Nation's Building News Online: October 27, 2003
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Chances for White House Compromise on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Restructuring Continue to Fade
As the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Oct. 23 conducted its second hearing on proposals to restructure the regulation and oversight of the housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, prospects of reaching a compromise with the Administration faded further, along with a chance to enact meaningful legislative reform this year.
While all parties appear to agree on the need to create a strong, independent regulator within the Treasury Department to oversee the financial safety and soundness of the GSEs, ignoring the concerns of the housing community, the White House continues to insist that new program approval authority for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be transferred from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the Treasury Department.
There is a nearly unanimous accord within the industry that housing could be weakened as a national priority and the development of new, innovative housing affordability programs would be threatened if program authority is shifted from housing advocates at HUD to financial regulators at the Treasury, an agency with almost no experience in housing policy and programs.
Last week, a top Treasury official issued inflammatory remarks to the media indicating that the department was willing to consider extinguishing the credit line it provides to each of the two giant mortgage lenders. The comment, which drew a sharp rebuke from NAHB, caused immediate, temporary damage to each of the GSE’s borrowing costs as well as their stock values.
“It is simply irresponsible for a high-ranking Administration official to publicly suggest that the Congress sever the $2.25 billion credit line that Fannie and Freddie have with the Treasury,” said Jerry Howard, executive vice president and CEO of NAHB. “These statements just reinforce what we have been saying all along. Namely, that the Treasury Department, be it under Republican or Democratic leadership, would prefer to redirect capital away from housing into other sectors of the economy and that the agency does not have housing’s best interests in mind.”
Howard added that such comments serve to bolster NAHB’s position that GSE mission and program oversight must remain at HUD, the one agency that has the expertise and the congressional mandate to advocate for housing.
An even more radical proposal was floated at the Senate banking hearing. Suggesting that private financial institutions could perform the job of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin called for eliminating their government-sponsored status, which he estimated would raise mortgage interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on average.
“Such a move would harm consumers by increasing housing costs for tens of millions of American families,” said Howard.
At current mortgage rates, a quarter-point hike (from, for example, 6% to 6.25%) on a $170,910 loan for a median-priced $189,900 new home, with a 10% downpayment, would boost the mortgage payments by an average of $336 per year, or more than $10,000 over the life of a 30-year loan.
This added burden would be felt most acutely by low-income households and first-time home buyers attempting to enter the housing market. Each quarter-point increase in mortgage interest rates would effectively prevent more than one million families from qualifying for a home loan.
“For the past two years, the housing market has turned in a truly heroic performance,” said Howard. “It’s perfectly clear that the presence of the GSEs in the secondary markets has lowered the cost of home mortgage credit and allowed Fannie and Freddie to develop new programs and to spur innovative solutions that expand housing opportunity for millions of home owners and renters.”
These two indispensable secondary market institutions have reduced mortgage interest rates, linked mortgage finance to the national and international capital markets, eliminated regional disparities in interest rates, cushioned local economic downturns and brought standardization and innovation to the mortgage markets.
Under the auspices of HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided support to primary market lenders for the development of hybrid mortgages that combine the benefits of adjustable and fixed-rate loans; lower downpayment requirements; and new mortgage products for borrowers with tarnished credit histories. And they have been at the forefront of technological innovations to streamline the mortgage process to reduce the time and cost involved in obtaining a mortgage.
Howard then cited a number of loan programs which builders rely on that could be curtailed or even eliminated if their approval authority were moved to the Treasury Department:
On the apartment front, Howard added that several multifamily loan programs, such as those covering debt and equity for low-income housing tax credit projects and programs to finance small multifamily rental providers, particularly in rural areas, could be jeopardized if their jurisdiction fell under the Treasury Department.
“The U.S. economy still is struggling toward full-fledged expansion, and a strong performance by the housing sector is essential to this process,” said Howard. “Public airing of anti-housing and anti-GSE biases by Administration officials inevitably jeopardizes the current economic situation as well as the outlook for 2004.”
Lacking consensus in both chambers of Congress on how to proceed with the regulatory revamping of the GSEs, and with the current congressional session set to adjourn for the year in mid-November, passage of a GSE reform bill appears highly unlikely in 2003. However, lawmakers are almost certain to address the subject again early next year.
Building News Coast To Coast
Natural Gas-Fueled Generators Gain Popularity Among Home Owners
Technological advances, a drop in prices and the recent blackout have made natural gas generators popular among home owners. According to American Gas Association spokesperson Peggy Laramie, the devices are especially popular in the hurricane-prone U.S. Southeast. Many contractors say the equipment is being installed during construction and even becoming a standard item — like air conditioning — in new homes. In fact, NAHB will add a question about generators to its next builder survey. Unlike those powered by gasoline, natural gas generators link to the dwelling's natural gas line and start up automatically after the lights go off. Home owners can purchase a basic unit for approximately $3,500, but those who want enough juice to run their air conditioning systems and appliances can expect to spent anywhere from $6,500 to $15,000.
Buyers 'Unsure' About Appraisal, Title Insurance
A recent survey of 2,700 home buyers by the National Association of Realtors® found that 52% of first-time buyers and 38% of repeat buyers did not know if they purchased an owner's title insurance policy. Moreover, about 6% of the buyers in both groups had no idea if their property was appraised; and 20% of those who did have appraisals did not know who hired the appraiser. As for home inspections, 6% of first-timers and 4% of repeat buyers questioned the report's accuracy.
Housing Options Increase as Population Ages
Senior housing continues to expand and evolve to meet the needs of the aging American population. Older home buyers can purchase an apartment, townhome, condominium or single-family home in age-targeted developments intended for childless families; or they can opt for an age-restricted development, where residents must be 55 and over. Those who desire single-family dwellings and a multitude of amenities and activities might want to consider active-adult communities, many of which are located in traditional retirement havens. Seniors also have access to affordable rental apartments, independent-living units with meals and housekeeping services, assisted-living facilities that offer help with bathing and other daily tasks and nursing homes. Many are opting for continuing-care communities, which have both independent- and assisted-living units as well as a nursing home so they can move as their lifestyles change.
