Nation's Building News Online: December 8, 2008

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Housing Stimulus Urged to Halt Erosion of U.S. Economy

Leading one of the largest coalitions of housing advocates ever assembled in the United States, NAHB is pushing for a housing stimulus plan that will stabilize the marketplace and address the ongoing crisis in the financial markets that is constraining the flow of credit the nation needs to arrest a deepening recession.

Almost 100 organizations, home building companies and manufacturers have joined in support of Fix Housing First, which is pressing for legislative action to provide short-term, targeted incentives that will encourage consumers to buy homes again and end the dangerous downward housing market spiral that has now taken hold of the entire U.S. economy.

As the key ingredients of a housing recovery plan to revive the American economy, NAHB, as part of the Fix Housing First coalition, is urging the Congress to support enhancements to the home buyer tax credit and provide below-market 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for home purchases.

"In 1975, Congress passed a short-term $2,000 tax credit for all new homes ($12,000 adjusted for today's median home prices) coupled with subsidized mortgage rates," according to the coalition. "The stimulus jump started the depressed economy and the effects continued long after the measure expired."

"Entering this holiday season, we saw a sobering loss of more than half a million jobs in November, and major job cutbacks among the nation's top employers are being announced daily," said NAHB President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Howard. "We need to put a stop to this dangerous erosion on Main Street before it grows out of control. Fixing housing is the obvious starting point for putting the country back to work and restoring confidence in the inherent strength of our economy," he said.

"We are leaving no stone unturned in conveying to our government and the public the message that a housing stimulus is urgently needed, and that restoring demand for housing is the fastest and most effective way of reviving the economy," Howard said.

In the opening weeks of this month, NAHB's lobbying, grassroots, public affairs and economic advocacy team has been providing support to the "Fix Housing Now" endeavor by conducting high-level meetings with key staff members on Capitol Hill and President-elect Obama's transition team; communicating with top members of the current Administration, including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart; alerting NAHB members of the critical importance of the stimulus campaign; stepping up news media coverage; and working with the coalition on full-page advetisements in major publications.

The housing stimulus proponents are calling for significant enhancements to the current $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers. Among the improvements:

  • All primary home purchases between April 9, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009 would be eligible.

  • The credit amount would be increased to 10% of the price of the home, capped at 3.5% of FHA loan limits, bringing the credit to a range of roughly between $10,000 and $22,000.

  • The current recapture provision would be eliminated. Repayment would only be required if the home were sold within three years.

  • The credit would be available at the time of closing, making it easier to be used as a downpayment.


The second component of the stimulus plan would provide home buyers with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 2.99% on contracts closed until June 30, 2009 and 3.99% on closings between June 30 and Dec. 31, 2009.

The coalition has also announced its support for continuing foreclosure prevention measures to keep people in their homes.

The housing stimulus, the coalition predicts, would stop the fall in home values and encourage prospective home buyers who have been sitting on the fence to return to the market, giving a boost to home sales and soon energizing the economy and creating new job opportunities.

Fix Housing First points out that 3 million home building-related jobs have been lost as a result of the slowdown in housing production, which represents $145 billion in lost wages and $4.9 billion in lost purchases. Deterioration in these jobs has now spilled over into virtually all sectors of the U.S. job market.

“Thousands (and soon to be millions) of jobs across all industries have been lost as a result of the housing crisis,” the coalition says. “Consumers have stopped purchasing, and small businesses are failing. Time is of the essence — single-day market changes can quickly wipe out the $700 billion economic recovery plan.”

To learn more about Fix Housing First, click here.

NAHB Advises Obama Transition Team on Housing Policy

Along with its efforts to lead a national campaign to "Fix Housing First" with a stimulus plan to restore home buying demand, NAHB has prepared an analysis of key housing policy issues for President-elect Barack Obama so his Administration can hit the ground running next month in addressing the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression.

“As we have seen in previous business cycles, housing has led the general economy into recession and it will be needed to lead the economy back on the road to recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “Unfortunately, the financial turmoil experienced this fall has dealt a terrible blow to consumer confidence and it is seriously eroding the credit home builders must have to survive the coming year. Without a helping hand from Washington, we are facing even more perilous times.”

“Key data on gross and net home sales, housing starts, building permits, residential construction activity and inventory overhang still paint a downbeat picture of the U.S. housing market,” NAHB says in its analysis for the Presidential Transition Project.

“The recent downward momentum in housing markets is bound to extend into 2009, aided by a weakening national economy and stringent financial market conditions,” the report notes. “And, of course, there is still a daunting overhang of vacant housing units on both for-sale and for-rent components of the housing market. Consequently, NAHB has recently trimmed its estimates of new-home sales and housing starts for the balance of this year and for 2009.”

The slump in residential construction and related activity — which in normal times account for about 14% to 15% of the gross domestic product — will continue to exert heavy downward pressure on U.S. economic activity through the middle of next year, NAHB analysts warn. Based on the assumption that housing conditions will begin to show signs of improvement in the second half of 2009, housing growth should then begin to provide “mild support” to GDP growth.

However, “that switch in direction is essential to the beginnings of economic recovery in the latter part of next year,” the report to the incoming Administration says. “The situation cries out for a second stage of temporary economic stimulus, directed squarely at the sector that is at the root of the daunting problems facing the U.S. economy and the financial system: housing.”

Restoring the Housing Finance System

In addition to addressing the crisis at hand, the NAHB report to President-elect Obama lays out a broad range of policies — in housing finance, tax policy, minority homeownership, energy, land use and more — that will be needed to restore the health of the nation’s home building industry over the longer term.

Of particular concern, the report finds, are efforts to restore the housing finance system in the aftermath of the “jolting dislocations” in 2007 and 2008.

“It is essential for the federal government to continue to provide a sound underpinning for the U.S. housing finance system,” the report says. “As demonstrated in the current financial crisis, the private sector cannot be counted on to provide and maintain a consistent and reliable flow of affordable housing credit.

“As the Administration considers changes to the U.S. housing finance system, NAHB urges it to consider the following:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should retain sufficient federal backing to allow them to reduce mortgage rates and fees.

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should focus on the core business of securitizing mortgages and holding portfolio loans that do not have a secondary market outlet in order to provide reliable mortgage market liquidity and ongoing support for affordable housing initiatives.

  • FHA should be restructured as an independent government corporation, within HUD and separate from Ginnie Mae, that would continue its current mission of supporting liquidity, innovation and continuity in the housing finance markets by providing mortgage insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

  • FHA should be freed from federal government constraints on hiring, personnel management and procurement, and should have flexibility to develop and modify programs to react promptly to market developments and needs.”

 

Lending Horror Stories Proliferate in Florida

In its efforts to focus attention on lending practices that are pushing solvent, credit-worthy home builders to the brink of financial disaster, the Florida Home Builders Association has documented real-life cases from around the state in which the industry’s ability to provide housing is being placed in jeopardy.

“Banks are making additional capital calls, and they are calling loans not in default, eliminating lines of credit, and in many cases, altogether doing away with construction finance,” said Jay Carlson, president of the association.

“Many of the builders affected by these extreme lending practices survived the recession of the early 1990s and the downturn of 2000. They have superior credit records, pay their loans and bills on time, they employ thousands of Floridians, and have good, solid business practices,” Carlson said.

“Yet many of them are only 30 to 60 days away from closing their doors for good,” he said. “That will result in thousands of more Floridians joining unemployment lines, and the state’s budget will lose even more critically needed revenue.”

More than 75,000 construction-related jobs have been lost in the state just over the past year.

