Nation's Building News Online: October 2, 2006

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Buying in a Soft Housing Market

Ken Harney

(Editor's note: Providing encouraging information to prospective home buyers on opportunities in today’s changing housing marketplace, the following article by national syndicated columnist Ken Harney appears in the Sept. 29 issue of the NAHB consumer e-newsletter NAHB HouseKeys. It is also the latest addition to the Back to Basics toolkit materials available online to help NAHB members respond to new challenges in a slower environment for home sales. Home builders associations and home builders can reprint or link to this article to help convey to the public the message that current market conditions are favorable for buying a home.)

Everybody knows the "housing boom" is over in most parts of the country. But what does that mean for people who are thinking about buying a new home?

Is a "soft" market a good time to buy? Or is it a time when it's smarter to just sit on the sidelines, and wait and see where things are headed?

Here are some practical thoughts that you can add to your own analysis of whether to shop, buy or hibernate for awhile.

Let's look at both sides of the equation:

First, slumping real estate markets also go by another name — buyers' markets. Boom real estate periods, by contrast, tend to be known as sellers' markets because most of the advantages are with sellers, not buyers.

Unlike the boom years of 2003-2005, home sellers and home builders today no longer have the upper hand. They can't expect double-digit price increases year after year. Or long lines at sales offices or open houses. Serious buyers are fewer in number and a whole lot slower to sign on the dotted line.

Builders have to sweeten their packages of concessions in buyers' markets — offering discounts, free upgrades and other deals that they'd never consider during the boom years.

Many builders also offer discounted financing packages to make their houses more affordable in buyers' markets. Often builders have special relationships with large mortgage lenders or they own a mortgage subsidiary themselves. That puts them in the position to create cut-rate mortgage programs and even custom-tailored financing solutions for buyers that would never have been possible during the boom years.

Finally, home builders — by necessity — are now more open to negotiating specific details of transactions with serious buyers. There's no hard and fast guarantee that you'll get everything you bargain for — after all, successful negotiations require give and take on both sides. But you can be guaranteed that builders will listen and try to go the extra mile.

Now let's look at the reverse perspective.

There's no question that softening real estate markets can look a little scary. Nobody can tell you for certain where real estate prices will go in the coming year. Nobody can tell you exactly where we are in the real estate cycle. Are we close to the bottom of the post-boom correction? Or is there still a ways to go?

Most economists, along with the Federal Reserve Board, forecast that the boom cycle will be followed by a year or two of flat prices, possibly slight declines, followed by a gradual resumption of the upward cycle. We are well into that pattern right now.

Looking at the cyclical ups and downs of real estate during the past seven decades, only in markets where local unemployment rates are high or rising — and where mortgage money comes with high interest rates — do housing values suffer significantly in downturns. Otherwise, the historical pattern has been for values to flatten out or go slightly negative for short periods before rebounding and resuming their normal upward movement.

Although some local markets are facing employment problems and layoffs this year, job growth in most parts of the country is solid. Mortgage rates continue to hover just slightly above the near-record lows they reached in 2004, and are a full two percentage points below the average interest rates paid by mortgage borrowers during the past three decades.

So where does this all take us? What's the bottom line?

Any way you look at it:

  • We're in a market where buyers have the upper hand and the overall economic risks look reasonable. That was not the case just two or three years ago.

  • Mortgage money is affordable and plentiful — big plusses for buyers.

  • The best real estate bargains almost always occur in buyers' markets. Prices and terms this year may look like great deals a few years down the road.

  • If you truly want or need to buy a home, the equation is more positive than it has been in several years: lower prices, more homes to choose from and more flexible sellers.


You may want to take a cautious approach and not plunge into a purchase while the cycle is still in flux. On the other hand, you may want to lock in a low price and low mortgage rates sooner rather than later.

But either way, here is my suggestion: shop and research what's available in the communities where you seriously want to buy one day. Get a good grasp on what's selling, at what price, with what features and on what size lot.

Then, when you feel comfortable about getting into the market, you will have the knowledge to identify what is — and what isn't — a super deal for you on a new house.

For additional information on this article or NAHB HouseKeys, e-mail Niki Clark at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8061.

NAHB members can find the Back to Basics toolkit at www.nahb.org/toolkit. Members must have a login to www.nahb.org to view this product. To create a login, go to www.nahb.org/login or click on the log-in button on the main menu bar. For assistance, call the NAHB Member Service Center at 800-368-5242.

Kenneth R. Harney writes an award-winning, nationally syndicated column on real estate ("The Nation's Housing") for The Washington Post Writers Group. The weekly column currently appears in approximately 90 newspapers across the United States. Harney, who heads his own consulting firm based in Chevy Chase, Md., is also managing director of the National Real Estate Development Center, one of the country's most-active sponsors of professional education conferences for real-estate attorneys, developers, syndicators, mortgage executives and public agencies.

Play Builders' Free Online Pro Football Game. Don't Miss Out.

Don't miss another weekend of NFL games — and your chance to win prizes from HGTVPro. Sign up and play in the Builders Football League (BFL) on HTGVpro.com — the free, online pro football "pick 'em" contest with a special league for NAHB members.

Playing is free, fun and easy ― and participants have a chance to win weekly prizes or the grand prize — a Panasonic 61-inch high definition TV — at the end of the season.

How to Join and Play

  • Go to HGTVPro.com's Builders Football League to sign up.

  • Log in and join the NAHB League and use the password: BEATJERRY, or

  • Log in and join the 20 Club League (for 20 Club members only) and use the password: 20Power.

  • Pick the winning teams each week from Sunday's NFL football match-ups. Helpful "pick" tools and stats make the game fun for rookies and veterans alike.

  • Earn bonus points playing against top TV celebrities and NAHB CEO Jerry Howard (Howard is an avid Oakland Raiders fan).

  • Play against your friends, HBA colleagues and co-workers by joining the NAHB League within the BFL.

  • Keep track of your prowess.


To join the Builders Football League and begin picking winners, click here.

For more information, go to www.nahb.org/bfl.

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Forward this issue to your employees and trade partners and ask them to subscribe.

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Downswing Will Not Drag Economy Into Recession

Looking a bit rougher than the soft landing housing analysts had been expecting, the current housing downswing is unlikely to lead to economic calamity — largely because interest rates are historically low, the overall economy still is moving ahead and builders are stepping up efforts to get their unsold inventories under control, according to economists participating in a teleconference hosted by NAHB on Sept. 27.

NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders said that he is forecasting an 11.5% decline in housing starts this year, followed by another 11.7% drop in 2007. Housing should hit bottom by the middle of next year, and will be approaching a demographically-based trend production level of about 2 million units in 2008 (including manufactured homes).

Following an unsustainable boom in housing starts, sales and price appreciation in 2004 and 2005, “we need a period of below-trend performance to work off excess inventory and improve housing affordability,” Seiders said. "Mortgage rates are dropping, builders and sellers are offering all sorts of incentives and upgrades, energy costs are retreating and the national economy is moving ahead, making it a very good time to buy a home."

Seiders said he is assuming that rates on 30-year mortgages will average about 6.5% for some time, pointing out that long-term interest rates have been “performing beautifully” since mid-year. The Federal Reserve will hold the federal funds rate at the current 5.25% into the first half of next year, he said, and probably will move it down to 5% by mid-2007.

Noting that housing is now a major source of weakness for the economy, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for Global Insight, said that the “good news is that other sectors are doing reasonably well and will continue” to do so. Corporate cash flow is at record levels, and that capital will be used to invest in equipment and structures and create some new jobs, he said.

Although a soft landing is “no longer in the cards” for housing, Behravesh said that outcome most likely awaits the U.S. economy, with the gross domestic product growing 3.4% for this year, 2.2% next year and possibly slipping below 2% for a few quarters ahead.

He agreed with other teleconference participants that a slowdown, or even a decline, in home price appreciation will reduce the wealth effects from home equity, but the impact on consumer spending and the spillover to the rest of the economy should be relatively modest.

Market Paying Price for Rapid Ascent

During the recent boom, inflation-adjusted housing prices rose to record levels, and the market is paying the price for that rapid ascent now, with “prices coming down of their own weight,” Behravesh said. The current housing downturn “was not triggered by a substantial increase in mortgage rates, which didn’t go up that much and are down now and low by historic standards, putting a floor on the housing market.”

Looking at fundamentals such as demographics and income growth, housing prices in 70 of the 300 metro areas that his company and National City Corporation survey quarterly are overvalued, Berhavesh said, by an average of 30% to 35%. Located primarily in the Northeast, Florida and California, these markets can expect to see some downward price adjustments.

In Boston, for example, prices could drop 15% over the next year or two. At the same time, such cities as Chicago or Houston, where the large run-up in home prices didn’t occur, might see continued appreciation at low levels.

Behravesh predicted that prices could drop 5% nationally over the next year. “To bring the markets back into equilibrium,” he said, “we need sluggish growth in prices for three, four, five years. We have to have home prices rising less than the rate of inflation to get things back into equilibrium. In the last boom and bust, overvalued markets generally were in the same place and it took them the better part of the decade of the 1990s to see real prices get back to levels that preceded the boom years.”

Behravesh said that housing starts will fall into the 1.5 to 1.6 million-unit range as the downturn progresses, “but nothing worse than that.” Seiders is looking for a bottom of 1.6 million in mid-2007.