Perks Spark 'Recycling' of Polluted Properties
After initial resistance, developers are warming up to state and federal government programs that reward them for turning brownfields — contaminated or potentially contaminated land that has been abandoned from earlier industrial use — into residences, golf courses and shopping venues, among other uses. The brownfield redevelopment effort got a big endorsement from President Bush's January 2002 approval of a bill allocating $200 million for such programs, which have attracted interest not only by dangling financial incentives but also by protecting developers from environmental liability. "Brownfields aren't as scary as they used to be," confirms National Brownfield Association Executive Director Robert Colangelo. "There's just a tremendous amount of interest around the country." From former manufacturing facilities to defunct service stations, HUD estimates that the number of brownfields nationwide could be as high as 425,000.
First Time Buying a Home? Good Luck in This Market
Soaring property prices have made it difficult for first-time home buyers, especially in California, Boston, New York, Miami and Honolulu. In fact, households earning the regional median income cannot afford a median-priced home in 34 of the nation's metropolitan areas, according to Economy.com. Moreover, California Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young expects only 19% of residents in that state to earn enough to purchase a median-priced home next year. However, low interest rates have facilitated homeownership in many locales; and research by Harvard University reveals that the percentage of a household's income put toward shelter has slipped from 36% in 1981 to 21% today. There are ways for first-time buyers to purchase in high-cost areas. Many are moving farther from the city and adding time to their already long commutes; while others are taking advantage of low- or no-downpayment mortgages, often using two loans to eliminate pricey private mortgage insurance. In California, many builders believe high-density developments would improve affordability by letting them spread land costs and other fees over more properties. However, Appleton-Young says neighborhood opposition to higher densities and a flood of construction-defect lawsuits have made it difficult for builders to take on townhome and condominium projects.
Legislative Leaders Push Measure to Boost Suburban Home Building
Massachusetts lawmakers hope to ease the state's housing shortage by amending an anti-snob zoning law that governs growth in towns where affordable units account for less than 10% of the residential property stock. The law requires 10% of a development's units to be set aside for low- to moderate-income families, and the new bill would make it easier for towns to meet this threshold by allowing them to artificially double the number of units per development. They also would have control over the number and size of building applications and be given incentives for approving and producing more affordable housing projects. According to Sen. Harriette Chandler, 30,000 new housing units must be built statewide in order to meet demand.
The Ultimate Vacation (...Is Closer Than You Think)
Since the terrorist attacks in 2001, scores of home owners have put off traveling and spent a substantial amount of money upgrading their residences instead. Joseph St. Jean Jr., chief architect at Ohio-based Scholz Design, says today's home owners and buyers want home theaters, indoor swimming pools, fitness and game rooms, spacious master suites, second-floor laundry rooms and safe rooms to take cover in the event of an emergency. According to St. Jean, the nesting instinct is apparent in home owners of all ages as they look to spend time close to home with their families and friends.
Fireplaces Warm Homes, Hearts, Add Value
NAHB's Gopal Ahluwalia says fireplaces are the most popular amenity among new-home buyers, and recent research by the group reveals that 60% of newly built dwellings have them. Traditional wood-burning versions are preferred by many for their appearance and smell, but an increasing number of home owners are opting for gas fireplaces because they are cleaner and easier to maintain. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency that blames wood fireplaces for releasing carbon monoxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere and causing respiratory problems in some people also has prompted many to choose gas. Today's gas fireplaces can be controlled by remote, with flame and heat settings, sound effects and incense to mimic wood fireplaces. While fireplaces once were relegated to the family room, home owners now want them in their master bedrooms and living rooms as well. See-through fireplaces that join the family room and kitchen or the master bedroom and bathroom also are gaining in popularity.
Five Shots Toward the Future
The evolution of golf as a sport is changing the design of golf-course communities. Technological advancements are helping golfers hit balls farther than before, increasing the demand for longer courses. Meanwhile, golfers are practicing longer and want practice facilities that go beyond a basic driving range and a couple of putting greens. Builders are now incorporating fairways, chipping greens and bunkers into practice courses; and many offer air-conditioned facilities with video capabilities so golfers can analyze and improve their games. The concept of core golf also is taking hold, meaning that homes and infrastructure must be as far away from the course as possible. Core golf allows builders to pay more attention to the environment and provide infrastructure- and chemical-free areas to protect wildlife and the water supply. Finally, new golf-course communities feature even more amenities for home owners who do not golf, ranging from fitness centers and salons to amphitheaters and butterfly gardens.
Hardwood in a Hurry
While other tropical hardwoods can take hundreds of years to mature, Lyptus is ready for harvesting in a mere 15 years. A cross between two eucalyptus species, Lyptus looks and feels like mahogany or cherry. Just like those woods, it can be used in a number of interior applications, such as flooring or fine furniture. Although it generally is just as costly as other exotic woods, it is not as ecologically damaging. The material is deemed environmentally responsible by the International Organization for Standardization.
Six Simple Ways to Cut Your Printing Costs
Close to $60 billion is spent each year on printer supplies, but there are a number of things companies can do to cut printing costs. The most cost-effective printers are ones that allow users to adjust the toner level and print on both sides of the paper. Companies can also save money by purchasing a laser printer, which costs about 15 cents less per page than an ink jet printer. They might even want to choose a multi-function printer — with print, fax, scan, e-mail and copy capabilities in a single machine — to simultaneously reduce costs and boost productivity.
The Wireless Office
Wireless networking makes it easier for employees to stay connected to the office network, adding flexibility and lowering costs. LAN nodes are relatively easy to install and can be inexpensive. Notebook PCs equipped with Wi-Fi antennas can link with wireless "hot spots" connected to the Internet, and this can be used within an office, connecting an office without using wires. Most business notebooks come with Wi-Fi installed or offer it as an inexpensive option, and it can be added to desktop PCs and some peripherals. Wi-Fi is fast and the new 802.11g standard has 256-bit encryption.
Don't Neglect Records Management
New businesses often give little thought to records management, but the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has helped to reinforce the importance of establishing good records management programs. Although companies have to deal with more than paper documents these days, they are encouraged to embrace electronic records from e-mail messages to electronic documents created with word processing, database, spreadsheet or other computer programs. Going electronic helps boost staff productivity because electronic records are easier and quicker to access, people can work on records at the same time, records can be captured or created in many places for central processing and made available online or on other networks, and backup records can be created as a business continuation strategy in the event of disasters or terrorism. Business leaders should consider the best practices in computer information systems, computer uses and record management applications within their industries and professions. Small and midsize organizations should start a records management program by surveying their current records management situation; gaining the backing of owners, executives and managers for an organization-wide effort; designating a records manager; creating a senior-level records management strategic planning group; and selecting records coordinators from each department. Organizations also must inventory all records, develop a legal records retention schedule, establish a standing records management committee and then follow through with the implementation of the records management program.