Among the current lending crisis stories reported by the Florida home builders at the end of last month:

  • Beverly Hills: A respected workforce housing builder in Citrus County was seeking a renewal/extension on his $6.5 million development loan. Initially the bank indicated that it would renew the loan and was proceeding with sending loan documents for processing. However, the bank then sent the builder a notice of non-renewal. During the time he was waiting for the extension, the bank was scheduled to make previously approved construction draws. That never happened. The loan was then placed into the high-risk special asset category even though it was current and not in default. Now the bank has called the loan to be paid in full.

  • Bonita Springs: A leading custom home builder in Lee County has had his lines of credit frozen even though all of his loans are current and not past due. Some of his banks are reappraising his properties and wanting loan reductions based on new appraisals. Other banks want either principal reductions without reappraisals or proceeds from sales. One lender is raising his interest rate from prime plus 1/2 of a percentage point to prime plus 2.5%. In effect, this builder has been left without available funds to actually build homes on his sites.

  • Englewood: A workforce housing builder with 40 years experience as a general contractor is in danger of losing his business. With a credit score of 848, and having never been late on loan repayments, this builder is four weeks into a 60-day call on a $2.5 million loan. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) took over his bank in receivership four weeks ago. Nearly $50,000 in approved and inspected draws was to have been made the day the FDIC took over the bank. Instead, the FDIC froze all accounts, is not paying out the draws and has called in the loan. The clock is ticking on his 60-day payment date. It should be noted that this builder primarily sells FHA/VA homes and the homes are sold for a turn-key price of $129,000.

  • Estero: A development company has seen its rarely used lines of credit reduced from $150,000 to $75,000. Now the credit lines are up for review and the developer has been told that the bank will likely not renew them. If by some chance they are renewed, the bank will require additional real estate as collateral — at a time when most real estate in this region is upside down so there won’t be additional collateral available.

  • Miami: A large-volume South Florida company has received capital calls on all of the loans it has with various lending institutions. It paid the first loan call-in of $3 million but was unable to immediately pay the second call, thus forcing the loan into default. Attempts to outline a workout plan with this bank have gone unanswered. A third bank performed a discounted appraisal based on the sales pace and concluded that it needed a $2.8 million principal reduction on its loan. This loan has gone into default and has been sent to the “special assets department” even though interest payments are being made. A fourth bank is calling in a $2.4 million loan. A fifth bank is now threatening a loan call. Recent financing changes are making the current downtrend in valuations worse, and the company is concerned that its business will not survive 2009 unless the situation improves soon.

  • St. Cloud/Orlando: A seasoned small-volume home builder under contract with individual borrowers is being refused rightfully owed construction draws from his bank. The individual borrowers closed on their construction loans so that the builder could construct homes on their lots. However, the bank placed these loans into a “special asset department” even though they were being paid on time and were not in default. Now the bank is holding back 20% of the funds instead of the typical 10%, and it has indicated that if a future draw inspection results in anything greater than 80% completion, the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and other final documents will be required. For example, if the builder were at 72% completion yet the inspection found an 82% completion, then the builder would need to pay the impact fees, obtain the CO and hand over an 80% finished house, leaving no funds to pay subcontractors and trade partners.

  • Pensacola: A long-time developer with a small development loan recently had to pay down the loan to current value after his bank conducted a reappraisal of his 2004 approved and funded loan. Prior to the reappraisal, the development was progressing without problems, and 210 lots were pre-sold. The pay-down cost the developer and his partner $4 million. In addition, many of the 210 pre-sold lot owners are now closing on their homes; however bank financing has become so strict that the pre-sales are falling apart. Instead of the typical downpayment, banks are now requiring up to 50% down.

  • Tampa: A well-established Tampa Bay area small-volume builder has two outstanding loans. One bank is treating him well; the other is not. This builder has a $1.8 million bank loan covering pre-built units that he has not been able to sell under current market conditions. The builder and his attorney approached the bank asking it to consider a sale at less than the loan amount, among other options. The bank has not responded. The loan matured on Aug. 31; however the bank never contacted the builder to extend the loan or to discuss it. On Oct. 14, he received a default/demand letter to pay the loan in full or face legal action.

 

Read Our International Builders' Show Preview on Dec. 15

Nation's Building News will be publishing a special issue on Dec. 15 that will highlight the upcoming 2009 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, the largest residential and light commercial trade show in the world.

The issue will feature photos and floor plans of The New American Home, events, courses, schedules, products, special sessions on how to navigate the downturn and more.

IBS will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Jan. 20-23.

For more information, visit the International Builders' Show Web site at www.BuildersShow.com.

Read More in Nation’s Building News — Win a Full IBS Registration

Click on and read five or more stories in this issue of Nation’s Building News and you automatically will be entered in a contest to win a full registration to the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 20-23.

Full registration — $425 for members and $575 for non-members — gives attendees access to four days of exhibits on one million net square feet of exhibit space, all the educational sessions at IBS and new, daily-featured speakers who will give you pointers on how to navigate the downturn.

Continue Reading the Industry News That Is Important to You

There are no forms or paperwork to fill out to enter this contest. Just read more about what’s important to you and your business in Nation’s Building News each week.

One avid reader will be selected randomly each week through the Dec. 22 issue. So read more in every issue until then to improve your chances of winning — and to put your business in a better position during the downturn.

Each issue of Nation’s Building News brings your the latest information on what policymakers are doing in Washington, economic forecasts, business management, lumber prices, problem-solving floor plans, sales and marketing, the Builder’s Show and more.

Nation’s Building News brings housing news you can use to your desktop each week, and by reading more of it, you’ll be automatically entered in the IBS registration contest.

Low Rates Produce Housing Interest

Lenders and mortgage brokers across the Louisville, Ky. metro area say they have seen a sharp increase in home buying activity since the Federal Reserve announced last month that it will buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-related assets. Loan applications have nearly doubled at Louisville-based Republic Bank since the government’s announcement, said bank CEO Steve Trager. Kathy McGann, managing broker of Re/Max Properties East, said there has been an increase in traffic at open houses, and more written purchase offers, since interest rates dropped below the 6% level. “It’s definitely warmed things up,” said McGann, whose office has 110 agents. Demand for housing will increase if rates stay low, giving consumers a better chance of selling their existing home perhaps at a higher price, said Dan Bauer, dean of the Rubel School of Business at Ballarmine University. (www.courier-journal.com)
Louisville Courier-Journal (12/8/08); Alex Davis

Long-Term Numbers Tell a Different Story

The latest federal statistics on housing prices in hundreds of local markets reveal patterns that haven’t been making the news. While on a national basis home owners have lost more than $1 trillion in equity since the end of the boom, the overwhelming majority of markets continue to show net cumulative value growth over the past 60 months. According to the third-quarter survey released Nov. 25 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, out of 292 metro markets, 273 showed positive net home values over the course of the previous five years, while 19 were negative. Nationally, the survey found prices down 4% over the year, but still up almost 29% over five years. Unlike stocks, where your asset values can go from peak to zero in a matter of weeks, house values tend to be far slower moving, and can be more durable over extended periods. Buy a house and hold onto it for five to 10 years in all but the most severely depressed local economies, and you’re likely to see positive growth in its value, even if a rough patch of price deflation intervenes. For example, In Washington, D.C. and much of its suburbs, an area that saw a 12.5% price decline in the past year, the cumulative gain for home owners over the past 60 months has been 43.7%. If you bought a $300,000 house in mid-2003, in other words, it’s likely to be worth about $431,100, despite this year’s drop.  (www.washingtonpost.com)
Washington Post (12/6/2008); Kenneth R. Harney