Builder Adjustments, ‘Safety Nets’ Could Reverse Speculative Excesses

Jim Glassman, managing director for JPMorgan Chase, said that the current housing downswing could proceed faster than expected, and “things could bottom out faster than you see in the numbers. A rapid adjustment in prices and the rapid adjustment builders are making in production” could reverse the speculative excesses of the boom market. Annual “housing starts shouldn’t go below 1.75 million for long,” he said, “and the long-run trend for housing production is about 2 million units per year.”

Strong global economies, record levels of corporate profits in the U.S., a healthy stock market, unraveling energy prices, and falling interest rates are among the “safety nets” for housing during the adjustment period, he said. “Don’t be surprised if 30-year mortgages fall back to the 5.75% level,” he added.

“Most of us will be grateful if housing prices flatten out for a couple of years….This is not your classic interest rate story, so it won’t be long before we work through this, recognizing that we are in a transition now.”

An Orderly and Needed Correction

Mike Moran, chief economist for Daiwa Securities America, Inc., complained about how the news media are portraying housing market conditions as the industry is “going through a correction that’s badly needed. The key issue is whether the correction is orderly or disorderly, and the correction looks orderly even though it’s portrayed as a catastrophe in the press.”

New home sales are “right in line with where we were in 2003, which was then a record year for housing,” he said, “and we have squeezed out the exuberance that was in place in 2004 and 2005.”

Taking a look at single-family housing starts compared to new home sales, Moran pointed out that the former are slowing more sharply than the latter, another indication that the industry will adjust fairly quickly.

“We are in line with the 2003 average for sales, but far below that average for starts,” he said, “showing that builders are taking the steps they need to take in order to get inventories under control.”

For information on how to listen to the entire teleconference, available through Oct. 18, click here.



Attend the NAHB Construction Forecast Conference

Don't miss NAHB's fall Construction Forecast Conference for the latest economic news about the housing industry. Join NAHB on Oct. 25 for the Construction Forecast Conference — Fall 2006 in Washington, D.C. 

If you can't attend in person, sign-up for the Webcast.

To register for either, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.



Want to Know the Housing Starts Through 2014?

Find out in HousingEconomics.com’s Long-Term Forecast.

HousingEconomics.com includes downloadable Excel tables featuring the housing starts forecast, GDP, demographics and more.

To learn more, visit www.housingeconomics.com.

Even as Housing Prices Cool, Families Continue to Flee Florida

A tried-and-true formula of plentiful jobs, abundant sunshine and low taxes suddenly isn’t enough to support the growth of families with children in Florida, as real-estate speculators and empty nesters are snapping up property, shrinking the supply of affordable homes for newcomers who traditionally pumped up school enrollment. Overall, the number of students in the state’s public schools is expected to grow by just 30,000 this year to 2.67 million, well below recent annual increases of about 65,000, and some counties are seeing declines. School officials say the reason is that Florida’s overheated housing market, even with some cooling in recent weeks, is pricing young families out of the state. The median existing-home price in August was $248,400 — up 90% since 2001. Ranking fourth in population among the states, Florida remains one of the fastest-growing places in the country, adding an average of 1,000 new residents a day to its total of 18.3 million. Some Florida officials say that the slowdown is temporary and that enrollment will accelerate later this decade because of rising births and immigration. Also, the weakened housing market, including a 34% decline last month in sales of existing single-family homes in Florida compared with a year earlier, could bring some relief to families suffering from sticker shock. Florida is home to four of the 10 most-overvalued housing markets in the U.S., according to economic consulting firm Global Insight Inc. of Waltham, Mass., and National City Corp, a Cleveland bank. (www.realestatejournal.com)
RealEstateJournal.com (9/28/06); Chad Terhune and Rafael Gerena-Morales, The Wall Street Journal Online

U.S.: The Fed Could Go Into Hibernation This Winter

A 19% decline in crude oil prices from their mid-July peak of $77 per barrel and a 35% plunge in wholesale gasoline prices since early August are easing inflation pressures and suggest that the Federal Reserve might be content to sit on the sidelines, neither increasing nor cutting interest rates, for a very long time. There was nothing to dispute that notion after its Sept. 20 meeting, when the Fed decided to leave its target rate on hold, at 5.25%, for the second time in a row. On balance, the trends in inflation and economic growth appear to be closely tracking the favorable expectations the Fed laid out in its June forecast. Based on the Fed’s statement, policymakers still think the risks associated with attaining its desired paths for growth and inflation are slanted slightly toward the risk of more inflation. However, they also believe price pressures “seem likely to moderate over time,” with lower energy prices helping toward that end. Despite worries about the impact of weakening housing activity, consumers continued to show life in the third quarter and household buying for both goods and services, adjusted for inflation, is set to make a larger contribution to economic growth in the final quarter than it did last quarter. (www.businessweek.com)
Business Week (10/1/06); James C. Cooper

Small Home Builders Find Success During Slumping Market

Compared to large home building companies that have been dealt a blow by the recent housing slump, small local builders that can better adjust to the shifting market are now thriving, according to builders and trade groups. “I keep a close eye on the market, but really a lot of builders my size haven’t seen a slowdown,” said Donny Mack, who runs Beaver Builders, a Sanger, Texas-based residential construction firm with just three full-time employees. Beaver Builders constructed a dozen single-family homes in the $150,000 to $400,000 price range last year, Mack said, and expects to double that by the end of this year. “We have a few first-time buyers, but also a lot of empty-nesters looking for a smaller place,” he said. Mack said that many smaller firms can also turn to remodeling during slower business periods. (www.inc.com)
Inc.com (9/27/06); Angus Loten

At Home in Steady Market

While new-home starts have fallen in five of the past six months nationally, the Charlotte, N.C. housing market is gaining strength, with values rising and builders on track to break another production record. The Charlotte region is the 13th largest housing market in the country and has added 100,000 residents in the last two years. Steady job expansion has fueled much of the growth, supplemented by a steady stream of retirees. Mark Baldwin, president of the Charlotte Home Builders Association, says that the area continues to benefit from the half-back trend, in which Northerners move to Florida for retirement, don’t like the heat, high cost of living and hurricanes, and move halfway back to the North, relocating in Charlotte and the mid-Atlantic states. A record 18,000 new homes were closed in Charlotte last year, a 17% increase over 2004. The market has also avoided the euphoria that is now taking a negative toll on boom locations. While homes in the hottest urban markets such as Las Vegas or Northern Virginia had been rising in value some 20% or even 40% annually, Charlotte real estate moved up at about 6% and, at best, 8% a year. New-home closings in Charlotte were up 22% in this year’s second quarter compared with the same period in 2005, and new residential permits were up 26%. The median new-home price was up 14%, much higher than usual, but the median price of a resale was up just 1% in the second quarter, which could be a sign of some slowing ahead. “Typically, when a market softens, it first shows in resale home prices,” says local real estate agent Chuck Graham. Also, he says, builders have 7.5 months of unsold inventory, with 2.5 months of projects completed and unsold. While those are healthy inventory levels, the inventory in the region has been closer to five months, and builders will pull back production if they see the inventory rise much more. (www.charlotte.bizjournals.com)
Charlotte Business Journal (10/2/06); Laura Williams-Tracy

‘Conversion, Reversion’

After they were converted from rentals to condominiums, condominiums are now turning back to apartments in Naples, Fla. and around the state — a phenomenon that South Florida real estate guru Jack McCabe has coined “the great conversion reversion.” “The apartment conversion reversions began here in South Florida and worked their way through Florida,” he says. “We are seeing reversions around the country as well, from Miami to Seattle, and all points in between.” In the past two years, condo converters swallowed up more than 4,200 apartments in Collier County and thousands more in Lee County, following a national trend driven by low interest rates, skyrocketing construction costs and the scarcity of land in prime locations. After conducting a survey in May, McCabe found that 1,322 units had been sold at nine complexes that were converting in Collier County, out of 2,385 available units, leaving more than 40% unsold. Converters across the state are finding creative ways to drive sales, including covering the buyer’s first year of mortgage payments and even throwing in two-year leases on luxury cars. At the 300-unit Reserve at Naples, sales continue but there are 120 units left to sell, and sales are averaging about 10 a month. Sales are expected to pick up, but in the meantime, the community has rolled out a rent-to-own program in which renters can receive up to six months of rent back to use toward closing costs or to reduce the purchase price. (www.naplesnews.com)
Naplesnews.com (10/1/06); Laura Layden

Is the Living Room Dead?

The advent of the glamorous kitchen and the wired-for-everything family room, coupled with the decline of formal entertaining, has stripped the living room of its function. It now serves primarily as the well-groomed buffer between the front door and the actual living quarters, or as a place to display costly or sentimental objects, but rarely does it attract actual inhabitants. “The living room is on the chopping block for the average home,” says Gopal Ahluwalia, vice president of research for NAHB. “It is becoming smaller, like an average room, and has a different purpose: a library, a parlor, a music room, although it will remain in big houses where there’s room for everything.” Last year, more than one-third of new single-family homes were without a living room, he says, and 40% of those responding to a survey say they were willing to buy a home without one. An NAHB study of the home of the future found that designers and architects predict the demise of the living room, with the square footage being allocated to the family room, kitchen and bathrooms, Ahluwalia says. (www.newsday.com)
Newsday (9/28/06); Carol Polsky

House Passes Bill Giving Property Owners Day in Court

Shortly before adjourning to campaign for the November elections, House lawmakers on Sept. 29 passed H.R. 4772, the “Private Property Rights Implementation Act of 2006,” by a margin of 231 to 181.

Long championed by NAHB, the bipartisan measure would ensure that all property owners can have their day in federal court if their Fifth Amendment rights are violated.