District Court for Idaho Rejects Habitat Designation for Salmon in Pacific Northwest
Federal regulators have been sent back to the drawing board to develop a new designation for essential fish habitat in the Pacific Northwest so that, as required under the law, they can include the participation of home builders and other affected groups in the process.
The ruling affects essential fish habitat designations for all salmon species in the Pacific Fish Management Plan, which covers Washington, Idaho, Oregon and northern California.
As part of a coalition including several Pacific Northwest municipalities and forest industry trade associations, NAHB was a plaintiff in the case, Idaho County v. Evans.
“This is a common-sense ruling from the court that makes the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) play by the rules,” said NAHB President Kent Conine.
The courts have consistently ruled, he said, that the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service “cannot just make habitat designations without basing them on sound science and providing an appropriate time for comment from affected groups.”
The Fisheries Service must now submit its habitat designation for the salmon to notice and comment. Until a new rule is in place, there is no essential fish habitat in effect for salmon in the Pacific Northwest states, and no salmon-related consultations on habitat can proceed.
Builders and developers will not be required to undergo a consultation with NMFS when seeking a federal permit, such as a wetlands permit from the Corps of Engineers, until a new habitat designation for salmon is completed.
In its decision, the court said that the essential fish habitat designation “has a significant effect in determining when consultation is required and a future effect designed to interpret the consultation policy.”
NAHB and the other plaintiffs, the court ruled, “were entitled by law to a further opportunity to comment and participate in the regulation setting forth” the designation for the salmon.
The Fisheries Service can appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit, in which case it would have 60 days from the announcement of the ruling to do so, unless it seeks an extension.
For more information, e-mail Duane Desiderio or call him at 800-368-5242 x8146.
In a fairly quiet week for the economy, mortgage interest rates remained virtually unchanged last Thursday from the prior week. Freddie Mac reported that 30-year, fixed-rate loans remained at 6.05%. Mortgage rates are expected to vacillate within a narrow range for the next several months and the prime rate should remain at 4%. From a trouble spot for home builders, the news was reassuring last week: the costs of framing lumber, plywood and Oriented Strand Board all continued to head in the downward direction. Falling to $319 per 1,000 board from $323 the prior week, framing lumber is not problematic for the industry. Mill prices for 15/32-inch 3-ply CDX Southern Westside plywood fell $10 to $535 per 1,000 square feet and OSB remained unchanged at $465. The latter was only $162 a year earlier. So while prices may have leveled off, builders are going to have to hear a lot more good news before prices are even close to the levels at which the industry would like to see them.
Mortgage Interest Rates
30 Year Fixed Rate: 6.05\%
Housing Starts: Sep. 2003
Total: 1.89 million\%
New Home Sales: Aug. 2003 *
Existing Home Sales: Aug. 2003 *
* Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate
Class Action Bill Fails Crucial Senate Vote
By the slimmest of margins, the Senate last week failed to take up a measure supported by NAHB that would make it easier for class action lawsuits to be heard in federal courts.
S. 1751, the “Class Action Fairness Act of 2003,” fell short by one vote on a procedural cloture motion that requires 60 votes in order to limit further debate and stop a filibuster. Fifty-nine senators voted in favor while 39 opposed the motion to limit debate.
While proponents of the bill had a confirmed 57 votes in favor of the legislation, several Democratic senators, who may have supported the bill under different circumstances, chose to vote against the cloture motion. Their vote was a protest against the decision by the Republican majority to exclude Democrats from negotiations on other important legislative decisions, such as the energy bill and Medicare drug legislation.
The Senate tort reform bill would have allowed most class action lawsuits with at least $5 million at stake and at least 100 plaintiffs, in which fewer than two-thirds of the plaintiffs are residents of the same state, to be transferred from state to federal courts.
Prior to last week’s Senate vote, NAHB sent a letter to all Senate members seeking their support of the measure, noting that the bill would discourage forum shopping, protect defendants from undue pressure to settle and ensure protection for plaintiffs.
The House passed its version of the bill this summer, but it is not clear if the Senate will readdress the issue before the end of this session of Congress.
Housing Expected to Remain Vigorous as Economy Enters Period of Sustained Growth
This year’s second half is finally delivering the strong resurgence in economic growth that economists had been predicting for each of the past two years, according to panelists at NAHB’s Construction Forecast Conference at the National Housing Center in Washington, DC.
And while housing activity, which has risen to stellar levels in recent months, is now poised to start slowing down, analysts at the day-long conference were confident that the industry’s performance will remain “vigorous” in the year ahead.
“The general public doesn’t really think we’re in a recovery because of the job market,” which until September had been steadily shedding jobs since the official end of the recession in November of 2001, said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders.
But few doubts should remain after the Commerce Department at the end of this week announces Gross Domestic Product numbers for the third quarter. Seiders, along with other speakers, expected to hear that the GDP grew by about 6.5% in the July-September period.
Growth will then top 4% in the final quarter of 2003, Seiders said, and hold around that pace throughout 2004.
“Prepare for a liftoff,” advised Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC. The economy is seeing the fastest growth rates “right now” because “the most energy is required in the boost phase,” he said. But even as growth trails off from its initial spurt, the economy should keep on growing in the 4.25%-4.5% all of next year.
Both fiscal and monetary policies are in “perfect” alignment, Prakken said, for a “crescendo” of stimulus, which is an extremely rare occurrence since the two are usually in conflict.
During next year, “as stimulus fades, the rest of the economy will step up and take over,” he said, noting that “it’s the private sector that makes the economy go.”
Factors that will keep the economy perking, according to Prakken, include: stock market gains, a global economic recovery, the increasing competitiveness of U.S. exports from a weakening dollar, production increases following the leanest business inventories ever, a gradual correction of shortages of computer equipment and software and the continuation of “gaudy” acceleration in productivity growth.