Oklahoma City Mayor Pumps Up Local Home Market

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett pumped up Oklahoma City as a top-tier market for home purchase and mortgage accessibility today. On the Miliken Institute’s recently released list of best performing cities, Oklahoma City climbed 50 spots from the previous year and was one of the biggest gainers. “Confidence is what leads people to buy a house, and the more you look at this data you realize that people in Oklahoma City and in the metro area have every reason to be confident and to still be pursuing homes and to continue to invest in real estate,” Cornett said. “All the factors are there. The Oklahoma City economy has slowed somewhat, but it’s still doing much better than everyone else. Our housing prices are still going up and the rest of the country looks at Oklahoma City with some level of envy.” Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s Roy Williams said the federal government announced that Oklahoma was the number one state for home-value gains and that Oklahoma City was one of the top 35 metro areas relative to home values. (www.okcbusiness.com)
OKC Business (11/25/08); Pamela Grady

A Spending Plan Is Crucial, Boston Fed Chief Says

The U.S. financial system won’t return to normal until credit flows more freely, the housing market stabilizes and the federal government enacts a massive spending package to stimulate the economy, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren told a risk management conference in Geneva on Dec. 8. “Given that interest rates cannot be negative, further monetary policy actions are limited,” Rosengarten said. “Many observers and commentators are suggesting that fiscal stimulus will be an important element of the economic recovery.” Conditions have improved over the past several months because of the Feds’ actions, but credit markets remain under stress, he said. Short-term loans that finance business operations are still harder and more expensive to get, he added. Meanwhile, efforts to stem the rise in foreclosures and stabilize housing markets have made “relatively modest progress” because of rising unemployment and continued declines in home prices, Rosengren said. “We need to see some improvement in the housing market. Stabilization in house prices and a drop in foreclosures would help the overall economy, as well as the banking sector,” he said. (www.boston.com)
Boston Globe (12/8/08); Robert Gavin

Builders Reinventing Roles Out of Necessity

In today’s challenging times, residential builders continue to tap their other skills to diversify and make ends meet while they wait out the worst housing market since the Depression. Most of them, at least right now, say they plan to keep a foot in the sideline businesses to ease the pain of any future downturns. Curtis Perlman of Empeco Custom Builders has tapped into the knowledge of property tax assessments he’s gained as a home builder and as an owner of several rental properties in Lake County, Ill. Now working with an appraiser and a real estate attorney, Perlman has hung out his shingle to do property tax appeals. Primarily through word of mouth, he’s generated a fair share of consumers as clients, but he’s also won business from some of his home-building competitors sitting on empty lots. Perlman, like a lot of other builders, also has made the natural progression into remodeling. “There’s always going to be people who will remodel because they like where they live and don’t want to move,” said Bryan Nooner, chairman and chief executive of Distinctive Cos., an Orland Park-based home builder. Remodeling companies also benefit, he noted, from home owners who would like a new house but can’t qualify for a mortgage. So, instead, they obtain a line of credit and tinker with their existing homes. Nooner, who has launched remodeling and landscape divisions this year, had to school employees on how to work in a house with people living in it, rather than build in an empty subdivision. He also had to investigate the legal issues involved with remodeling. He hopes to make the sideline business a larger part of the company’s revenues in the long term because remodeling doesn’t involve carrying land costs and his profit margins are similar to those in home building.(www.chicagotribune.com)
Chicago Tribune (12/5/08); Mary Ellen Podmolik

Builder Giving Away House at Eagles Game

Pulte Homes Inc.’s Delaware Valley Division will give away a $300,000 home — or that amount toward the purchase of one of its more-expensive houses in one of its 17 communities — during the Browns vs. Birds game at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 15. More than 4,000 Eagles fans registered on the Eagles’ Web site to be one of three picked at random to toss a regulation NFL football through a hole in a miniature Pulte Hampton model home from 20 yards away. Gopal Ahluwalia, vice president of research at NAHB, said he had never heard of another builder actually giving away a house in such a way in his three decades with the association. “Yikes,” said Marshall Granor, a principal in Granor Price Homes in Horsham, Pa. “I have seen free cars — in the old days, it was a Yugo; now I’ve seen ads for a free Porsche or Mercedes,” but never a whole house. “I guess Pulte believes the positive vibes will generate enough traffic for their salespeople to catch a few undecided buyers,” Granor said. “I think it is a big gamble, but it’s innovative.” Still, he said, the publicity Pulte will reap from national television exposure and among Eagles’ fans is probably worth several times the builder’s outlay.” (www.philly.com)
Philadelphia Inquirer (12/4/08); Alan J. Heavens

We Must Put a Stop to Falling Home Values

Stephen L. Hodgkins
The following white paper was prepared for a meeting last month with NAHB Senior Officers and leaders of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association to discuss the housing crisis and efforts to address it through the Fix Housing First coalition.

The decline in single-family home values is the predominate reason for the current economic collapse. Falling values have decimated the single-family construction industry, which normally supplies roughly 16% of the gross national product of the United States.

At the height of the housing boom, developers and home builders were buying land, developing lots and building houses based on an economy fueled by subprime mortgages. They neither asked for nor were even aware of this giant social experiment conceived by our political leaders and the heads of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As entrepreneurs and job creators, home builders were simply responding to perceived market conditions. Likewise, their banks and financial partners were making decisions based on historical market data.

After the subprime loans were pulled out of the marketplace, builders were left with large inventories of land, lots and houses and far fewer buyers who were able to qualify. The leveraged developers were forced to go to their banks and try to negotiate terms that would allow them to operate in an environment of reduced market demand. This put pressure on the local, regional and national banks who were engaged in asset-based lending. This was exacerbated by bank regulators’ insistence on these assets being marked to market, based on present value appraisals.

In addition to this loss in the value of the banks’ collateral, there has been a more subtle decline in the value of collateral in consumer loan departments. HELOCs — or home equity lines of credit — became a popular way for banks to make secured consumer loans, and it is easy to see what declining home values have done to this line of bank business. Bank bailouts are simply Band-Aids and will only delay the inevitable unless the decline of home values is curtailed.

Loss of value has also hugely affected the confidence of the American consumer, whose home equity typically represents the family’s largest financial asset. The deterioration of home values and resulting loss of net worth have made the consumer reluctant to commit to large purchases. It is not a reach to say that a turnaround in the automobile industry won’t be possible until home values stabilize.

The question, then, is how do we halt the decline in home values?

The first step is to recognize the primary elements affecting home values. Although it is commonly held that location, location, location is what determines value, there is nothing more important than financing, financing, financing. More than 98% of all real estate transactions involve some type of financing, and it is the loss of long-term financing that has caused the recent downturn in values. Bailing out commercial banks won’t help solve the problem of getting capital back into long-term mortgages, because banks by design rarely make commitments beyond 60 months.

This is the first economic downturn in the last 30 years in which long-term interest rates have not dropped significantly. In the usual cycle, sales slow and then rates drop, encouraging buyers back into the market to purchase homes with more affordable monthly payments. In this downturn, Treasury yields have fallen significantly while mortgage rates have not followed suit.

Older Americans who remember the 14% to 16% mortgage rates that were prevalent in the early 1980s may think today’s interest rates are good. Unfortunately, today’s rates are creating no sense of urgency among the young buyers who need to enter the home buying market. There is no doubt that lower mortgage rates would bring buyers back into the market.

Based on historical trends, long-term mortgage rates should be in the 4.5% to 5% range when compared to long-term Treasury bills. Because of investor reluctance to commit to mortgage-backed securities, rates have stayed higher. A reduction in mortgage rates to 4.5% would bring many qualified buyers back into the market. For example, payments on a 4.5%, $270,000 mortgage are $339, or 20%, lower than on the same loan at 6.5%. That’s the equivalent of a $60,000 reduction in the price of the home. Applying the general mortgage qualifying rule that housing costs should be around 25% of gross income, a purchaser could qualify for the 4.5%, $270,000 mortgage with $16,000 less annual income than at 6.5%.