“We appreciate the leadership of House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who acted quickly to bring this bill to the House floor for an up or down vote,” said  NAHB President David Pressly. “By placing Fifth Amendment takings claims on par with the rest of the Bill of Rights, this legislation represents an important victory for property owners.”

Boehner resuscitated the bill after it suffered a setback on Sept. 26 when it was considered under the House suspension calendar. Though the measure secured a solid bipartisan 234-to-172 margin, it fell short of the two-thirds majority support needed for passage under suspension of the rules.

Prior to each of last week’s votes, NAHB sent a letter to every House member urging passage of H.R. 4772 and stating that the association considered this bill as a key vote because of its significance to the housing industry.

In addition, NAHB Executive Vice President and CEO Jerry Howard conducted several interviews with the media on this issue, including The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly and the National Journal’s CongressDaily.

Under current law, landowners face a Catch-22 situation in which they must litigate their case in state court before a federal court will rule on a Fifth Amendment takings claim. However, bringing the case to state court and having a takings claim heard (even under state law) precludes a review by the federal courts. As a result, property owners can never have their Fifth Amendment takings cases heard in federal court.

All other civil rights cases can be brought directly to federal court. For example, an adult book store owner who challenges a municipal land-use regulation based on the First Amendment's free speech protection has direct access to federal court, while a property owner challenging the same regulation but raising a Fifth Amendment takings claim does not.

Legal Action Network Lays the Foundation

For years, NAHB’s Legal Action Network has been working with members of Congress to show why it is important to enact judicial reform legislation to allow takings claims to be heard in federal court in a timely manner. Due in large part to these efforts, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 4772 earlier this year.

Frank Kottschade, a builder/developer from Rochester, Minn., had to endure years of local government stalling tactics, demands and unreasonable contingencies when he applied for approval to build 104 affordable townhomes on a property he purchased in Rochester in 1992.

“We shouldn’t have to pay bundles of money to attorneys and spend years languishing in limbo hoping that some day we will have the right to have the merits of a takings claim heard in federal court,” he said. “I applaud NAHB for taking the lead in helping to secure House passage of this bill. Fundamentally, this is an issue about fairness. H.R. 4772 will help many property owners in this country gain the access to the justice to which they are entitled under the Bill of Rights.”

Companion legislation has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

With Congress now in recess and lawmakers returning to their home districts to campaign for the fall elections, the next few weeks offer an excellent time for the nation’s home builders to contact their representatives and senators and convey to them NAHB’s views on the issues that affect the housing industry. Senators must continue to be educated about the importance of judicial reform legislation to clarify the rules for federal courts hearing takings cases.

Opponents of H.R. 4772 have been spreading misinformation about the purpose of judicial reform legislation. First among the concerns raised by opponents is the fear that this legislation would interfere with state and local rights in land use decisions.

In fact, H.R. 4772 only deals with federal claims in federal courts. It does not provide special access to the courts for those with Fifth Amendment claims, nor does it interfere with the ability of localities and states to exercise reasonable control over land use.

“H.R. 4772 simply puts property owners on a level field with others who are asserting their constitutional rights," said Pressly.

To read the legislation, click here and enter H.R. 4772 in the box at the center of the page.

For more information, including talking points, e-mail J.P. Delmore at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8412.

House Approves HOPE VI, Bill on FHA Multifamily Limits

In a victory for NAHB, the House on Sept. 27 approved three bills that would renew public housing construction and make multifamily housing more affordable.

Lawmakers passed H.R. 5347, sponsored by Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), which would authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development to spend up to $60 million on the HOPE VI program in fiscal 2007.

HOPE VI has been used by communities across the nation to tear down blighted public housing projects that exist in isolation from the greater community, and replace them with safe, affordable, high-quality mixed-income developments that promote homeownership opportunities and provide affordable rental housing.

Noting that the Bush Administration’s fiscal 2007 budget proposed eliminating HOPE VI funding, NAHB earlier this year sent a letter to the full House urging lawmakers to continue their support for the program.

Robert Greer, president of The Michaels Development Company based in the Philadelphia area, builds affordable housing in 27 states and says that the HOPE VI program is absolutely essential to help meet the housing needs of low-income families.

“I am very excited to hear this news because this enables us to continue our efforts in working with local housing authorities to significantly change distressed neighborhoods that have a concentration of low-income households into revitalized communities that include all income groups,” said Greer. “Having worked with 17 HOPE VI programs, it has been our experience that these redevelopment projects are the single greatest factor in transforming areas of intense poverty, crime and drugs into thriving mixed-income residential communities.”

The final spending authorization for the program is still to be determined. While H.R. 5347 authorizes up to $60 million in fiscal 2007, the House has appropriated $30 million for the program in its budget, while the Senate Appropriations Committee has earmarked $100 million. The two chambers will ultimately reconcile their differences and come up with a final spending amount.

In addition to reauthorizing HOPE VI, the House also passed H.R. 5503, legislation sponsored by Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) that would provide the HUD secretary with more leeway to raise FHA multifamily mortgage limits in urban and other high-cost areas — where the need for affordable rental housing is particularly critical.

The bill is necessary because FHA limits are inadequate to accommodate new construction in a number of major metropolitan areas — including Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — where construction costs are significantly higher than in other areas of the country.

H.R. 5503 would permit HUD to increase the FHA loan limits for apartment buildings in high-cost areas by up to 170% (from the current 140%). The HUD secretary would also be able to increase the base loan limits by up to 215% on a case-by-case basis.

“While I can now take advantage of the loan program to utilize FHA-backed loans, which offer lower interest rates and a longer payment period than conventional loans, this bill would give our firm the flexibility to expand into larger markets,” said Lance Swank, chief financial officer of The Sterling Group, headquartered in Mishawaka, Ind. “In short, this would help my business to increase the production of much-needed affordable rental units in higher-cost areas.”

Finally, by an overwhelming 416-to-1 margin, the House adopted H.R. 6115, legislation that would reauthorize the mark-to-market program through the end of the 2011 fiscal year.

The bill would lower the cost to the federal government of renewing Sec. 8 contracts by restructuring mortgages and lowering rents. It also extends from three to five years the period during which a community-approved non-profit may purchase mark-to-market property after the closing; expands eligibility to disaster-damaged properties and erases any question of the eligibility of properties damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma or other natural disasters.

To read the legislation, click here and enter the bill number in the box at the center of the page.

For more information, e-mail Jenna Morgan Hamilton at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8407; or contact Claudia Kedda, x8352.

HUD Convinced Not to Raise FHA Multifamily Premiums

Persuaded by the arguments of NAHB’s members, its lobbyists and staff, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has cancelled its plan to increase the premiums that developers are required to pay on FHA’s multifamily mortgage insurance (MIP).

FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery, in a call to NAHB last week, said that the current MIP rates will stay in effect for FY2007.

The official announcement, which now appears on HUD’s Web site, attributes the change of plans to the large volume of comments from the public and industry associations, as well as a letter signed by 121 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 26 U.S. senators.

HUD described the feedback as “overwhelmingly opposed to the MIP increases proposed for a number of HUD’s multifamily housing mortgage insurance programs.” Most cited the proposal’s negative effect on the affordability of rental housing.

Had the increase been implemented, the mortgage insurance premiums that multifamily developers would have been required to pay for a key FHA program — Section 221(d)(4) program — would have jumped from 45 basis points to 77 basis points.

“HUD’s decision to keep the MIP levels at their current levels is beyond huge,” said Cathy Pharis, a lender with Deutsche Bank and a member of NAHB’s Housing Credit Group. “The industry has fought for nearly a decade to have the MIP levels set at the rate necessary to maintain the viability of the insurance fund, rather than on an arbitrary basis, and we nearly lost all of the ground that had been gained through that fight.”

“The HUD programs have many very attractive features, but a 32-basis-point increase in MIP would definitely have had a significant negative impact on our ability to close loans,” Pharis added.

NAHB, in its comments to HUD, argued that raising the cost of providing mortgage insurance that is critical to developing affordable housing was bad public policy. NAHB also provided compelling statistical information complied by economists from NAHB’s Housing Policy & Finance department that clearly contradicted HUD’s initial assertion that the program does not serve a public purpose. In addition, NAHB’s legislative staff worked tirelessly to mobilize those elected representatives who value the nation's federal housing programs to speak out on this issue.

“In our market, when we’re trying to build affordable and middle-market housing, the difference between the current and the proposed FHA program premiums could have been the difference between doing and not doing a project with a tight budget,” said Steve Lawson, who develops and builds rental housing in Virginia Beach, Va. “The increase would have made the FHA programs far less competitive in the marketplace.”

NAHB worked with the Mortgage Bankers Association and other industry groups in a concerted effort to prevent the proposed premium increase.

NAHB applauds the decision to rescind the proposed increase and has offered to work with HUD as it evaluates the insurance pricing premiums for future years.

For more information, e-mail Ann Marie Moriarty at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8350.



Enter Pillars to Be 'Best of the Best' in Multifamily

The application deadline for NAHB Multifamily’s 2007 Pillars of the Industry Awards program — which honors excellence in multifamily design, development, marketing and management — is Nov. 30.

A showcase of innovation and future trends, Pillars is considered to be the most prestigious national awards competition in the multifamily housing industry.

The winners will be honored at a gala ceremony held in conjunction with NAHB Multifamily’s Pillars of the Industry Conference in New Orleans on April 11-13. 