“Business spending is picking up gradually, and we are finally getting some support on capital spending, which has been the missing piece of the puzzle,” noted Mike Moran, chief economist for Daiwa Securities America Inc.
Long-term mortgage interest rates, which are currently just above 6%, “are not all that high” Moran said, despite upward momentum since mid-summer. And even if they rose to 7% next year, which would be at the high end of the forecasts offered at the conference, “they would still be at the low end of the range prevailing over the past several years.”
The consensus of panelists was that the Federal Reserve would not move to increase interest rates until it becomes more apparent that the economy is in no danger of entering a deflationary phase and that there is less slack in the economy. That probably won’t happen until late next year or even early in 2005.
Moran said that unemployment is headed down from its current level, about 6.1%, but the descent will be slow because there will be several more quarters of strong productivity growth and a lot of people who dropped out of the job market will start coming back as the economy improves.
Prakken predicted that the unemployment rate would fall to 5.5% by the end of 2004.
Although a relatively bleak employment picture in recent times would suggest that there shouldn’t have been as much demand for housing as there actually has been, Moran said that “there is a wider market than in the past” because the housing market “has been opened up to segments that have never participated in the market before.”
“Housing prices have held up well,” he added, “and we haven’t had the meltdown in prices that many people were looking for.” And as a result, “more people will be leaning to real estate investment.”
Mitigating against the modest climb in mortgage rates likely next year, Moran said, is the fact that the housing industry has become less interest-rate sensitive.
Home buyers have the option of financing their homes with lower-priced adjustable rate mortgages, he said. Also, they are less averse to buying a home with a higher mortgage rate because they know that when interest rates decline they can go in and refinance inexpensively and easily.
NAHB is forecasting that housing starts will decline from 1.786 million this year to 1.7 million in 2004.
The semi-annual Construction Forecast Conference is sponsored by the National Council of the Housing Industry — the Supplier 100 of NAHB.
Photos by Morris Semiatin
Residential Financing Needs to Grow Rapidly in the Next 10 Years
The nation’s secondary mortgage market and its access to global capital markets will become increasingly important over the next 10 years in order to meet the growing financing needs of U.S. home buyers and owners, according to Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft, who addressed the NAHB Construction Forecast Conference in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday.
“Over the next decade, we expect approximately $22 trillion in mortgage originations,” Nothaft said. That amount, which includes refinancing, will finance about 115 million homes and 65 million home purchases.
Nothaft said that residential mortgage debt outstanding is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8% through 2013, when it will total about $17 trillion, more than double its current $7 trillion.
The most significant factor behind the growing need for housing finance will be average annual price appreciation of 4.7%, he predicted, which is comparable to the 4.8% average rate of increase in home prices since 1950.
He also predicted that the nation’s homeownership rate would grow by 0.5% a year, reaching 70% by 2010, as baby boomers enter the peak home buying age-cohorts of 55-64 and 65 and older and as minority households continue to catch up with their white counterparts, helped in part by new technology.
Automated underwriting systems are expanding the borrower pool, to the benefit of minority first-time buyers, and wringing out unnecessary costs, he said, citing the availability of 97% mortgages for creditworthy borrowers.
One-third of Freddie Mac’s corporate debt is held by foreign investors, Nothaft said, and it is even using Euro-denominated bonds to expand in this market.
Photo by Morris Semiatin
Long-Term Outlook for Home Prices Looks Favorable
Telltale signs of an imminent bust in the nation’s housing prices are nowhere in evidence, Michael Fratantoni, director of economic and policy research in Fannie Mae’s Regulatory Policy Division, told the NAHB Construction Forecast Conference in Washington, D.C. last week.
But that’s not surprising, considering that prices have never declined nationally over the past 30 years, and the Great Depression of the 1930s is probably the only time in the last century when they may have, according to Fratantoni.
He suggested that people who are worried about possible bubbles in their local housing markets take a look at the oil patch states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas during the mid- to late-1980s when oil prices were plunging and Hawaii a decade later when Japanese investors were pulling up stakes.
In both cases, declining housing prices were precipitated by a declining economy and significant layoffs and population losses. House prices dropped, he said, because “more people were selling than buying.”
Fratantoni said that Fannie Mae is forecasting that at the national level prices on single-family homes will grow annually at a 5% pace between 2003 and 2013.
If unsold inventories of homes were rising across the country and prices were surging, then that might be something to be concerned about, he said.
But inventory levels “have been declining over a period of record gains in home prices,” he said, and there is “evidence of constrained supply” that is expected to persist.
In booming markets “you would expect a more robust supply response,” Fratantoni said. “Instead, the supply response is largely muted.” Restrictive land use policies are undoubtedly part of the problem, especially on the East and West Coasts.
And the rate of home price appreciation “is slowly ramping down,” he said.
Photo by Morris Semiatin
Eye on the Economy
David F. Seiders, NAHB Chief Economist
Today [Oct. 22] I hosted NAHB’s semiannual Construction Forecast Conference at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. This column portrays the consensus reached on the major agenda items.
Three NAHB economists (including yours truly) and seven top-flight analysts from the consulting industry, Wall Street and the housing GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) reached solid consensus on several fronts: the short-term economic and housing outlook, including regional patterns; the long-term outlook for housing production, home prices and mortgage finance; and recent patterns of consolidation in the home building industry as well as likely trends for the future.
The near-term outlook is quite good for the U.S. economy and the housing sector…
It’s perfectly clear that economic growth has been accelerating sharply since June, and forecasts of GDP growth for the second half of 2003 and for 2004 are quite strong. While productivity growth will remain robust, the strength of spending and output will generate systematic job growth and lower the unemployment rate before long. The strength of aggregate demand is being supported by highly stimulative monetary and fiscal policies.
The housing sector will do quite well through 2004 in the economic and financial market climate portrayed in the consensus outlook. There will be some fading of home sales and housing starts as interest rates gravitate upward in 2004, but sales for the year are likely to be the second highest on record and total housing starts are likely to be around 1.7 million units — off only 5% from 2003’s surging pace. Conventionally built single-family units will continue to account for about 80% of all new housing units produced, while the multifamily market will soften and shipments of manufactured homes will stage only a minor recovery from the historic lows of 2003.