The problem is: how do we get mortgage rates down and how do we get potential buyers qualified? The following is a list of recommendations to get buyers into houses that will also help those people who are saddled with punitive adjustable-rate mortgages stay in their homes:

  1. In addition to the interest rate, a major obstacle in achieving homeownership is the required downpayment. The present $7,500 tax credit could be used to fund the home buyer’s downpayment on FHA loans if it were restructured. The present credit does not help fund downpayments because the funds are not received by the buyer until their income tax refund is received. The credit must be made available to buyers at closing so it can be used to fund their downpayment and closing costs. The loan repayment aspect of the tax credit should also be eliminated so that it is a true tax credit. The credit should also be increased to $15,000 and set up on a graduating scale, going from $15,000 in January, to $12,500 in February, $10,000 in March and $7,500 in April through July.

    The timing of the credit and its diminishing value would create a sense of urgency to encourage buyers into the market quickly. The tax credit should also be available for all home purchases and should not be limited to first-time home buyers.

  2. Lenders should be encouraged to use a loan approval model that is based on common-sense underwriting by experienced bankers rather than a model that emphasizes credit scores. Credit scores can be manipulated and are not true indicators of a borrower’s creditworthiness. For example, a borrower who has medical bills is probably more creditworthy than a borrower who has excessive debt because of poor spending habits. Their credit scores might be the same, but common sense says otherwise. Common-sense underwriting should not be replaced with computer models that remove flexibility in approving loans.

  3. The quickest and most efficient way to get rates down to the 4%-5% range is to convince investors to invest in mortgage-backed securities. A way to do that is to offer mortgage-backed securities with tax-free income. These securities would be similar to Ginnie Mae securities, except that the income to the investor would have no federal tax consequences. These securities would fund FHA/VA loans in the 4% to 5% range. The mortgages generated from these securities should be limited to purchases and to borrowers who are in trouble because of high adjustable-rate mortgages. This would help control the cost of the program, encourage purchases and keep the mortgage system from getting bogged down with refinances.

  4. The use of tax-free mortgage-backed securities could be implemented quickly by requiring FHA insurance or a VA guaranty on the loans. This would make it imperative to set FHA loans at their statutory maximum amounts. An example of this need can be found here in Shelby County, Tenn., where the FHA loan limit is $271,000 compared to $417,000 in the Nashville area. The archaic formulas that dictate loan limits should be done away with and common-sense limits should be used. A higher loan maximum would help a larger segment of the market and generate more income for HUD.


In conclusion, the erosion in the value of single-family homes must be stopped for the economy to begin to recover. Decisive and dramatic action must be taken for this to happen. The above ideas are realistic and will work if they are implemented.

Steve Hodgkins is the president-elect of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association and the founder of Oaktree Homes, LLC.

New Single-Family Home Sales Down 5.3% in October

Sales of new single-family homes declined 5.3% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Nov. 25.

“The drop in new home sales comes as no surprise,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “Housing starts in October and NAHB’s most recent Housing Market Index, which gauges builder sentiment about the market, were at record lows. And the extreme turmoil in the financial markets in October definitely undermined consumer confidence and served as a drag on demand for housing.”

Although the new home sales rate declined in October, the Commerce Department reported that home builders are making progress in reducing the number of unsold units on the market, said NAHB’s Chief Economist David Crowe.

“The number of new homes for sale dropped from 414,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 381,000. Builders are doing what they need to do to get the market moving again, including cutting prices to the bone, offering incentives and decreasing production,” Crowe said.

“However, more needs to be done,” he said. “An economic stimulus package that includes measures to spur home buying and stem the tide of foreclosures is essential to the housing market and to the nation’s economy. More specifically, Congress should consider significant consumer incentives such as expanding the first-time home buyer tax credit and providing a government buy-down of mortgage interest rates for home purchasers.”

Regionally, new home sales declined 18% in the West and 6% in the South in October. Sales in the Northeast increased by 22.6% from an unusually low rate the previous month, and sales in the Midwest climbed 6%.



Construction Forecast Conference Webcast Available

An on-demand webcast of the 2008 Fall Construction Forecast Conference is available for purchase.

The webcast fee includes access to the webcast archive and electronic copies of the conference handout and presentation materials. Multiple viewers in one office can purchase the webcast for one fee.

The on-demand webcast also gives viewers complete flexibility in their viewing experience — pause, skip forward and backward, or jump directly to your topics of interest.

To purchase and download the webcast, click here.

 


 

Want to Know the Housing Forecast for the Top 100 Metros? 

Find out in HousingEconomic.com’s 2008 to 2009 Metro Forecast (free preview).

Get the metro forecast with in-depth analysis, overviews and downloadable Excel tables.

To learn more, visit www.HousingEconomics.com.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Eye on the Economy: Affordability Is Improving, But Other Forces Rule

On Dec. 1, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) identified December 2007 as the end of the previous economic expansion and the beginning of the current economic recession.

This means that the previous expansion was a little more than six years long and that we’ve been in the current recession for about a year.

The NBER business cycle experts rely on a variety of monthly indicators of domestic production and employment to figure out cyclical peaks and troughs in the U.S. economy.

As usual, payroll employment growth was crucial to identifying the transition from expansion to recession. Employment peaked last December and has declined every month since then.

The cumulative decline through October came to nearly 1.2 million jobs, and the monthly pattern of decline generally has been worsening as the year has progressed.

The Recession Is Deepening as 2008 Draws to a Close

The recession definitely is deepening at this time. Rapidly rising claims for unemployment compensation point toward further large losses of payroll employment in both November and December, and the unemployment rate is bound to rise further from the 6.5% level reported for October.

With respect to overall economic output in the U.S., the third-quarter decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) recently has been revised to -0.5%.

Furthermore, the composition of that report, particularly a major downshift in consumer spending, has negative implications for the final quarter of the year.

We now expect real GDP to contract at nearly a 5% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the deepest decline since the first quarter of 1982.

We still expect the trough of the current recession to occur around the middle of 2009, assuming a lot of help from the Federal Reserve and a large fiscal stimulus package early next year.

There is a high probability that this recession will turn out to be the longest of the postwar period, surpassing the 16-month recession in 1973 to 1975.

The Contraction in Housing Production Is Weighing Heavily on the Economy.

Housing production in the GDP accounts (residential fixed investment) and employment in residential construction (builders and specialty trade contractors) have been contracting substantially since the early part of 2006. Furthermore, there’s no apparent letup on either front for the balance of this year or early 2009.

Starts of new housing units still are tumbling downward from their early-2006 peaks, particularly in the single-family sector.

Single-family starts fell by 3.3% in October to a level that was down by 71% from the peak in January 2006. Single-family starts for the month were also the lowest since October 1981.

Issuance of single-family permits declined even more sharply in October, leaving the level 74% below the cyclical peak in the fall of 2005 and the lowest since the early 1980s.

Not surprisingly, the value of residential construction put-in-place declined by 3.5% in October (nominal terms), paced by a whopping 4.6% contraction in the single-family component.

All this adds up to another major hit to real GDP from residential fixed investment in the fourth quarter of this year, contributing heavily to the steep decline we’re now projecting for the overall economy in that period.

New-Home Demand Still Is Weakening

Sales of new homes continued to trend downward in October, falling by 5.3% for the month and by 40% on a year-over-year basis. Indeed, new-home sales now are down by 69% from their cyclical peak in July 2005.

NAHB’s single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) fell to 9 in November, a new record low 9. The series was begun in January 1985.

The November reading was five points below the previous low in October of this year and was down from 72 at the cyclical peak in June 2005.

All three HMI components — current sales, sales expectations and buyer traffic — were at record lows in November and new lows also were posted for all four regions of the country.

Preliminary tabulations point toward further broad-based erosion of the HMI in December.

Sales of existing single-family homes were down by 3.3% in October, although this series has essentially been rattling sideways since late last year.