For more information and to apply, visit www.nahb.org/pillarsawards, or e-mail Laura Zaner at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8563.



Save the Date for the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Conference

Attend the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Conference, the premier industry event for the multifamily industry, on April 11-13 in New Orleans. 

Visit www.nahb.org/pillars for more information.

 

 

NAHB Defeats Mandated Fire Sprinklers at Code Hearings

Citing their high costs and significant installation and maintenance problems, NAHB representative attending the International Code Council’s code development hearings in Orlando, Fla. last week resoundingly defeated proposals to mandate fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

After more than two hours of debate, all proposals seeking to mandate fire sprinkler systems in the International Residential Code (IRC) were disapproved by the IRC Committee. The decision was made despite emotional support from fire service representatives — but tellingly, no local building officials — who reiterated their support for keeping the fire sprinkler language in the code’s appendix, a position they supported during the previous code development cycle, said builder Frank Thompson of Sweetwater Builders in Cranberry Township, Penn.

“Overall, we are doing a very good job with the existing fire safety measures that we have,” Thompson said, citing improvements in building safety and interconnected smoke alarms “that have proven very effective in saving lives.” No need for the sprinklers has been demonstrated, home builders have pointed out.

Building officials are also concerned that mandates do not address the issue of how to install sprinklers in areas where public water systems are not available. “Sprinklers become much more expensive when you add pumps or holding tanks,” Thompson said. “We also don’t have answers for making these systems work in cold climates.”

The arguments in support of mandates were conspicuously not based on facts and included arguments that have been disproved by local home builders association representatives fighting mandates in Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, New Jersey and other states. No studies have demonstrated that fire sprinklers are more effective than smoke alarms.

“There is a need to develop a lower-cost system, and there may be an opportunity for fire services and builders to at least sit down and identify the hurdles in developing a lower-cost system,” Thompson said. One obstacle is the cost of the larger water lines needed for the sprinkler systems and water connection fees would be another.

In addition to the high cost of the systems themselves and their effect on affordable housing, NAHB cited design, maintenance and legal concerns described in a policy resolution approved by the NAHB Board of Directors at its meeting last month in Salt Lake City.

Proponents cited the potential development of low-cost, plumbing-based systems — but none are yet available. Currently, installation costs range from $2 to $7 per square foot, builders say.

More challenges to the NAHB position are expected in May, 2007 at the next round of ICC hearings.

“We hope that before then, there is increased dialog” between proponents and opponents, Thompson said. NAHB will continue its longstanding and successful efforts to oppose mandates, but at the same time must advocate for more affordable systems where mandates already exist, he said.  “We need to try to work toward a long-term approach.”

For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.

New Home Sales Bounce-Back in August a Nice Surprise

Sales of new single-family homes rose 4.1% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.050 million units, following substantial downward revisions to the sales rate for the previous three months, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department last week. The preliminary sales pace for August was down 17.4% from a year earlier.

"The sales increase for August reported by the government was somewhat surprising," said NAHB President David Pressly. "However, mortgage rates have been coming down from mid-year levels and many builders are offering substantial incentives to bolster sales, making this a good time to buy."

"The bounce-back in new home sales certainly is a welcome development, although the reported increase was from a downwardly revised July level that was the lowest reading since March 2003," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. "Many builders still have large inventories of unsold homes, and we expect to see aggressive use of sales incentives over the balance of the year."

"The near-term prospects for monetary policy and mortgage interest rates also will be supportive of housing demand going forward," Seiders added.

New home sales rose in August by 21.7% in the Northeast, 12.2% in the Midwest and 11.1% in the South; they were down by 17.7% in the West. All four regions, however, reported substantially lower sales on a year-to-date basis.

The inventory of new homes for sale decreased slightly to 568,000 units at the end of August, a 6.6 months' supply at the current sales pace. Completed homes for sale accounted for 26% of the inventory; units still under construction represented 55%; and units for-sale that were permitted but not yet started were nearly 19% of the inventory.

The median length of time that completed homes for sale were on the market was 3.6 months, the same as the two previous months and down from 3.7 months a year earlier.


 

Attend the NAHB Construction Forecast Conference

Don't miss NAHB's fall Construction Forecast Conference for the latest economic news about the housing industry. Join NAHB on Oct. 25 for the Construction Forecast Conference — Fall 2006 in Washington, D.C. 

If you can't attend in person, sign-up for the Webcast.

To register for either, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.



Want to Know the Housing Starts Through 2014?

Find out in HousingEconomics.com’s Long-Term Forecast.

HousingEconomics.com includes downloadable Excel tables featuring the housing starts forecast, GDP, demographics and more.

To learn more, visit www.housingeconomics.com.

Pending Home Sales Index Suggests Market Stabilizing

An upward blip on an index of the National Association of Realtors® on pending home sales suggests that the housing market may be stabilizing.

“Our sense is that home sales may have reached a low in August,” said David Lereah, the association’s chief economist. “The Pending Home Sales Index shows home sales should be fairly stable over the next two months, although a minor decline is possible. With fewer new listings coming on the market, we should be able to draw down the inventory supply early next year to the point where home prices will rise, but at a slower pace than historic norms.”

Based on contracts that were signed in August, the Pending Homes Sales Index rose 4.3% to a level of 110.1 from the previous month, but was still 14.1% lower than August 2005.

A home is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed, but the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001.

In his analysis of weekly mortgage interest rates last Thursday and the factors influencing them, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said that a bright note in the week’s releases on home sales “was that the average time new homes stood for sale narrowed from 6.6 months to 6.3 months in August, which should mitigate some of the softening of new home prices over the next few months. In addition, both lower mortgage rates and a moderation in house price growth should lead to increased housing affordability — especially as family incomes are forecasted to continue rising.”

Attached at the Garage, Homes Live and Look Detached

These homes live and look like detached homes. The only thing that is attached is the garage.
© Copyright The Evans Group, all rights reserved.

 


 


Traditional Neighborhood Designed communities are still a large driving force in new product development.

A lane-oriented 30-foot-wide detached home on a 40-foot-wide lot is the standard within many of these communities.

As we all know, not every site plan can be developed using lane-orientated product. And more importantly today, not every budget can take the strain created by developing two sets of roads. Most of you are building on such tight budgets that the thought of developing a lane-oriented community is stomach-turning to say the least.

So, what are your options? Which solution is going to work for your next community?

This Home Looks and Lives Like a Detached Home

Take the most efficient 30-foot-wide by 60-foot-deep home, put the two-car garage in the back of the footprint where it belongs, attach the two garages, create a single-width driveway access — and you have the perfect solution.

These homes live and look like detached homes because the only thing that is attached is the garage. No living spaces touch with this solution.

These homes are built as duplexes with all of the density benefits, but most importantly, they sell like detached homes. Your buyers are going to favorably compare this product to the other single-family homes in the marketplace.

This solution also allows for a hard surface play area outside the kitchen, as well as, a private outdoor rear yard environment with a splash pool/spa and patio.

Upscale Luxury With High-End Detailing

The elevation is upscale luxury with very high-end detailing. By recessing the garage and creating an arbor porte cochere, the streetscape reads entirely of architecture ― not garage doors. Very appealing to today’s buyers.

Take a closer look at the floor plan. This 3,010-square-foot home appeals to a variety of market segments. It is perfect for today’s growing families, has the ability to flex to six bedrooms with the master suite downstairs, a guest master suite and four secondary bedroom upstairs. In addition, there is a large retreat on the second floor creating a separate living space or study area for the children.

First floor.                   © Copyright The Evans Group, all rights reserved.

Second floor.             © Copyright The Evans Group, all rights reserved.

On the first floor, there is a large great room, gourmet kitchen overlooking the café and gathering room. The gathering room boasts a built-in entertainment center with a television and optional fireplace, all overlooking the rear yard environment.

None of the necessary components have been overlooked in this floor plan.

This product type creates the perfect solution of detached and attached for the builder, developer and the buyer.

Don Evans, AIA is founder and president of The Evans Group architecture and planning firm headquartered in Orlando, Fla. Evans is a nationally recognized design and planning consultant, specializing in architectural design, land planning, landscape architecture and architectural interiors. For more information, e-mail Evans or visit The Evans Group Web site at www.theevansgroup.com.

Builder's Tip: Emergency Flat-Roof Repair

When a roof leaks, it’s not the kind of situation where you can schedule a roofer to fix it sometime next month. It needs to be fixed right now.

Because most flat roofs turn into small swimming pools in a good rain, if there is a leak, hundreds of gallons of water may find their way inside and cause an amazing amount of damage. I’ve had a lot of years to experiment on patching flat roofs, and the patches that I applied 10 years ago are still good. Here’s why:

The primary repair material that I use is called Henry’s Wet Patch. It’s a sticky, black, tar-like substance that can be applied to wet surfaces — even underwater. But my secret is that I use the Wet Patch with aluminum foil and that I have an assistant to help me apply it.

Required ingredients also include several garbage bags, some duct tape and a disposable spatula.

If you try this fix, you can get the Wet Patch on your hands and arms, so protect them with the garbage bags. Use the duct tape to hold the bags in place.

The repair:

  • Scoop the Wet Patch with the spatula and spread it over the hole.

  • Have your helper tear off a piece of aluminum foil that will almost cover the Wet Patch.

  • Press the aluminum foil into the Wet Patch with your covered hand and use the spatula to press its edges into the Wet Patch.


That’s all there is to it. When you are done, peel off the garbage bags and stuff all the trash into them.