Job growth and migration are critical to the health of regional, state and metro housing markets …
As interest rates move up from their cyclical lows, housing markets will be increasingly dependent on job growth and net migration to fuel the demand for housing units and to support home prices. Net foreign immigration is highly important to various “gateway” metro areas and states, while net domestic migration is a powerful force behind the geographic distribution of national housing activity. Turnover can cause a housing market to be “active,” even if the net change in the number of households is small.
Most states (43) are likely to experience some decline in single-family starts in 2004, with relatively large declines concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast regions. Forty states should experience setbacks in multifamily starts, largely in the Northwest and Mountain states. Housing intensity (total starts per 1,000 population) should range between two and 19, with the highest intensity in the Southeast and Mountain states and the lowest intensity concentrated in the Northeast region.
The long-term housing outlook is very good or great, depending on the path of foreign immigration …
Forecasts of the demand for new housing units over the next 10 years are based on estimates of household formations, housing replacement needs and housing vacancies (including second homes). While all these factors are subject to uncertainties, the greatest uncertainty surrounds the path of net foreign immigration. This factor was seriously underestimated by the Census Bureau in the 1990s, and net immigration apparently is running above Census expectations for the early years of this decade.
The Census Bureau’s “middle series” population projection supports a forecast of 1.82 million housing units (on average) for the next 10 years, while the “high series” (incorporating a larger immigration number) supports a forecast of 2.1 million per year. Something on the order of 1.9 million seems quite reasonable, and that performance would outpace both the 1980s and 1990s.
House price and mortgage financing trends also are quite positive …
The projected strength of demand for single-family homes, along with constraints on new supply stemming from the proliferation of land-use regulations around the country, should keep house prices rising at a 5%-6% annual rate over the next 10 years, delivering average “real” (inflation adjusted) gains of 3%-4%.
The forecasts for single-family home sales and housing production, along with the forecasts for home price appreciation and borrowing against housing equity, support a forecast of $22 trillion in mortgage originations during the next 10 years, compared with $13 trillion during the past 10 years. In the process, residential mortgage debt outstanding will more than double to $17 trillion. This volume accentuates the need for a broad range of mortgage investors as well as a strong secondary mortgage market.
Consolidation of home building industry raises questions about the future of small builders…
The market share of the top 10 home builders has more than doubled since the late 1980s and now exceeds 20%. The upward trend of mergers and acquisitions has accelerated recently and is likely to continue for some time. The top 10 builders are likely to account for 35%-40% of the for-sale single-family market within 10 years. A merger of two of the top five companies could produce a mega-builder producing upwards of 100,000 units per year.
The various market advantages of large builders — including large land holdings and cost advantages in the markets for financing and building materials — may make the future of the small home builder dependent upon success in niches such as custom homes and small in-fill developments.
NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders analyzes the economy from the point of view of the housing market every other week in the free e-newsletter, “Eye on the Economy.” The preceding is a reissue of his Oct. 22 edition. To subcribe to “Eye on the Economy,” click here. Want more economic information? Find it in our publications. Find more in-depth information in our three economics publications, Home Builders Forecast, Housing Market Statistics and Housing Economics. All are availaible by subscription. To learn more or to order any of these three NAHB economic publications, visit the Economics Publications Information section of the NAHB Web site or call 800-223-2665.
NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders analyzes the economy from the point of view of the housing market every other week in the free e-newsletter, “Eye on the Economy.” The preceding is a reissue of his Oct. 22 edition. To subcribe to “Eye on the Economy,” click here.
Want more economic information? Find it in our publications.
Find more in-depth information in our three economics publications, Home Builders Forecast, Housing Market Statistics and Housing Economics. All are availaible by subscription.
To learn more or to order any of these three NAHB economic publications, visit the Economics Publications Information section of the NAHB Web site or call 800-223-2665.
Remodeling Outlook Bullish Despite Mortgage Refinancing Slowdown
The nation’s remodeling industry is not expected to run out of steam any time soon, even as factors that have given a boost to owners’ expenditures on their homes begin to fade, according to economists speaking at the Remodelers’ Show in Baltimore last week.
Very low mortgage interest rates and record mortgage refinancings that enabled home owners to cash out some of their equity provided “unique circumstances” bolstering the remodeling industry earlier this year, said Kermit Baker, director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies' Remodeling Futures Program.
The annual pace of spending on home improvements rose to $125.2 billion in the Joint Center’s Remodeling Activity Indicator (RAI) for this year’s third quarter, said Baker, a 6.6% increase from the same quarter a year earlier.
Baker cited research by the Federal Reserve finding that over one-third of the cash taken out of homes from refinancing has been plowed back into home improvements, which would be adding up to $20 billion a year to remodeling.
But with mortgage rates ratcheting up from their 45-year lows of early summer and refinancings falling back into a more normal range, “we now have to drive this market the old-fashioned way,” said Baker, through increases in personal income and jobs, both of which seem to be in the cards heading into next year.
The remodeling industry has “good solid momentum to drive on fundamentals,” he noted, and in the meantime the stimulative effects of the cash-outs taken in recent months won’t fizzle out overnight.
One trend in the industry worth noting, Baker said, is “growth focusing on upper-end projects in upper-end homes.”
In 1993-1995, 39.6% of the spending on improvements occurred in homes valued at less than $100,000 and 18.2% was in homes worth more than $250,000, he said. By 2000-2002 those shares had reversed: 20.7% of improvements were in the lower-priced category and 35.6% occurred in the most expensive group.
The continuation of this trend will depend upon house appreciation, which appears to be settling in at a slower rate of increase than the galloping increases characteristic of recent years, and as cash-out financings slow, the disparity between the upper end and the bottom of the market will probably “close a bit,” he predicted.
David Seiders, chief economist of NAHB, added that even as the re-fi market is “losing tremendous momentum,” home owners will still be able to get at their equity at relatively low interest rates, which are typically priced at 1% over the prime rate. The prime rate is currently 4% and expected to remain at that level for most of next year.
Seiders predicted that annual home price appreciation will hold in the 5% range and that “we will continue to see strong price increases in home owner equity” even as home owners continue to borrow against it.
Weakness in the remodeling market will be focused on the multifamily side, Seiders said.
Multifamily accounted for about 30% of total remodeling activity last year, but that share will be “edging down over time.”