However, foreclosure-related sales of existing homes have been rising sharply during this period, creating more and more cut-rate competition for home builders as those units have come onto the markets.

House Price Declines Still Are Deepening

National average house prices continued downward in the third quarter of the year, according to prominent repeat-sales price measures, and the rates of decline actually were larger than during the second quarter of the year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index was down by nearly 17% in the third quarter on a year-over-year basis, the largest such decline on record.

The month-to-month decline came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14%, a bit deeper than the second-quarter setback but still short of the declines registered in the final quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of this year.

The national purchase-only house price index that’s based on the conforming mortgage market — served by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and produced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency — showed a 6.02% decline on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter, the largest such decline on record. Furthermore, this price index fell at a 7.12% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the third quarter, also the largest decline on record.

The downward momentum in national average house prices is bound to extend through the balance of this year and into 2009. The fundamental weakness of housing demand, the rising tide of foreclosures and the persistently large numbers of vacant housing units on for-sale and for-rent markets will be putting downward pressure on house prices for some time.

Housing Affordability Is Improving, But Other Forces Rule

The stunning declines in house prices, combined with reasonably favorable prime home mortgage rates, have been boosting standard measures of affordability even as median family income has stagnated in a contracting economy.

For example, the National Association of Realtors® Housing Affordability Index for September was up by 17% from a year earlier, and all four regions showed substantial gains during that period.

Of course, the standard measures of housing affordability do not capture shifts in mortgage lending standards, and we know from the Fed’s quarterly surveys of senior bank lending officers that standards have been tightening considerably on all types of home mortgage loans — prime, subprime, Alt-A and “nontraditional” adjustable-rate contracts, including interest-only and payment-option varieties.

Nor do affordability measures capture household expectations of future house price movements or household perceptions of their own economic prospects.

Recent measures of consumer confidence definitely are in classic recession territory, and the recent NBER announcement that the U.S. has been in a recession since the end of last year can only further darken the mood of the American consumer.

While a variety of surveys show that Americans generally believe that house prices will grow nicely over the long term, the recent sharp declines in many areas undoubtedly have damaged shorter-term price expectations for many prospective home buyers.

The Fed Is Prepared to Deliver More Help to Financial Markets and the Economy

On Dec. 1, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a wide-ranging speech, “Federal Reserve Policies in the Financial Crisis,” explaining what the Fed has done so far on three major fronts — interest rate policy, liquidity policy and policies designed to stabilize the financial system.

While citing degrees of success on all three fronts, Bernanke stressed that the nation continues to face substantial risks to both financial stability and economic growth.

Looking forward, Bernanke conceded that, with the target federal funds rate already down to 1%, the scope for using conventional interest rate policies to support the economy is quite limited in the near term.

We still expect the Fed to drop the funds rate target to 0.5% at the Dec. 16 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, but that may very well be the low point for this cycle. Furthermore, the Fed seems committed to keeping the effective funds rate close to the announced target, rather than letting it run below target for extended periods of time.

Bernanke actually saw more potential for “the second arrow” in the Federal Reserve’s quiver, i.e., the provision of liquidity to the private sector to support the functioning of credit markets without dropping the federal funds rate.

The Fed has virtually unlimited capacity for such “quantitative easing,” and there’s virtually no limit to the size of the Fed’s balance sheet.

In this context, Bernanke spoke about Fed purchases of longer-term Treasury and agency securities in the open market, serving to force down market yields on such securities. He noted that the Fed had recently announced plans to buy both government sponsored enterprise (GSE) debt and GSE mortgage-backed securities, and that mortgage rates had fallen substantially by about half a percentage point after that announcement.

On the liquidity front, Bernanke also talked about direct support to specific financial market components — as recently done for the commercial paper market — allowing the Fed to sidestep banks and primary dealers and deal directly with borrowers or investors in key credit markets.

The Fed conceivably could deal with the conforming home mortgage market through such a purchase facility, putting further downward pressure on mortgage rates in the process.

The Fed also intends to move ahead with policies to stabilize the financial system, working with the Treasury, the FDIC and other agencies to take all steps necessary to minimize “systemic risks.”

Bernanke said that capital injections into the banking system, the FDIC’s guarantee program and the provision of liquidity by the Fed have already greatly reduced the risk that a “systemically important” financial institution will fail.

Policymakers obviously will continue to pursue that important objective during the difficult period ahead.

Fiscal Policy Will Heavily Determine the Performance of the Economy and Housing in 2009

The Fed, Treasury, FDIC and other federal agencies can do a lot to support the economy and improve the functioning of the financial system, and many foreign central banks are pulling out the stops on their fronts.

But massive fiscal stimulus is urgently needed to limit the dimensions of the deepening economic recession in the U.S. and to get the economy back on a positive growth track at some point during 2009.

As dismal economic data have piled up recently, the estimated size of a fiscal package sufficient to stabilize the situation has been growing by leaps and bounds.

It’s now become commonplace to talk about a fiscal stimulus package in the $500 to $700 billion range, around 4% of GDP. This, of course, is in addition to the previously enacted $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that’s supposed to stabilize and strengthen the financial system through capital injections to financial institutions, primarily banks and other means.

The market “consensus,” including NAHB, is looking for an aggressive combination of tax cuts and spending increases to be delivered early next year when the economy will be extremely vulnerable to a downward spiral in the absence of powerful fiscal stimulus.

There are a lot of candidates for inclusion in a fiscal stimulus package, of course, and high priority presumably will be given to unemployment insurance benefits, food stamps, aid to state and local governments and infrastructure spending.

Temporary tax cuts to help lower- and middle-income households and small businesses probably are in the cards as well. And the current marginal income tax rate schedule probably will be maintained for some time, avoiding rate increases at higher income levels.

The housing sector sorely needs targeted fiscal stimulus to bolster sales, limit foreclosures and keep home prices from seriously overshooting on the downside. Indeed, the overall economy will not stabilize until the housing sector hits bottom.

NAHB is aggressively promoting strong tax incentives for all home buyers, sizable federal buy-downs of home mortgage rates — possibly by the Fed — and maintenance of the FHA/GSE loan-size limits at $729,500 beyond the end of this year.

NAHB analyzes the economy from the point of view of the housing market every other week in the free e-newsletter, “Eye on the Economy.” The preceding is a reissue of the Dec. 3 edition. To subscribe to “Eye on the Economy,” click here.



Construction Forecast Conference Webcast Available

An on-demand webcast of the 2008 Fall Construction Forecast Conference is available for purchase.

The webcast fee includes access to the webcast archive and electronic copies of the conference handout and presentation materials. Multiple viewers in one office can purchase the webcast for one fee.

The on-demand webcast also gives viewers complete flexibility in their viewing experience — pause, skip forward and backward, or jump directly to your topics of interest.

To purchase and download the webcast, click here.



Want to Know the Housing Forecast for the Top 100 Metros? 

Find out in HousingEconomic.com’s 2008 to 2009 Metro Forecast (free preview).

Get the metro forecast with in-depth analysis, overviews and downloadable Excel tables.

To learn more, visit www.HousingEconomics.com.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Register for NAHB Room Rates at IBS by Dec. 12 and Save

Members who book their Las Vegas hotel reservations through the NAHB hotel block on the International Builders’ Show Web site are guaranteed the lowest block rate available, even if a lower rate becomes available after they have booked their rooms.

Under an agreement NAHB reached with all the hotels involved, if a lower NAHB room block rate becomes available after a member has reserved his room, the member will receive the lower rate at hotel check-out.

Registration for hotel rooms at NAHB hotel block rates ends on Friday, Dec. 12.

To register online, click here.

For more information about the Builders’ Show and to register, visit www.buildersshow.com.