This kind of patch lasts a lot longer than a simple gob of Wet Patch spread over a hole in the roof. I believe this is because the Wet Patch seals the leak and that the foil prevents the Wet Patch from outgassing, drying out and ultimately cracking.

It doesn’t make for a pretty patch, but it is quick and will last for many years — plenty of time to schedule a new roof.

— Kee Nethery, Berkeley, Calif.

Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2005 The Taunton Press

To request a reprint of this feature, e-mail Christina Glennon at Fine Homebuilding.



BuilderBooks.com Offers More Than 250 Books That Help You Build Your Business

BuilderBooks.com is your source for training and education products for the building industry. The official bookstore for NAHB, BuilderBooks.com offers award-winning publications, software, brochures and more available in both English and Spanish.

To view these publications online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.



Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB.

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

IRS Plans to Look at Small Builders More Closely

By Krista Mund

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is hiring more examiners to specifically pursue small businesses.

Ann Makres, senior stakeholder liaison with the agency’s small business/self-employed division, told builders during an informational session at the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead, N.D. that small businesses and self-employed people will be looked at more closely because many are not reporting all their business income, overstating business expenses or underreporting self-employment tax.

According to the IRS, the overall tax gap ― the difference between what taxpayers should have paid and what they actually paid — came to $345 billion in 2001, with almost 43% of that gap attributable to small businesses and self-employed people.

The IRS offers many resources to ensure that your business is in compliance with all IRS regulations. The following is a summary of some materials available through IRS:

  • The Small Business Resource Guide 2006 containing information organized around the life cycle of a business

  • A Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop DVD

  • Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) Resource Guide for Small Business Owners and Individuals

  • A brochure on the electronic federal tax payment system (EFTPS) that allows business to make payments online or by phone

  • A brochure addressing tax considerations if you are considered an employee versus an independent contractor

  • A brochure including tax information for small construction businesses

  • Construction industry federal taxation curriculum that contains an overview of the federal income and employment tax laws as they pertain to construction


For more information from the IRS, click here to get to the Construction section, or go to www.irs.gov and click on the Businesses header, then Small Businesses/Self Employed, Industries/Professions in the navigation column and Construction.

Makres also said that information addressing topics like independent contractor/employee, depreciation and employment taxes could be found under the top header, Instructor’s Educational Materials.

This article was revised and reprinted with permission from the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. Krista Mund is the communications coordinator for the association. For information about the HBA, call 701- 232-5846, or visit www.hbafm.com.

'How to Thrive in Changing Market' at Custom Builder Symposium

Registration for the 2006 Custom Builder Symposium at the Lake Las Vegas Resort in Nevada on Oct. 27-29 closes on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Register now, time is running out. 

Industry veterans who have been there will discuss how to thrive in a changing market at the 2006 Custom Builder Symposium Oct. 27-29 in the Lake Las Vegas Resort, Nev.

Custom builders Tom Stephani, Mike Holmes and Paul Montelongo will lead the interactive discussion during a luncheon session on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the issue continuing to be discussed by participants during roundtables later that day.

Registration closes Wednesday, Oct. 11, so register today.  

The symposium features 17 world-class education sessions; a practical take-home workbook packed with tips on marketing, management and customer service; and plenty of networking opportunities.

NAHB Custom Builder of the Year to Be Named

This year, NAHB's first Custom Home Builder of the Year will be named during a dinner and awards ceremony at the symposium.  

“This award is the first of its kind,” said Mary Schroeder, chair of the symposium subcommittee. “What makes the award so special is that it will be presented to an outstanding custom home builder by his or her peers.”

The celebration will showcase the winner's achievements in constructing one-of-a-kind homes as well as recognize the recipient's leadership in the profession, industry and his community.

To register for the dinner, e-mail Marcia Childs at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8388.

Top-Notch Presenters

The symposium will include an impressive lineup of top-notch presenters on topics that matter now, including:

  • Business and Succession Planning
  • Ten Can’t-Miss Tips for Improving Your Business
  • Eliminating the Most Common Pitfalls in Trade Relationships
  • Building for and Selling to Multicultural Customers
  • Boosting Your Profits Through Upselling
  • Proven Ways to Gain an Edge over Your Competition
  • Cost-Plus vs. Fixed-Price Contracts
  • Financial Management Made Simple
  • Construction Defects and Mold
  • Business Exit Strategies
  • Must-Have Technology for New Homes
  • Six Steps to Service Success
  • Copyright Law and Building Plans


To learn more about the Custom Builder Symposium or to register, go to www.nahb.org/custom.



NAHB Has More Than 250 Resources to Help You Run Your Business More Profitably

Go to NAHB's Business Management Tools Web pages (available to members only) for instant access to more than 250 timesaving, moneymaking and cost-cutting business resources to help you run your business more profitably. Get guidance on accounting and financial management, business strategy, computers and information technology, customer service, human resources and more.

Resources are added weekly, so bookmark www.nahb.org/biztools to go directly to these vital business management resources.

Local and state home builders associations can link directly to www.nahb.org/biztools from their Web site and give their members instant access to these resources. It will make your HBA's Web site the place to go for the information and guidance that members need to succeed.



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, visit www.nahb.org/BoB on the Members Only side of the NAHB Web site.



NAHB Technology Solutions Directory Now Online

NAHB’s Technology Solutions Directory — an easy-to-use directory that enables builders, remodelers, contractors and other industry professionals to find information on software and IT solutions and services for their businesses — is now online. The directory is sponsored by the Business Management & Information Technology Committee

Software and technology solutions providers interested in being listed can sign up for:

  • Enhanced Listing — Listing includes company name, URL, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, company/product description, company logo. Click here for more information.
     
  • Standard Listing — Listing includes company name and phone number. Click here for more information.


For more information, e-mail Wil Heslop at NAHB.

The Technology Solutions Directory is solely for educational and informational purposes.  Nothing in the directory should be construed as policy, an endorsement, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders of the listed software, IT service or the software/IT vendor.  The National Association of Home Builders expressly disclaims any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained in this directory.

Protect Your Profits Through ‘Defensive’ Estimating

 

Learn how to estimate based on fiscal goals and protecting the company’s bottom line through “Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profits” by Bill Asdal, CGR, and available through BuilderBooks.com.

For builders and remodelers, this user-friendly approach to estimating will help you improve your process, and the book provides hundreds of ideas and simple suggestions.

Through “Defensive Estimating,” you will learn how to:

  • Take a hard look at your business processes and modify them to meet financial goals.

  • Create profits un-endangered by carelessness or short vision.

  • Defend each estimate line so that the system of planned profit is consistent and bankable.


Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profits” is available at www.BuilderBooks.com, or by calling 800-223-2665.

Remodelors Council Gala at Chicago Cultural Center

The 2006 Remodelors™ Council Gala will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center on Friday, Oct. 20, during this year's Remodeling Show.

The Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city's 10 most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the country.

During the gala, winners of the council's CADRE and Remodelor™ of the Year awards will be named, and the 2006 candidates for the Remodeling Hall of Fame will be inducted.

The evening will include a cocktail reception, followed by the awards presentation, dinner and dancing. Black-tie optional.

Gala registration is available through the Remodeling Show  Web site at www.theremodelingshow.com, or click here to order directly online.

Last Call to Enter The Nationals Sales and Marketing Awards

Enter your best in new home sales and marketing and design for the 2007 The Nationals — the National Sales and Marketing awards, the largest and most prestigious competition for new-home sales and marketing professionals and communities.

Late entries will be accepted until Monday, Oct. 9 with a late $50 fee per entry. 

Sponsored by NAHB’s National Sales and Marketing Council, The Nationals honor the best in architectural achievement, product and community design, advertising and promotion, interior merchandising, Web site design and more. The awards are open to individual sales and marketing professionals, home builders, associates and sales and marketing councils.

The Nationals recognize innovation and excellence in 53 categories. During a three-day judging process, a panel of industry professionals from across the country selects Silver and Gold award winners from a field that typically includes more than 1,200 entries.

Category winners will be honored during a gala event at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 7 during the International Builders' Show.

For a list of The Nationals awards categories, click here. For entry forms, click here.

For more information, visit www.TheNationals.com, e-mail Lisa Parrish, or call her at 800-658-2751 or 909-987-2758.

Want to Know More About Designations? Ask an Expert

The NAHB University of Housing recently implemented “Ask an Expert,” a new service on the NAHB Web site for members seeking or earning designations.

"Ask an Expert" allows members to e-mail designation program graduates with questions that will help then earn their CSP, Master CSP, CMP or MIRM designations.

The graduates will field questions and concerns ranging from course content, to the designation process, to how the designation has benefited them.

So, if you're thinking about enrolling in the CSP, Master CSP, CMP or MIRM designation programs or have already started the necessary course work and have questions or concerns, visit “Ask an Expert” on the NAHB Web site.

A variety of designation holders will provide you with guidance and help you navigate the ins and outs of the program.


Learn More About The NAHB University of Housing

Whether you’re new to the industry, hope to make your next career move or want to improve your company’s bottom line, The NAHB University of Housing can assist you in your educational pursuits.

Visit www.nahb.org/education for a comprehensive listing of courses throughout the country. Be sure to visit often in order to view the most up-to-date information in your area.



Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.

Education Calendar

Oct. 20-22

National Conference on Membership

San Antonio, Texas

Oct. 25

Fall Construction Forecast Conference

Washington, D.C.

Oct. 27-29

2006 Custom Builder Symposium

Las Vegas, Nev.