The Joint Center’s RAI is published during the third week after the close of each business quarter, a full two quarters before the U.S. Commerce Department’s data on residential improvements and repairs becomes available.
BuilderBooks.com Offers Publications About Remodeling
University of Housing Offers Courses and Designation Programs
The NAHB University of Housing offers a variety of business management courses and professional designation programs that set builders and remodelers apart from the competition. For a complete list of current offerings, click here.
'PREP: Your First Step to CGR' offered at IBS
PREP is your first step to becoming a Certified Graduate Remodelor™ (CGR). For more information on PREP offerings at IBS, January 18 and 22, in Las Vegas, click here.
Recover Costs and Lost Time by Taking Control of Your Change Order System
We thought our company’s change order system was functioning smoothly — until we had a job with more than 90 change orders. The changes totaled more than 15% of the initial budget and cost us three months of extended job time.
That job taught us a lot about managing clients and changes. For one thing, we’ve learned to allow for twice as many changes as usual when clients say they won’t make any. We also realized we had to alter our change order system to recover the costs of each change and lost time.
Some builders use change orders to cover for poor estimates or to punish clients for late decisions or last-minute modifications. But if you consider change orders an integral part of estimating and project management and take the time to explain to clients how they work, you’ll eliminate confusion, have happier clients and recognize greater profits.
Successful change order management depends on three key components: setup, prompt notification and signed acceptance. Here’s how to incorporate them into your systems:
John Barrows is president of J. Barrows Inc.,a Wainscot, NY-based custom home building and remodeling company, and is a member of NAHB’s Business Management and Information Technology Committee.
BuilderBooks.com Offers 'Home Builder Contracts and Management Forms on Disk'
If you need help developing change order documents or just want a few more ideas, pick up a copy of "Home Builder Contracts and Management Forms on Disk." This book comes with a CD of 93 essential electronic forms and contracts you can easily adapt for your business.To view or purchase this publication, click here, or call 800-223-2665 to order.
Want More Information About Effectively Managing Your Business?
NAHB’s Business Management Department offers a variety of online resources to help you run your business better and more profitably. Click Business Management Tools for articles about human resources, financial management, sales, production, technology, customer service and other business-related topics. In addition, visit the NAHB Software Users Network Discussion Forum (SUN) to ask technology consultants and other builders what they think of various software packages and applications.
Subscribe to NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source
NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source is your monthly electronic guide to the hot issues and emerging trends in home building business management. You’ll find practical advice, tricks of the trade and sound business guidance — all delivered monthly, straight to your desktop, in a quick and easy-to-read format. Business of Building e/Source is available free to NAHB members and their employees. To subscribe, click here on the members only side of www.nahb.org.
University of Housing Offers Courses on Business Management
The NAHB University of Housing offers courses on business management, estimating and on-site and off-site project management designed to help builders improve their business and profitability. For a list of current offerings, click here.
Low-Income Housing Project Promotes Low Impact Development
The Citizens Housing Corporation, working with the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), recently broke ground on a 98-unit supportive housing development in the South of Market district of San Francisco that will be built using low impact development practices and advanced housing technologies.
The studios and one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 500 to 800 square feet will provide affordable housing for low-income families and are scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2005.
Using various technological, land planning and design practices, low impact development (LID) conserves and protects natural resources and reduces infrastructure costs.
Released in July by PATH and HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, “The Practice of Low Impact Development,” says that LID is best suited for new, suburban development and provides developers with a way of responding to increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
Key recommendations for LID contained in the report include:
The San Francisco project will include a number of innovations from the PATH Technology Inventory: high efficiency HVAC systems, universal design kitchens and bathrooms, deconstruction, construction waste management, CFLs, structured wiring systems, insulated headers, fly ash concrete, linoleum, recycled content carpet, low- or no-VOC paints, low-flow plumbing fixtures, drainwater heat recovery, latex foam sealant and no-formaldehyde fiberglass insulation.
Citizen Housing Corporation’s development portfolio currently includes more than 2,000 units throughout California. Over 90% of that housing is affordable to low-income seniors and families earning $12,000-$30,000.
Low-Maintenance Steel Home in Simi Valley Fights Bacteria
A new steel concept home completed earlier this month on a Simi Valley hillside northwest of Los Angeles fights germs while demonstrating the advantages of steel in residential construction.
The 11,000-square-foot home contains about 200,000 pounds of steel, including 35,000 pounds coated with the anti-germ compound, AgION™, which is incorporated into an epoxy- or polyester-based pigmented paint system that can be applied to steel coils in a range of materials and products.
Among the features of the showcase home:
New Director to Bolster Research Center’s Housing Assessment Capabilities
With an eye on expanding its role as a leader in building technology consulting to the U.S. military and to enhance its overall housing assessment capabilities, the NAHB Research Center last week announced that Jess Gatlin, U.S. Army (Ret.) will be directing the center’s housing programs division.
Gatlin has held several high-level military and civilian posts in the field of housing and construction.
He served as facilities manager for 85 application support centers across the country for the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. In this capacity, he managed the construction and remodeling of the centers and designed all site construction projects.
As Commander of the Oahu (Hawaii) Consolidated Family Housing Office, Gatlin served as CEO of the largest housing management operation for the U.S. Department of Defense. As command engineer in Honolulu, he was responsible for all engineering activities in support of U.S. Army forces throughout the Pacific, including Hawaii, Japan and Alaska.
In other positions, at the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he ran the crisis management center for recovery operations during Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki and Typhoon Omar.
As director of operations for the Defense Reconstruction Assistance Office in Kuwait City, he managed reconstruction efforts following the Gulf War.
ASHRAE Rejects All Appeals on Residential Ventilation Standard
On Oct. 4 in Atlanta, the Appeals Panel of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) heard and rejected all appeals of its decision to publish its new residential ventilation standard 62.2.
Appeals were filed by NAHB, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the American Gas Association (AGA), the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Rodney Lewis, an ASHRAE Fellow and long-time ASHRAE member from Texas.
The ASHRAE board's Policy Committee for Standards approved the appeals panel's thumbs-down decision on the following day.
The entire ASHRAE board now has to act on the appeals. If it concurs with the decision to reject the appeals, it will then send its findings to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and ask for accreditation of the standard.