Las Vegas Dining, Shopping and Sightseeing Guides Available at BuilderBooks.com

Dining, shopping and sightseeing “must-have guides” for those who want to get the most out of the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas are available at BuilderBooks.com.  

These comprehensive guides offer expert advice and trustworthy information on dining, shopping and entertainment for every budget.

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

Register Online for the 2009 Builders' Show in Las Vegas

Online registration for the 2009 International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas on Jan. 20-23 — the single, most important and largest industry event of the year — is now available.

This year, IBS will feature:

  • More than 1,700 exhibitors showcasing their latest products and services
  • More than 250 education sessions or programs designed to help members stay current on industry trends and issues


Full Registration

Full registration provides attendees with access to four days of exhibits on one million net square feet of exhibit space, all the educational sessions and new, daily-featured speakers.

Full registration for members is $425. 

Full registration for non-members is $575.

Exhibits-Only Registration

Exhibits-only registration is $100 after and $50 for their spouses.

Exhibits-only registration for non-members is $200 after and $70 for their spouses.

Education Session Tickets

Exhibits-only registered attendees can purchase tickets to individual IBS education sessions. Individual tickets are $50 for members and $70 for non-members. Registrants can purchase packages of four tickets and get one free or seven tickets and get three free.

(Attendees who purchase full registrations do not have to purchases education session tickets or exhibits-only registration.)

To Register

For registration information, click here. For hotel information, click here.

To register online, click here.

For the latest IBS information — including floor plans, renderings and construction photos of The New American Home — visit the 2009 International Builders’ Show Web site at www.buildersshow.com.



Las Vegas Dining, Shopping and Sightseeing Guides Available at BuilderBooks.com

Dining, shopping and sightseeing “must-have guides” for those who want to get the most out of the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas are available at BuilderBooks.com.  

These comprehensive guides offer expert advice and trustworthy information on dining, shopping and entertainment for every budget.

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

IBS Education Focuses on Staying Ahead in Tough Market

Every savvy home builder knows that success requires far more than simply being good with a hammer and saw.

The more than 250 educational sessions being offered at the upcoming International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas on Jan. 20-23 will focus on the information industry professionals need to remain successful in today’s difficult housing marketplace.

Builders will have the opportunity to hear about what will attract new business and learn how to manage more profitable jobs, respond to changing consumer needs and capitalize on the growing green building trend.

To make schedule planning easy for the tens of thousands of builders who will be coming to the show from across the country, IBS workshops and sessions are arranged in nine “tracks” or topic areas:

  • Architecture, Design and Community Planning
  • Business Opportunities and New Markets
  • Construction Methods and Systems
  • Economic Trends and Housing Finance
  • Green Building and Sustainability
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Legal Issues and Government Regulation
  • Organization and Business Management
  • Sales and Customer Focus


Something for Everyone

IBS programming has been designed to help builders no matter what their industry niche or how far along they are in their careers. For example, in addition to pre-show courses on dozens of topics, some of the IBS sessions provide credits toward professional designations such as MIRM, CAPS and RCS. The IBS will also include a broad array of advanced-level educational sessions, with the most popular sessions offered multiple times.

Among widely-recognized industry leaders who will be presenting educational sessions:

  • Steve Easley, internationally recognized construction consultant, will speak on “The Green & Sustainable High Performance Home.”
  • Tony Crasi, president and founder of Crasi, Inc., will share valuable insights on “Achievable Million Dollar Details.”
  • Gary Ryness, founder and president of The Ryness Company, will address the fine points of “Moving Stalled Inventory With Auctions.”
  • Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft will provide a timely presentation on the “Housing and Economic Outlook.”


Hands-on Learning

Builders attending the IBS will also be able to pick up a variety of useful ideas in less formal settings than the educational sessions. The New American Home will showcase the latest in green building technology, the hottest trends in outdoor living and the most up-to-date building techniques. And the IBS exhibit hall will display the newest home building products and solutions from more than 1,700 suppliers and industry partners.

Many builders are using today’s slowing home building market as an opportunity to retool their skill sets so that they are well prepared to lead the competition when the market bounces back. Recognizing this need, NAHB is introducing new pricing options for registered attendees at this year’s show. NAHB members can buy individual tickets to attend IBS education sessions for as little as $50 ($70 for non-members); buy four tickets and get a fifth ticket free; or buy seven tickets and get three free. (For more on IBS cost-saving education options, click here).

The 2009 IBS is expected to draw more than 90,000 attendees from around the U.S. and more than 100 countries, representing every facet of home building and related industries.

To learn more about the variety of education opportunities at IBS, click here.

For the latest IBS information — including floor plans, renderings and construction photos of The New American Home — visit the 2009 International Builders’ Show Web site at www.buildersshow.com.



Las Vegas Dining, Shopping and Sightseeing Guides Available at BuilderBooks.com

Dining, shopping and sightseeing “must-have guides” for those who want to get the most out of the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas are available at BuilderBooks.com.  

These comprehensive guides offer expert advice and trustworthy information on dining, shopping and entertainment for every budget.

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

Builders’ Tip: A Cutting-Edge System to Keep Chisels Sharp

Keeping chisels and other edge tools sharp is a habit that I insist that all our crew members develop. Not only that, in my company, keeping tools sharp also boosts moral, promotes safety and sends a valuable lesson to new crew members.

With so much importance placed on sharp tools, we have developed a low-cost sharpening system that ensures that we have a ready supply of well-honed tools available at all times.

In my company, different employees with different skill levels have access to particular tools. The sharpening system we use also helps my crew members determine which tools they are qualified to use.

Here’s how the system works:

  • Every week, we collect dull, nicked or chipped chisels, drill bits, planer knives and other edge tools and put them in a special drawer in the service body of one of our trucks.

  • Then once a week, I or one of my qualified employees sharpens the tools on my Delta sharpening center. This tasks usually takes about 1-1/2 hours and ensures that my 25 employees are always equipped with sharp tools.

  • Once the tools are sharpened, we clean them with a solvent to remove the sharpening compound and allow them to dry.

  • Then we dip the sharpened edges into a can of liquid electrical tape ― a liquid plastic readily available in many colors — to a depth of about 1/2-inch above the sharpened area to seal out moisture and dirt.

  • The liquid tape dries in about 15 minutes and can be removed with a quick pass from a utility knife when it’s time to use the chisel.


As an added benefit, the plastic coating also does an excellent job of cushioning the newly-sharpened tools when they rattle around in toolboxes to and from the job. In fact, when I recently took the coating off a chisel that had been sitting at the bottom of a bin for more than a year, it was as sharp as the day it was sharpened.

Because the liquid tape comes in several colors ― we use black, blue, red and green in our shop ― we color-code the tools to designate how sharp they are and how much care was used for each tool during the sharpening process. The color-coding also designates the skill level requred for each tool and gives my newer and less experienced crew members a goal to work towards.

For instance, our green-coded, hollow-ground, microbeveled chisels are used for intricate work by our highly-skilled workers. Our apprentices, on the other hand, only use the black-coded chisels because they are working on jobs like removing brick veneer that do not require high skill levels or highly-sharpened tools. As their skills progress, however, they also advance to using the next level of color-coded tools.

Through the years, I've seen them develop a real sense of pride as they graduate to jobs that require using the most refined-edge tools.

— John Avitabile, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.

Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2008 The Taunton Press

To contact Fine Homebuilding, e-mail Christina Glennon.



Set Yourself Apart With CGB Designation

Join the ranks of the nation’s top building industry professionals with the Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) designation. The “Builder Assessment Review” (BAR) is your first step towards obtaining the CGB.

This comprehensive assessment measures your expertise in the four key areas of the building industry: building technology, business and finance, project management and sales and marketing.

Your results will show the areas where your knowledge is strongest and weakest and will help determine the courses required for you to obtain your CGB.