Nov. 5-8

2006 Building Systems Councils SHOWCASE

Miami, Fla.

Nov. 9-11

State & Local Government Affairs Conference

New Orleans, La.

2007

 

 

Feb. 7-10

2007 International Builders' Show

Orlando, Fla.

March 25

National Green Building Conference

St. Louis, Mo.


Learn More About The NAHB University of Housing

Whether you’re new to the industry, hope to make your next career move or want to improve your company’s bottom line, The NAHB University of Housing can assist you in your educational pursuits.

Visit www.nahb.org/education for a comprehensive listing of courses throughout the country. Be sure to visit often in order to view the most up-to-date information in your area.


Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.

Company Faces Penalties Over Lead-Based Paint Notice

A citation last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against a real estate company for not providing its tenants with information on lead-based paint should serve as a warning to remodelers, landlords and real estate agents that they can face stiff penalties for failing to comply with provisions of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.

Under the law, sellers and landlords of residential housing built before 1978, when the federal government banned the sale of lead-based house paint, are required to notify purchasers and tenants about the presence of known lead-based paint or disclose their lack of knowledge about its possible presence.

The law also requires landlords to provide a lead-based paint information pamphlet to prospective tenants, provide a standard warning statement in the lease on the dangers of lead-based paint and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in sales contracts and leases.

Remodelers are required by law to provide home owners with the brochure “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” before beginning work on any house built before 1978. “It’s the right thing to do, and professional remodelers know that,” said Vince Butler, chair of the NAHB Remodelors™ Council.

In its recent citation, EPA says that Allied Realty failed to disclose information on lead-based paint to tenants in 16 rental properties in Washington, D.C. and the Maryland suburbs. The agency’s complaint cites 82 violations of the lead-based paint disclosure rule, involving 19 lease agreements for 16 rental properties signed between November 2001 and May 2004.

Among the cited violations are failure to disclose known lead-based paint to prospective tenants, failure to provide available reports regarding lead-based paint and failure to provide lead-warning statements in leases.

The law provides for a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 per violation. EPA will propose a specific penalty after giving the company an opportunity to provide relevant information. The company will then have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.

For more information on the issue of lead-based paint, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.

National Housing Quality Award Winners Announced

Winners of the 2007 National Housing Quality (NHQ) awards were announced last week by the NAHB Research Center and Reed Business Information during Professional Builder magazine’s Benchmark Conference.

Now entering its 14th year, the NHQ Awards are patterned after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and represent the home building industry’s highest recognition of quality achievement and operational excellence in residential construction and independent contractor companies.

Entries are judged by a panel of experts who evaluate the role that quality plays in construction, strategic planning, leadership and performance management, trade relationships, customer satisfaction, human resources and business results.

Three winners and two honorable mentions were awarded:


Candidates for the award have to implement sophisticated operating processes that improve performance, and those processes must be documented in an extensive application and verified through a site visit by the judges.

Program participants benefit from the introspective process of preparing the awards application and are provided with feedback from the judges, many of whom are past NHQ Award winners. The winners are featured in Professional Builder articles that highlight their quality management practices.

The award winners also participated in an educational session at the 2006 Benchmark Conference focusing on best practices in critical areas for their business.

For more information on the National Housing Quality Program, click here.

Easy Design Changes Can Help Connect With Latino Market

The Hispanic population is destined to be a big part of the American future and a big part of the housing industry’s future, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros said in a Sept. 21 news conference.

“Should builders begin to design housing product that fits the needs of the Hispanic market? Yes,” Cisneros said. “There is some tweaking that needs to be done. There are modifications in the housing product that would be important. There are financing strategies and marketing strategies that could make a difference.”

A new book edited by Cisneros and available from BuilderBooks, “Casa Y Communidad: Latino Home and Neighborhood Design,” compiles writings by some of the nation’s leading experts on the Hispanic housing market and offers strategies for connecting with these buyers.

“If you have an interest in this market, then Secretary Cisneros’ book, which I read this week, is a great resource,” said New Jersey builder Dean Mon, who told the news media that on Sept. 21, 1966, 40 years earlier to the day, he came to the United States from Cuba.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being here today after leaving Cuba as a young boy,” Mon said.

The growth in the Latino population has accelerated considerably since Mon first arrived.

Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the United States, with 42.7 million people in 2005 — more than 14% of U.S. population, said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “The growth of Hispanic households also has been very strong. About 27% of net household growth has come from Hispanic households.”

The Census projects that by 2050 we could have the Hispanic share of population rising from 14% now to perhaps 25% of U.S. population, Seiders added.

“Builders who recognize the significance of Latino population growth for the housing market and the vast potential of Latinos as home buyers will sell more homes while contributing to the economic advantage of their communities,” said Cisneros, who currently serves as the chairman of CityView, community-building firms dedicated to producing workforce housing in America’s cities.

Cisneros noted a number of simple design changes that can help make a home a better fit for many Hispanic families:

  • Garages that can be easily converted into bedrooms
  • Floor plans that take into account the multigenerational needs of the household, such as more private access to a bathroom for a live-in grandparent
  • Kitchens with gas ranges that are more suitable to Latino recipes that require cooking over an open flame
  • Five-eighths-inch drywall for noise attenuation and durability
  • Proximity to public transit
  • Longer driveways that can accommodate the additional cars of a Latino household with more family members in the workplace.


“Builders need to be thinking imaginatively and creatively before the home is built,” Cisneros said. “Many of these things don’t cost a lot, and they can become a marketing asset.”

There are important differences between first-generation immigrants and those families that have been in the U.S. for two or more generations, Cisneros added.

“First-generation immigrants may be less aware of the complexity of the finance system. They may be ‘unbanked.’ They may have credit issues,” he said. “For these households, we need to pay special attention to concerns about financing issues.”

Home-buyer education and bilingual help at closing are particularly important in serving these first-generation buyers.

The current debate about immigration policy and the fate of 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the country is very important to the future of the nation and its Hispanic population, Cisneros said.

Cisneros commended President Bush for his courage in offering all three elements of a workable immigration reform package: border security; a guest worker program that allows those 12 million immigrants to legalize their status as workers; and a pathway to citizenship.

Such a three-pronged immigration policy would be hugely important in terms of homeownership and the housing market, because it would enable people who are in the shadows — and who haven’t established ties with financial institutions — to become legal participants in the economy.

“While it appears that all that may pass this year is some sort of border security, the reality is that over the long term, the legislation that would be most dynamic requires all three elements,” Cisneros said.

Hispanic immigrants in this country are exactly the kind of people this nation needs, he said. Regardless of their backgrounds, Hispanic families have a few important characteristics in common: a desire to work hard, raise children, pay taxes, attend church and build communities.

For more information, e-mail Blake Smith at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8583.

Walnut Place an Answer to High Home Costs in California

Recognizing ingenuity in the development, construction and marketing of affordable workforce housing, NAHB honored five communities with its Innovation in Workforce Housing Awards at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. in January. In an effort to bring attention to outstanding examples of workforce housing, Nation’s Building News is showcasing the winners of the award in a series of articles. The first development in this series is Walnut Place in Greenfield, Calif.

Applications for the 2006 awards are available and the deadline is Oct. 27. For the award guidelines and an entry form, click here.

Developed by CHISPA, (Community Housing Systems and Planning Association), the first two-time winner of the award, affordably priced Walnut Place, was built in Monterey County, Calif., where a median-priced home of $680,000 is well out of reach for a growing number of families.

“It’s getting more challenging every year to provide housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income families,” said David Cooke, CHISPA’s director of real estate development. “This area has a huge pent-up demand and a real lack of [housing] inventory.”

“Recognition from organizations like NAHB helps us demonstrate to our own community the value of the work we do,” Cooke added.

Home buyers in Walnut Place have included teachers, police officers, city employees and households struggling to meet the needs of disabled adults. Because they were in such high demand, the homes were sold through a lottery.

“The city recognizes there is a housing shortage. The country recognizes it. But there is a big contingent of NIMBY resistance,” Cooke said. “We try to educate the public, so people understand that their kids and their kids’ kids will need a place to live.”

Walnut Place is a community of 37 homes on a 10-acre site. Twelve of the homes were constructed using CHISPA’s moderate-income housing program, which provides homeownership opportunities for first-time home buyers whose household earnings don’t exceed 120% of the county’s median family income. Sales prices of the homes ranged from $235,000 to $255,000.

The remaining 25 units were constructed using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Housing, a program in which families contribute a substantial amount of labor to build the homes in the new community so that they can purchase a home at a lower cost. To be eligible to participate, households were required to be first-time buyers earning no more than 80% of the median family income in the county.

Participants in the program have included employees of several of the area’s largest agricultural growers and packaging companies and high-profile companies such as BUD of California, Scheid Vineyards and the Pebble Beach Golf Club and Resorts.

One of the homes was constructed by local students participating in the City of Greenfield's YouthBuild Program, which helps students obtain much-needed job skills.

Various California housing and community development programs were also involved in making Walnut Place a reality.

For more information, e-mail Blake Smith at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8583.

Bobby Lunceford presents a 2005 Innovation in Workforce Housing Award to David Cooke of CHISPA. 

Scholarships Help Job Corps Grads Start Housing Careers

Home Builders Institute electrical instructor John Gaddis recently helped four of his Golconda Job Corps Center graduates secure HBI/Lowe’s Building Careers Scholarships to purchase cars to commute to their new jobs with Helix Electric in Las Vegas.