This would give critics of the standard the opportunity to appeal to ANSI and ask that organization to address procedural violations they believe occurred during ASHRAE's adoption of the standard and to seek new public approvals before it can be accredited.
AGA, GAMA, NAHB and possibly AHAM plan to appeal to ANSI if that becomes necessary.
The Appeals Panel gave appellants 10 minutes to testify. This was followed by up to 10 minutes of questions to the appellant from panel members, a 10 minute rebuttal from the committee chairman and 10 minutes of follow-up questions to the chairman from panelists. Unlike the building code hearing process, there was no opportunity for appellants to rebut the chairman or for the chairman to provide re-rebuttal.
NAHB testified that the standard would increase costs to home buyers by $735-$1,041 per house; plus $350 more for installing open vents or supply fans in furnace rooms and retesting if a house fails the induced backdrafting test; and up to $3,000 to dehumidify outdoor air in hot, humid climates. These costs were explained in detail in the NAHB appeal.
The chairman said that the cost of compliance would be $100. He provided no cost details and NAHB had no opportunity to rebut his testimony.
AHAM argued that sound ratings should not be required on ventilation fans in an indoor air quality standard; that allowing the user to certify to any sound rating standard is unenforceable; and that there is no technical basis for setting a three-sone limit and exempting fans over 400 cubic feet per minute.
AGA argued that the backdraft test required by the standard for gas and oil appliances conflicts with NFPA 54, the National Fuel Gas Code. The standard references a test in NFPA 54 that is not required, but deletes portions of it and makes it mandatory.
GAMA argued that backdraft testing should be removed from Section 6.4 because it is in the purview of NFPA 54, not Standard 62.2. Combustion safety, it said, is regulated by the codes and should not be regulated by an indoor air quality standard.
Rodney Lewis argued that the standard violates ASHRAE membership petition procedures because no recognized authority has defined a need for continuous ventilation, identified the contaminants that need to be controlled and set limits for those contaminants. He added that the standard violates ASHRAE policy because it exceeds minimum requirements.
NAHB cited numerous substantive technical errors relating to whole-house mechanical ventilation, kitchen exhaust rate calculations, sone ratings and furnace and fireplace backdraft testing.
The panel responded that, “The appellant has not demonstrated that there is a technical flaw in the standard, and the Appeals Panel believes that due process occurred.The Appeals Panel did not see evidence that any technical arguments were not considered by the SPC [Standard Projects Committee].”
The panel also rejected NAHB procedural complaints dealing with: committee balance, making changes without public review, failing to resolve conflicting standards, failing to provide reasons for rejecting comments and mixing mandatory and non-mandatory language in the standard.
Though rejected by the ASHRAE panel, NAHB stands firm on its appeal and will carry it forward accordingly.
Should all appeals fail, the standard would still not be mandatory until building codes reference it and state and local jurisdictions adopt and enforce the code.
University of Housing Offers Building Codes and Standards Course
The University of Housing course on buiding codes and standards will help you understand the organizations that develop, revise and regulate building codes and standards. Emphasis is on plan review, permits, inspections, code enforcement, and the appeals process. For a complete list of current offerings, click here.
Establish Your Corporate Brand Identity
Multifamily builders and developers of seniors housing communities typically have a handle on the planning, construction and development of their projects and know what to do when the property is new and at its prime in terms of marketability.
But what happens in five or 10 years, when a new project is built around the corner and the community is no longer the exciting prospect it once was? Do you have a long-term plan that can sustain a profitable occupancy rate through these more competitive times? And do your marketing plans take advantage of the one thing that is even more important than the property — you, the builder or developer?Separating the Developer from the Development
In establishing brand identity, the first big step is to realize that your brand is not the project, but the manufacturer behind it.
Consider the automobile, where there’s a clear distinction between the make and the model. The Mercedes-Benz, for example, is synonymous with luxury and quality, so much so that many people are lured more to the brand, than to any particular model.
That’s the kind of market position for which any multifamily builder or developer should strive. You’re in the driver’s seat when consumers automatically recognize your company and seek it out for the admirable qualities they associate with its brand.Brand Awareness Over Product Awareness
While all buildings grow older, the qualities associated with your brand can remain timeless. As you establish a stronger brand identity, the perceived value of your homes will grow with it.
A recognizable brand can help ensure successful development at new locations. A brand that’s admired and respected can provide leverage when it’s time to present a new project to a city council or clear your plans through a zoning board. And brand building can be a foundation for a company that wants to expand its vision.
Here are a few important steps designed to help you develop a long-term success strategy through corporate branding
Everybody may say it, but when a company means it, it makes a real difference. Shea Financial Services, the largest privately held real-estate development company in the country, presents a key brand message of caring, and it stands behind that message 100%. The results speak for themselves: in a non-commissioned, independent survey of 88 top U.S. builders, Shea swept the field, taking first place in each of the six categories it represents.
Saying you care may not be worth the paper it’s written on, but judging by Shea’s success, truly caring yields results you can take to the bank. And the 50+ market is the target audience that misses this kind of personal attention the most. These old consumers grew up in an era before receptionists became recorded announcements and bank tellers were replaced by machines that spit out $20 bills. Now that they’re getting older and many feel that society has forgotten them, they simply want to know that somebody cares.
Developing an emotional bond with consumers is more than something to feel good about. It is a sustainable business model to reduce turnover. Additionally, prospects who want to know what it’s like to live there will discover a community that looks after its tenants, which will result in a higher rate of occupancy.
A community that people actually look forward to joining is one that can open a new chapter in the lives of seniors. The formula is simple: create an emotional bond based on responsive service inside the community, and balance it with well-branded marketing on the outside. Your reputation then creates what’s known as a “halo effect,” which compels people to seek out your brand.How to Market and Manage Your Brand
Establishing a brand identity isn’t nearly enough. The developer needs to create a marketing approach to make it work, not to mention create a system to manage the brand:
How you present your multifamily community can be just as important as what it actually is. People are very perceptive and know they can judge a book by its cover, because the outside tells a lot about what’s inside. That’s why a comprehensive marketing strategy is so important: it’s the first face people see, and people get a feeling about you from that very first impression. When you promote the developer as much as the development, you begin to lure consumers with your brand as much as your properties. One look at any of today’s great brands shows how desirable products and powerful marketing feed off the energy of one another. Applying this proven formula to multifamily housing is just another success story waiting to be written.