To learn where the next BAR will be held, visit NAHB’s education listings, or call the Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.



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.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

NAHB Has Facts to Support 55+ Housing Project Approvals

An NAHB compilation of the latest research and facts to support 55+ housing project approvals is available online on the NAHB Web site.

Approving 55+ Housing: Facts That Matter,” produced by NAHB’s Housing Policy Department in collaboration with the NAHB 50+ Housing Council, was created to help builders and developers obtain approval for their projects by dispelling some of the common myths associated with 55+ housing.

“This resource is invaluable to builders and developers who are trying to get a 55+ housing project approved. ‘Approving 55+ Housing: Facts That Matter’ is great information to bring before local zoning or planning boards, city or county councils, civic and home owners associations  and other groups,” said Joanne Theunissen, president of Howling Hammer Builders in central Michigan and chair the 2008 chair of the 50+ Housing Council.

According to NAHB research, building 100 single-family homes in a typical active adult community generates $22.5 million in local income, $2.3 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments and 378 local jobs during the first year.

These and other facts can be found in the chapter, Tax Revenue and Other Economic Impacts. Other chapters provide facts that show how 55+ housing projects benefit education, transportation, public safety, parks and recreation and water supply and sewage treatment.

Available Free to NAHB Members

NAHB 50+ Housing Council members can download “Approving 55+ Housing: Facts That Matter” for free from the council’s section of the NAHB Web site.

 Non-council members can purchase this document online for $19.95.

For more information, e-mail the 50+ Housing Council at 50plus@nahb.com, or call 800-368-5242 x8220.


 

Revolutionize Your Thinking About 50+ Housing

Plan to attend the 2009 Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium on April 27-29 in Philadelphia and revolutionize thinking and working in the 50+ housing market. 

The symposium includes information and educational sessions covering all aspects of the 50+ market, as well as a special housing tour of 50+ communities in the greater Philadelphia area.

For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/Build4Boomers.


 

Improve Your Focus on the 50+ Market With Publications From BuilderBooks.com

The 50+ market provides some great opportunities for builders today. BuilderBooks.com brings together the essential resources for builders seeking to grow their businesses while bringing high-quality product to this demanding, often affluent consumer group that has planned well and is ready to build or buy.

BuilderBooks.com also offers publications on customer service so builders can start building strong relationships before breaking ground and turn these experienced consumers into enthusiastic sales people.

To view or purchase these and a wide variety of industry publications online, click here or call 800-223-2665.


 

CAASH in on Boomer Buyers

The Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing (CAASH) designation gives housing professionals serving the rapidly burgeoning 50+ market the essential knowledge, tools and skills that will help them succeed — from conducting initial research to design considerations and features to serving the customer.

Find upcoming CAASH classes by clicking here.

For more information, call the Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154 or e-mail CAASHinfo@nahb.com.

50+ Housing Council Networking Events at the Builders' Show

The NAHB 50+ Housing Council will be hosting several networking activities and events at the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas the week of Jan 18-23.

Sunday, Jan. 18

  • CAASH Induction Ceremony/50+ Housing Council Networking Dinner
    6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
    Las Vegas Hilton, Ballroom E
    Fee: $85 in advance, $95 at the door

    Industry professionals who have earned the Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing (CAASH) designation will be inducted during a special ceremony and industry leaders will be recognized during this induction ceremony and networking dinner.

    For more information and to register, click here.


Monday, Jan. 19

  • 50+ Housing Council Membership Reception
    5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
    Las Vegas Convention Center, North 249, Level II

    The annual networking event is free and open to 50+ Housing Council members, potential members and other 50+ housing professionals.


Tuesday, Jan. 20

  • 50+ Builders Networking Reception
    Off-Site
    Fee: Free for 50+ Housing Council members, $35 for non-members

    The reception — scheduled for 50+ housing professionals at IBS for the first time — will enable builders, developers, lenders, architects and other 50+ housing professionals to mix, mingle and discuss successful strategies for dealing with the challenges of the 50+ housing industry.

    For more information and to register, click here.


Other 50+ housing networking opportunities at IBS include a marketing breakfast, “Meet the Active Adult Housing Experts” seminar, architectural plan reviews and 50+ Housing Council committee meetings.

For more information about 50+ Housing Council activities at IBS, click here, e-mail the NAHB 50+ Housing Council at 50plus@nahb.com, or call 800-368-5242 x8220.


 

Revolutionize Your Thinking About 50+ Housing

Plan to attend the 2009 Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium on April 27-29 in Philadelphia and revolutionize thinking and working in the 50+ housing market. 

The symposium includes information and educational sessions covering all aspects of the 50+ market, as well as a special housing tour of 50+ communities in the greater Philadelphia area.

For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/Build4Boomers.


 

Improve Your Focus on the 50+ Market With Publications From BuilderBooks.com

The 50+ market provides some great opportunities for builders today. BuilderBooks.com brings together the essential resources for builders seeking to grow their businesses while bringing high-quality product to this demanding, often affluent consumer group that has planned well and is ready to build or buy.

BuilderBooks.com also offers publications on customer service so builders can start building strong relationships before breaking ground and turn these experienced consumers into enthusiastic sales people.

To view or purchase these and a wide variety of industry publications online, click here or call 800-223-2665.


 

CAASH in on Boomer Buyers

The Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing (CAASH) designation gives housing professionals serving the rapidly burgeoning 50+ market the essential knowledge, tools and skills that will help them succeed — from conducting initial research to design considerations and features to serving the customer.

Find upcoming CAASH classes by clicking here.

For more information, call the Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154 or e-mail CAASHinfo@nahb.com.

NAHB Multifamily to Host Key Networking Events at IBS

NAHB Multifamily is hosting three events at the 2009 International Builders’ Show where council members can network with their peers and industry partners and hear and discuss the latest strategies to navigate the challenging housing market.

The events include:

Tuesday, Jan. 20 

  • Multifamily Builder Networking and Design Coffee Break
    2:00-3:15 p.m.
    Las Vegas Convention Center, S113
     
    Mix and mingle with condo and apartment professionals at the NAHB Multifamily Headquarters Lounge and view designs from finalists of the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards.


Wednesday, Jan. 21

  • NAHB Multifamily New Members Orientation Luncheon
    12:00-1:30 p.m.
    Las Vegas Convention Center

    The Multifamily New Members Orientation Luncheon brings members of the NAHB Multifamily Council together to meet members of the Multifamily Leadership and learn about the council’s staff members and resources.

    Admission is free and by invitation only. For more information and to register, click here.

  • Multifamily Developers Reception 
    5:00-6:30 p.m.
    Las Vegas Convention Center

    This Multifamily Council members-only free networking enables developers, builders, managers and other multifamily industry professionals to mix, mingle and discuss successful strategies for dealing with the challenges of the multifamily industry. 

    For more information and to register, click here.


For more information about NAHB Multifamily events at IBS, visit www.nahb.org/multifamilyevents.



Market Realities, Emerging Trends at Pillars Conference in March

How to stay ahead of the curve in the multifamily market will be discussed at the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Conference and Awards Gala, the premier industry event for the multifamily industry, on March 17-18 at San Diego's Hotel Del Coranado.

Developers, multifamily owners, lenders, capital investors, architects, designers, sales and marketing professionals and other attendees will receive:

  • The most timely market and financial information

  • Interactive learning on key topics such as REIT’s, debt markets, sustainability and emerging trends


They will also have the opportunity to network with peers, potential partners, capital sources and essential product and service providers.

For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/PillarsConference.

Attend NAHB Remodelers Special Events at IBS

The NAHB Remodelers has planned committee meetings, education sessions, a chairman's dinner and more at the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas in January.