The Building Careers scholarship was established to help Job Corps graduates defray job-related costs that can overwhelm students with limited financial resources as they are just beginning their careers. The funds are also used for school tuition and books by students who choose to further their education and training.

When making the transition to jobs in the construction industry, transportation is often the most pressing need for the young graduates because their work sites can be located a considerable distance from their homes.

Relocating from Illinois to Nevada, Patrick McCarthy, Jonathan Ramirez, Antwaan Thompson and Jacuna White also used their $1,000 scholarship awards to help pay for rent, food and gas. Fittingly, their first project with Helix Electric is a six-month effort to build a new Lowe’s lumber store in Las Vegas.

“These four young men had meaningful jobs with prime contractors lined up,” said Gaddis. “They just need a little help to get them there. That’s where the Lowe’s scholarships are indispensable.”

“I cannot thank these two great organizations enough,” Ramirez wrote in a letter to HBI. “The doors unlocked by HBI and Lowe’s have helped me move my life forward.” In a similar letter of thanks, McCarthy noted that the “generous support” had helped “me start my new life.”

Since 2004, Lowe’s has contributed $150,000 to the scholarship program, which has provided assistance to nearly 100 students entering the construction workforce.

HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, trains and places more than 2,000 Job Corps students in industry jobs each year.

For more information on the HBI/Lowe’s Building Career Scholarship and Job Corps, e-mail Maria McIntyre at HBI, or call her at McIntyre at 800-795-7955 x8912.

New Deadbolt Secures Homes Against Holiday Burglaries

A new deadbolt from Master Lock is designed to prevent an intruder from entering the house, even if they have a key, and can provide an added measure of protection during the upcoming holiday season when burglaries are at their peak.

Master Lock Company LLC is an operating unit of Fortune Brands, which is a leading consumer brands company and a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Supplier 100 of NAHB.

Nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. from November through December, according to the FBI. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends that home owners take extra precautions to protect their homes during the holidays.

According to Master Lock, the most important step to prevent a home invasion is to make sure that your home is securely locked, even when you are at home. In two-thirds of successful burglaries, the burglar entered through unlocked or improperly locked doors or windows, according to the Home Safety Council.

Master Lock’s NightWatch Deadbolt features a patent-pending locking mechanism that blocks out all keys when it is engaged. To activate the mechanism, home owners simply lock the deadbolt as usual, and then depress a safety button and pull the deadbolt lever towards them.

The NightWatch deadbolt fits all doors, replaces any brand of deadbolt and can be installed in about 15 minutes with just a Phillips screwdriver.

According to a study conducted by Customer Profiles, Ltd. and Master Lock, a majority (64%) of American home owners allow their keys to wander, potentially leaving them in the wrong hands. The NightWatch deadbolt ensures that workmen, cleaning staff, baby sitters and others who may have had access to a house key will not be able to enter the home.

When away from the home, owners can engage the NightWatch deadbolt on entry doors and then exit through the garage, locking the garage vehicle door. The deadbolt also cannot be picked while it is engaged.

Other security tips from Master Lock:

  • Keep elaborate holiday decorations and gifts out of public display.

  • Don’t leave empty gift boxes from your new computer, flat-screen TV or DVD player on the curb. Break down the boxes and place them in large garbage bags to conceal the items, or take the boxes to a recycling center.

  • When traveling, make sure to have neighbors pick up the mail, newspapers or advertising flyers. Instead of leaving the lights on, use an automatic light timer. And never say you’re not home on outgoing telephone answering machine or voicemail messages.

  • Make sure all doors and windows are tightly locked, every time you leave the house and when you are at home.


This feature is solely for educational and informational purposes. Nothing on this page should be construed as policy, an endorsement, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders of the featured product or the product manufacturer. The National Association of Home Builders expressly disclaims any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained on this page.

NAHB-Produced Programs on HGTV & DIY This Week

The NAHB Production Group produces four weekly television shows on HGTV and DIY for consumers. The following is this week's lineup:

"I Want That" on HGTV

Episode: "Speedy Skates, Home Elevator"

•  Oct. 6, 11:30 p.m. ET/PT
•  Oct. 7, 3:30 a.m.  ET/PT

 

New skates allow you to tackle rough terrain smoothly. A residential elevator works on air pressure. An environmentally-friendly coffee table costs less to ship. Light up your sink with an attachment that adds blue light to the water stream.

"Rock Solid" on DIY

Episode: "Cobble Pavers"

• Oct. 5, 5:00 p.m. ET/PT
• Oct. 7, 11:30 a.m. ET/PT

 

Dean and Derek have worked with many of the products on the market and are convinced that you can't install an attractive cobble stone project without hours of backbreaking work. Join them as they collaborate with Orlando, Fla.-based Cobble Systems and learn that you don't have to trade style for ease of labor. They use a system of cast cobble stones attached to a grid backing to complete a driveway project that is not only distinct, but durable and easy to install. They also show how to level and prepare ground for driveways and patio installations and how to design creative and practical projects. In the end, will Dean and Derek find that these Cobble Systems are too good to be true?

"Assembly Required" on DIY

Episode: "Operation Home Delivery (Part 2)"

• Oct. 4, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT
• Oct. 5, 2:30 a.m. ET/PT
• Oct. 8, noon ET/PT
• Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. ET/PT
• Oct. 14, 12:30 p.m. ET/PT

 

Habitat for Humanity grants a new lease on life to one family devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Operation Home Delivery started with a thousand volunteers constructing prefab walls on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Now those walls are a home shell for the Carrington family in Louisiana. It doesn't stop there. Crew leader Jillian Gross has only five more days to lead a team of volunteers in a "blitz build" so that the family can move in.

HGTV Seeking ‘Dream Home’ Builder/Architect Teams

HGTV is seeking developers, builders and architects to create the 2008 and 2009 dream homes for the network’s Dream Home Sweepstakes. To learn more, click here.

The NAHB Production Group is a full-service, self-contained, media production unit creating programming for cable television, broadcast television, non-profit, museum and corporate clients. Productions range from magazine format shows for general audiences to museum-installation videos for specialized use.

The production group includes award winning journalists, writers and photographers with experience in broadcast, documentary and corporate television.

 


 

Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB.

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

Centex CEO to Discuss Future of Home Building on Webcast

 

 

Timothy Eller, chairman and CEO at Centext Corporation.

Timothy Eller, chairman and CEO of Centex Corporation, will discuss the future of residential construction during a Webcast beginning 11:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The 50-minute Webcast will be moderated by 1991 NAHB President Mark Tipton.

The Webcast is the first in the series, "The Building Communities Webcast Seminar Series on Residential Construction Management."

The series is sponsored by the National Housing Endowment, the philanthropic arm of NAHB, in partnership with East Carolina University (ECU).

The seminar series targets future leaders of the home building industry and is open to students and professors in construction management, science and technology programs as well as NAHB Student Chapter members and NAHB members. HBAs are encouraged to notify their Student NAHB Chapters.

As  part of the discussion, the seminars will feature selected questions from the audience. For the first seminar, students and professors can register for the Webcast and submit questions for Eller.

To register, visit www.rcmseries.ecu.edu.

The series Web pages also feature seminar archives and links to industry-related university programs and other organizations.

Eller joined Centex in 1973 and became chairman and CEO in 2004. He has a degree in construction management from the University of Nebraska. He is also chairman of the NAHB High Production Home Builders Council.

 

Challenging Times Put NAHB Membership on the Rise

At a time when home builders and professionals in the housing industry are having to become increasingly resourceful to maximize business opportunities in a cooling marketplace, NAHB is reporting that its official membership rolls have grown to a record 235,000.

“I quickly learned that the home builders association was a perfect place to meet new people and to get acquainted with the building community,” said Kimberly Wheeler, a new affiliate member with the HBA of Metropolitan Portland, Ore. and a banking officer in business development for MBank.

“Through my involvement in different events and my service on the retention committee, I saw a natural extension from my own experience to how membership in the HBA would benefit my clients, who are builders and others involved in residential construction,” Wheeler said. “I wanted to help my clients make a great connection and the HBA is the best place for them to do that.”

Wheeler recruited 11 new members in May, the month in which NAHB’s annual recruitment activities reach their culmination on National Membership Day (this link is for members only). The association added almost 10,600 members during the month, and there are currently about 19,600 Spikes who actively participate in recruiting members for the association.

At the end of August, there were almost 243,000 NAHB members. The actual membership number fluctuates monthly, and the official total is always less than the actual total, but representative of the number of members nationwide.

On the opposite side of the country, Ian Huckabee of New Day Builders in Chapel Hill, N.C. recently joined the HBA of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties, and reports that he is happy he did.

“We have good leaders, good thinkers — it’s an intelligent group,” said Huckabee. “They’re helping me find all the allied services and vendors and subs I need.”

Huckabee said his company is also pursuing green home building opportunities, and that is another reason he decided to join his local association, which has recently launched a green building program. Huckabee has volunteered to serve on the program’s marketing committee.

“I was not only excited, but also so very proud to announce the new official total to the NAHB Board of Directors” at its meeting earlier this month in Salt Lake City, said Larry Stege, NAHB membership chair. “It is representative of how each individual’s actions can make such a strong aggregate impact on our industry. This was certainly a group effort and the members and the local and state HBAs should be commended for their energetic membership efforts throughout the year.”

Stege announced to the board that the Membership Department has added a Membership Think Tank to NAHB’s Web site, a library of materials and tools that members can use to promote the most effective recruitment and retention practices.

Membership will be in the spotlight at NAHB’s National Conference on Membership in San Antonio on Oct. 20-22 at the Westin La Cantera Resort.

