on.


The Atlantic
Who can go after banks for the foreclosure crisis?

In the wake of the housing crisis, surprisingly few people or institutions have been held accountable for the risky lending practices that nearly wrecked the U.S. economy.  That's partly because the people who were most damaged by the foreclosure crisis—the people who lost their homes—don't have the resources to bring lawsuits.



The Wall Street Journal
How City Hall exacerbates the entry-level housing squeeze

The housing market has recovered, but sluggish entry-level construction is putting a squeeze on families that would like to buy their first home. A new report pins the blame on City Hall.


Update on Economic and Construction News

Lackluster GDP Growth at the Start of 2016


The initial estimate of GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016 wasn't as strong as most economists expected, coming in at an anemic 0.5% annual rate, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Economic growth has been steadily softening since the second quarter of 2015, when it topped out at a 3.5% pace. The culprits include slowing personal consumption expenditures and falling exports. 



Gen X Homeownership Continues to Rise

All other age groups saw declines, but growth of household formations should spur demand.  

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling More Popular than Ever 

Room additions and whole-house renovations also increased in frequency.   

Multifamily Spending Continues Record-Breaking Pace

Residential construction spending had significant gains from one year ago. 


The Five HBAs with the Lowest Owner Vacancy Rates

Four of the five associations are in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. 

Home Price Appreciation Slows in February 

A more sustainable pace of growth is expected moving forward. 

Pending Sales Increase

Three of the four U.S. regions saw a rise in the number of signed contracts.  

Share of FHA-Backed Loans Rises Slightly

Conventional loans financed more than two-thirds of new homes sold in the first quarter of 2016. 

Inventory of New Homes Continues to Grow

The additional homes effectively flattened the pace of new single-family home sales.  


GDP Growth – Double, Double Oil and Trouble

Economic growth has steadily declined since the second quarter of 2015.

Federal Open Market Committee April Meeting

The committee gave no hints about its intentions for the upcoming meeting in June. 

Personal Income Edges Up

Growth is largely driven by rises in compensation and assets revenue. 

Consumer Confidence Slipped in April 

Despite monthly volatility, the trends in the share of consumers planning to buy a home continue their post-recession recovery. 


The Weekly News Digest from NAHB


Single-Family Sector Leads Housing to Higher Ground 
Economists predict a gradual upward trajectory.  

Pace of Existing Home Sales Reaches 10-Month High 
The busiest home buying season of the year is living up to its reputation.  

New Home Sales Hold Steady in March 
Pace is expected to rise through 2016.Rules & Regulations  


Rules & Regulations


Revised Overtime Proposal 'Unacceptable'   
NAHB Chairman Ed Brady blasts Department of Labor plan.  

Feds Loosen Building Restrictions Near Threatened Bats 
NAHB works with regulators to help ensure common sense prevails.  

Tennessee Rejects Costly New Stormwater Proposals 
A resounding success for a coalition of state and local HBAs.  

Industry Insight 

Never Make a Fruitless Sales Call Again 
May 11 webinar will help you target winning clients.  

Remodeling Month Kicks Off 
The springtime housing market isn't just for buyers and sellers.