This article appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Seniors’ Housing News. Melinda Mullis is creative director and principal for the Danhausen Group, an Aliso Viejo, CA-based full-service marketing and communications company. Mullis is a 17-year veteran in marketing and advertising who has represented clients from across the country and as far away as Hong Kong and Tokyo. Mullis founded the Danhausen Group in 1987, providing services ranging from strategic research to corporate branding. She can be reached at 949-215-1242 or Melinda@danhausen.com.
Enter Your Design in Seniors Housing Awards Competition
If you have an innovative design for active adult and seniors communities, enter the 2004 Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards competition. Click here to view the call for entries brochure, or e-mail Eucklan Matthews or call 800-368-5242 x8220. The deadline for entries is Nov. 13.
Learn More About Seniors Housing Through the Seniors Housing Council
To learn more about seniors housing or boomers, join the NAHB Seniors Housing Council. The council provides information, education, networking and recognition opportunities for its members and represents NAHB on seniors housing issues. For more details, e-mail Jeff Jenkins or call him at 800-368-5242 x8292.
BuilderBooks.com Has Publications About Seniors Housing
2004 Seniors Housing Symposium
To learn more about the seniors housing market, plan to attend Building for Boomers & Beyond: Seniors Housing Symposium 2004 in Chicago from April 14-16, 2004. The symposium will focus on the lifestyle component of 50+ seniors housing.
Design Awards Bring Increased Credibility, More Sales to Winner
Mark Hughes, an NAHB builder member, says that his company has parlayed its success in an NAHB awards program into more home sales and greater credibility in the Arizona marketplace.
Earlier this year, Hughes’ company, Mesa, AZ-based Hughes Development, earned several honors in the 2003 Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards program, a program sponsored by the NAHB Seniors Housing Council that recognizes architectural and interior designs that have brought quality, innovation and spirit to the 55+ seniors housing industry.
The company’s Vistoso Village, a gated active adult community in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley, earned two awards — one for overall community design, the other for the design of its clubhouse/community center. The awards were presented at this year’s International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
Hughes wasted little time integrating the awards into the overall marketing strategy for Vistoso Village. “Quality design is so important to today’s active adult buyers,” Hughes explains.
He took every opportunity to brand Vistoso Village an award-winning community. “We put a blue ribbon with the Design Awards on the home page of our Web site, in all of our advertisements and on our on-site flyers,” Hughes says. “We wanted to show prospects that they were buying into a community that was innovative and represented the next generation of design.”
Hughes cannot pinpoint exactly how many actual sales are directly linked to the awards, but he notes that the accolades definitely helped. He already has sold 243 of Vistoso Villages’ 263 homes.
“Our sales have been brisk — we only have about 20 left,” Hughes says. “On top of that, our home prices have steadily gone up.” When sales began in early 1999, home prices were in the $150,000s. They are now in the low $200,000s.
Hughes says the Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards is one of the many outstanding programs offered by the NAHB Seniors Housing Council. The Council offers numerous networking opportunities and the latest information on the growing 50+ market through publications like Seniors’ Housing News magazine and the Council’s Seniors Housing e/Source newsletter and events such as Building for Boomers & Beyond: Seniors Housing Symposium.
He recommends that members join the Seniors Housing Council if they are actively involved in, or even interested in, the 50+ market. He also thinks it wouldn’t hurt to enter a design or two in the Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards program.
“I definitely recommend entering,” Hughes says. “It worked out well for us.”
MBNA Offers No Annual Fee NAHB Credit Card
For more information about this benefit, e-mail Rand Cheadle, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8430.
Go to www.nahb.org to explore the many advantages of membership in your local, state and national home builders association.
HBI Trustees Participate in Industry’s First International Youth-Building Congress
Home Builders Institute (HBI) trustees Jim Sattler, of Cedar Rapids, IA, and Jerry Strebel, of Nashville, represented the nation’s home building industry at the First International Youthbuilding Congress Oct. 13-17 in London.
Held in conjunction with “National Construction Week” in the United Kingdom, the conference brought together representatives from that country and the United States, Germany, Ireland, Finland and Japan.
Youthbuild, a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and its British counterpart, Youthbuilding, strive to engage “young people in efforts to build their skills, pursue their educational goals and transform their communities.”
Participating on a panel with representatives of the Federation of Master Builders and the Construction Industry Training Board, the two HBI trustees found that the housing industries in both the U.S. and U.K. share one top concern — labor shortages.
“The parallels between us are uncanny,” said Sattler, “We realized that attracting and keeping young people in construction is a common challenge and one that we are all working hard to overcome.”
Offering an overview of the strength and breadth of the home building industry in the U.S., the trustees also discussed HBI’s youth training efforts through its longtime partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps, and the development of its award-winning initiative, Project CRAFT.
Currently operating in Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Tennessee, Project CRAFT is a skills training and job placement program for juvenile and youthful offenders.
Delegates to the conference included representatives from several sponsoring organizations such as, Carillion, a major construction firm in the U.K., Youthbuilding Europe, Federation of Master Builders, CITB Construction Skills and the National House Builders Council.
Plans are already underway for the Second International Youthbuilding Congress, which is scheduled for Berlin in 2005.
For more information on Project CRAFT, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI.
Awards Program to Honor HBA Efforts on Behalf of People with Disabilities
Working with the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.), NAHB will present a $1,000 cash award to a local home builders association for sponsoring an exemplary project to expand the involvement of people with disabilities in their communities.
All entries for the Disability Initiative Award must be submitted to NAHB by Friday, Nov. 21.
The winner will be notified in early December and receive the award at the Associates’ Awards Breakfast at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 20.
Founded in 1982, N.O.D. has been a leading force in changing public attitudes about the disabled and in focusing attention on their concerns. The organization’s vice chairman is Christopher Reeve.
For more information and an application form, e-mail Erika Lee or call her at 800-368-5242 x8550.
Boost Your Marketing Through These Awards Programs
Proud of your work? Show it off and give your marketing efforts a boost by entering one of these awards programs:
Calendar of Events
To view more meetings & events information on the NAHB Web site, click here.