The conference is devoted to a wide range of membership topics and enables attendees to participate in interactive breakout sessions on issues related to recruitment and retention, marketing and program development.

For more information on NAHB’s membership activities, e-mail Emily Fitzsimmons, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8354.

NAHB Funds Transforming Lives of Tsunami Victims

More than a year and a half since South Asia was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, the Home Builders Care/National Housing Endowment-Tsunami Shelter Fund is seeing results from its efforts to support reconstruction as well as training to enable communities to participate in the rebuilding, Bob Mitchell, 2000 NAHB president, told the association’s board of directors in Salt Lake City last month.

The Shelter Fund was directly responsible for building 71 homes housing more than 200 people in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Mitchell said, the first permanent homes to be built in the village following the disaster.

“We were the first on the ground, providing housing for these desperate families,” he said. “We can proudly say that home builders are leaders, both in our own communities and those thousands of miles away.”

The project was spearheaded by Shelter for Life, which, along with Habitat for Humanity, was one of the two organizations chosen to receive the NAHB relief funds.

Because of NAHB’s immediate and substantial donation to Shelter for Life, Mitchell said that the charity was able to attract more money to the local rebuilding effort, and to date the association’s donation has been leveraged into another $100,000 in contributions, which will enable another 50 homes to be built.

In addition to providing physical structures, Mitchell noted that the rebuilding “has provided a paying wage and the dignity that comes with employment to workers whose jobs were lost as a result of the tsunami.”

Of the donations to the Shelter Fund, more than $47,000 was spent locally to pay for labor and $184,000 in materials were purchased.

A donation of $75,000 from NAHB and the National Housing Endowment to Habitat for Humanity International’s affiliate in India has created the NAHB Home Builders Care Disaster Response Technical Center in Kanyakumari, a region in which the tsunami killed 798 people in 33 coastal villages, resulting in the loss of more than 14,000 jobs, Mitchell said.

Since it was created in May, the center has been facilitating repair and renovation of homes along the coast, where 6,500 homes were destroyed or damaged. To date, with the manpower of local workers who have been given construction training, 1,510 out of a planned 4,045 homes have been completed.

The center in Kanyakumari has run 45 programs that have provided 549 participants training in construction and other employable skills. A component of the training focusing on women who lost their husbands has taught masonry skills to 35 widows who have worked on repairing 211 homes in two villages, Mitchell said.

The center will also train 100 women and youths over the next three years to be construction supervisors on small residential contracts. Within five years, the goal is to train 600 supervisors.

“The work done and the lives changed through our leadership embody the very philosophy of Home Builders Care,” said Mitchell, “and I am incredibly proud to be part of this outstanding effort.”

For more information, e-mail Niki Clark at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8061.

Free NAHB Video Instructs How to Deal With the Media

A free, new video from NAHB provides members and HBAs pointers on how to talk to reporters when contacted for interviews for stories.

The video, “Communicating Effectively with the Media,” and an accompanying tip sheet, can be accessed on the “members only” side of the NAHB Web site by clicking here.

With home building a top issue among local, regional and national news organizations, the quick, seven-minute video summarizes what to do when contacted by a reporter; how to prepare for an interview; how to respond to reporters' questions; how to avoid common mistakes people make when conducting an interview; and more.{{MORE}}

The video also provides a superb refresher to NAHB’s spokesperson training program.

The following are some helpful pointers from the video and tip sheet:

General Media Tips to Remember

  • As a general rule of thumb, don’t answer a reporter’s question if you do not know the answer or are unprepared. Give yourself time to prepare for the interview and then answer the questions.


What to Do When Contacted by a Reporter

  • Get the reporter’s name and phone number, and then set up a mutually convenient time for the interview.
  • Find out what story the reporter is working on so you can prepare for the interview.


Tips for the Interview

  • Jot down notes on note cards with main points that you want to address. This will help you remember numbers/statistics or a Web address, etc.
  • Give clear, concise answers to questions and wait for follow-up questions.
  • Admit when you don’t know the answer. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t.


Some Other Pointers

  • Never say, “No comment.” Instead, explain why you cannot answer a question.
  • Never go “off the record.”
  • Avoid jargon. Use words readers or the audience will understand.


More tips are available on the video and tip sheet.

To access the new NAHB media relations video and tip sheet, visit www.nahb.org/mediaguide on the “members only” side of the NAHB Web site.

In addition to the media relations video, NAHB offers a host of other public relations resources tools, including a PR Toolkit, spokesperson training and talking points on relevant issues. All of these resources can be found on the NAHB Web site by clicking here. Or, contact NAHB Public Relations for help.

For information, e-mail Paul Lopez at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8409.

GM $500 Off Exclusive Offer for NAHB Members

During 2006, qualifying NAHB members are eligible for a $500 offer on most GM vehicles.

Throughout 2006, qualifying NAHB members are eligible for a $500 exclusive offer on most GM passenger cars, light-duty trucks, vans and SUVs.

  • All eight GM nameplates are included in the offer — Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn, Saab and HUMMER.

  • Vehicles excluded from this offer are Cadillac XLR and XLR-V, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and SSR, HUMMER H1 Alpha, and Pontiac Solstice. Medium duty trucks are also excluded.

  • The $500 exclusive offer can be combined with most retail national and regional incentives in effect at the time of delivery.

For complete details, visit www.gmfleet.com/nahb.

The program runs through Jan. 3. 2007.

GM NAHB Affinity Cards and details on this offer were mailed directly to NAHB members from GM, and members should use the affinity card when purchasing a qualifying vehicle.

Members who have misplaced or otherwise do not have a GM NAHB Affinity Card may print out their own replacement cards in order to show member verification to a GM dealer. Note: Members must be logged in to www.nahb.org in order to print their replacement card.

Members with a www.nahb.org login should go to www.nahb.org/MA and click on the “GM Exclusive Offer.” This will take members to a Web page with program details and instructions for printing a replacement card. 

There are also instructions for members who do not have a login (they will be sent to www.nahb.com/loginGM and returned to the page to get a replacement card).

For more information, e-mail Tiffany Smith at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8273.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For the most up-to-date details on the Member Advantage discount program and all of the participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/MA.


Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

UPS Offers Up to 30% Discount to NAHB Members on Shipping

NAHB and UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, have joined forces to offer NAHB members discounts of up to 30% on shipping.

The NAHB shipping discounts include domestic air and ground, international export and international import. 

Association members can also take advantage of hassle-free on-line shipping, 24/7 access and advanced package tracking at your fingertips.

NAHB members are eligible for discounts up to 30% to help manage costs with no catch — and no minimums.

The shipping discounts — which increase the more packages or letters the user sends — will be applied once enrollment is complete.

The enrollment process is fast and easy and is available to NAHB members through the Web site: www.savewithups.com/nahb.  

For more information on UPS savings and the complete Member Advantage program, visit www.nahb.org/MA.



Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

Find Key Employees Through the NAHB Online Career Center

   

NAHB is hosting an online building industry-oriented career center that provides members with a cost-effective recruiting solution that makes locating qualified candidates and advertising open positions faster and easier.

NAHB members using the NAHB Career Center will receive a 20% discount off of standard rates for job postings. For a complete listing of all rates, click here

The career center can be found on:

  • NAHB's Web site by visiting www.nahb.org/careers.
  • Nation’s Building News "NAHB Career Center" section. The career center is a regular feature of Nation's Building News.


The career center was created in collaboration with ConstructionJobs.com, a leading employment resource for the construction, design and building industries.

Career center features that give members a competitive edge include :

  • More than 28,000 construction and engineering candidates
  • More than 2,500 new resumes posted monthly
  • More than 150,000 visitors to the center per month
  • Dedicated customer service


Nation’s Building News readers can visit the site by using the NAHB Career Center tab at the bottom of the issue’s headlines, or by going to the NAHB Web site or www.nahb.org/careers.

Calendar of Events

Oct. 18-21

Remodeling Show 2006

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 18   

CGR Reception

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20

Remodelor™ of the Year Award

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20

Remodelors™ Council CADRE Award

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20   

Remodelors™ Council Gala

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20-22

National Conference on Membership

San Antonio, Texas

Oct. 25

Construction Forecast Conference — Fall 2006

Washington, D.C.

Oct. 27-29

2006 Custom Builder Symposium

Las Vegas, Nev.

Nov. 5-8

2006 Building Systems Councils SHOWCASE

Miami, Fla.

Nov. 6

Building Systems Councils Excellence in Marketing & Home
Design Awards

Miami, Fla.

Nov. 9-11   

State & Local Government Affairs Conference

New Orleans, La.

Nov. 12-14

Trade Mission to Vallarta/Nayarit, Mexico

Vallarta, Mexico

2007

 

 

Jan. 11

Innovation in Workforce Housing Awards

TBA

Feb. 6

Best in American Living Award

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 7-10

2007 International Builders' Show

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 7

Call for Entries: NCBC 2007 Awards of Excellence

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 7

EnergyValue Housing Awards

N/A

Feb. 8

National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award
for Outstanding Community Service

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 9

Remodelors™ Council Chairman's Dinner

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 9

Safety Award for Excellence Program

Orlando, Fla.

March 25

National Green Building Conference

St. Louis, Mo.

May 30

Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium

Denver, Colo.

June 6-10

Spring Board of Directors Meeting

Washington, D.C.

June 6

Legislative Conference

Washington, D.C.

To view more meetings and events information on the NAHB Web site, click here.



Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.