NAHB Remodelers Special Events Highlights:

Wednesday, Jan. 21

  • Marvin Rise and Shine Breakfast
    8:30-10:30 a.m.
    NAHB Remodelers Hospitality Suite
    Convention Center, South 105

    Marvin Windows and Doors is sponsoring this complimentary breakfast in the NAHB Remodelers hospitality suite so remodelers can start the day by networking with their peers. No RSVP is required.

  • Local Council Roundtable
    11:00 a.m.-noon
    NAHB Remodelers Hospitality Suite
    Convention Center, South 105  

    The roundtable is an opportunity to hear what other councils are doing and to pick up valuable tools for success. The roundtable enables remodelers to brainstorm, network and share ideas and best practices with local council staff and leaders.

    For information and to RSVP, click here.

  • NAHB Remodelers Chairman's Dinner
    6:30-10:00 p.m. 
    Las Vegas Hilton Hotel

    The dinner, a celebration of 2008 accomplishments and the premier social event for NAHB Remodelers at IBS, includes the Chairman’s Awards presentation, an announcement of membership contest winners and the official change in council leadership.

    The fee is $50.
    Advanced registration is required.
    Click here to register.


NAHB Remodelers Education Highlights:


NAHB Remodelers ‘Pocket Guide’

NAHB Remodelers also has a new “IBS Pocket Guide,” a handy brochure of all meetings and activities at IBS that are relevant to remodelers. To download the guide from the NAHB Web site, click here.

To Register

For more information about remodeling events, e-mail Kelly Mack at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8451.

To register for events at the 2009 International Builders’ Show, visit www.buildersshow.com.



Increase Your Professional Credibility

The Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) designation emphasizes business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation.

Remodelers who earn the CGR become members of an exclusive national program and gain recognition as industry leaders.

To learn more about the CGR designation, visit www.nahb.org/CGRinfo, or call The Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.



'How to Find a Professional Remodeler' Available at BuilderBooks.com

"How to Find a Professional Remodeler," available at BuilderBooks.com, promotes the professionalism of your remodeling business by offering valuable advice to your customers on the process of selecting a remodeler.

The brochure guides consumers from the dream to the reality of having their homes remodeled by skilled and trained professionals. Sections include what to look for in a professional remodeler and what questions to ask.

To view or puchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665 to order.

 

 

Brush Up on New Lead Paint Rule by Purchasing Audio Seminar

Remodelers, home builders associations and local NAHB Remodelers councils who missed the recent NAHB audio seminar examining the new lead paint rule governing the work of professional remodelers where lead paint is involved can now purchase the seminar online.

Presented by NAHB Remodelers and The NAHB University of Housing, “The EPA’s New Lead Paint Rule: What it Means for You” was an hour-long seminar that explained in detail what the new rule covers, how to be in compliance and where to find additional information.

The cost of the seminar is $79, and includes access to the streaming audio file of the original broadcast, handout materials and a marketing bonus until Oct. 28, 2009 (one year after the seminar was held).

The panel discussed:

  • The scope of the rule and remodeling activities affected by the rule
  • Firm responsibilities under the rule
  • The timeline of the rule’s implementation
  • Responsibilities of the certified renovator
  • Work practices under the new rule


To Purchase

For more information and to purchase the audio seminar, click here.

For general information about the rule and what NAHB Remodelers are doing to help their members comply with it, visit www.nahb.org/LeadPaint.



Increase Your Professional Credibility

The Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) designation emphasizes business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation.

Remodelers who earn the CGR become members of an exclusive national program and gain recognition as industry leaders.

To learn more about the CGR designation, visit www.nahb.org/CGRinfo, or call The Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.



'How to Find a Professional Remodeler' Available at BuilderBooks.com

"How to Find a Professional Remodeler," available at BuilderBooks.com, promotes the professionalism of your remodeling business by offering valuable advice to your customers on the process of selecting a remodeler.

The brochure guides consumers from the dream to the reality of having their homes remodeled by skilled and trained professionals. Sections include what to look for in a professional remodeler and what questions to ask.

To view or puchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665 to order.

Concrete Is Sustainable, Durable — and Green

 

 

A concrete home? Only the cement mixer knows for sure.

Concrete is one of the single most environmentally friendly construction products available. It offers stability, durability and design flexibility for the residential marketplace and environmental advantages through every stage of manufacturing and use.

And it offers sustainability. Because old concrete can be recycled it can be reused almost indefinitely.

The following are concrete’s primary environmental benefits:

Local Production Reduces Transportation Costs and Fuel

Cement and concrete supplies are highly local or regional. At least 60% of all concrete is produced within 100 miles of the construction site where it is used. Wood and steel products, on the other hand, can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to the job site.

Concrete’s Thermal Mass Yields Energy Savings

The thermal mass of concrete buildings and homes reduces temperature swings — and can save owners energy year-round.

During the air-conditioning season, for instance, a concrete building generally only will require the cooling system to be in operation at night — during off-peak hours when electric companies can produce power more efficiently.

Also, many of today’s concrete wall systems, such as insulating concrete forms (ICFs), combine the mass of concrete with foam insulation — creating an exterior wall envelope that through thermal mass, reduced air infiltration and increased R-value can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 40%.

Concrete Reduces Construction Waste Because Fewer Components Are Needed

Concrete construction requires fewer kinds of building products — such as sheathing and insulation —than wood-frame construction. Plus, concrete is created on an “as needed” basis, eliminating the waste inherent in sheet goods and dimensional products for framing.

Because fewer materials are needed, building with concrete puts less waste in landfills. And if replacement or demolition is required, old concrete can be ground up and reused as coarse aggregate or pavement sub-base material.

Concrete’s Durability Can Weather Time and the Weather

Concrete does not rust, rot or burn, so housing stock built with concrete components such as wall systems can stand for generations.

Concrete is less susceptible to moisture damage and can generally “breathe” and dry — if the concrete structure is not too close to adjacent structures. Concrete driveways can outlast their asphalt competitors, while items such as fiber-cement siding can be much more durable than competing cladding materials. By simply outlasting other materials, concrete can conserve energy and resources.

In addition, homes built with concrete also are more likely to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados and fires than traditional wood-frame housing stock.

Concrete Homes Can Create a Healthier Indoor Environment

Concrete can promote a healthy indoor atmosphere because it is practically inert and requires no volatile organic-based preservatives.

The solid concrete walls in homes built with exterior concrete framing systems serve as a continuous barrier against air infiltration, which can greatly reduce the level of airborne dust and allergens when a fresh air exchanger and humidifier are used.

Concrete Homes Are Increasing in Popularity

From 1999 through 2005, the share of homes built with concrete walls increased from 5.9% to 17.9%. This increase not only measures a growing popularity in concrete homes, but a change in attitudes as well.

Not many years ago, the idea of building a concrete home generated blank stares among potential home owners or prompted questions about why anyone would want to do such a thing.

Now, however, many consumers are aware of this type of construction, understand its benefits and want to know how much it will cost and where to find the nearest supplier or builder.

A combination of factors is driving these changes in perception and attitude — a rise in energy prices, an increase in the amount and destructiveness of natural disasters and the rise of the green building movement.

Aesthetically, the Depth of the Windowsill Tells the Tale

While growing in popularity, many people still have the mistaken perception that a concrete home looks more like a bunker or fallout shelter than a home.

Aesthetically, however, with most concrete wall systems in use today, it’s difficult to drive down a street and pick out which home is concrete. Concrete home exteriors are finished with siding, stucco, brick and stone, just like wood-frame construction.

Also, like with wood-frame construction, the interior of a concrete home is finished with drywall, though with some systems such as precast concrete, interior walls are simply painted.

For both outdoor and indoor areas, decorative concrete is rapidly growing in popularity for all types of home construction. Traditional concrete flatwork can be stained, stamped, stenciled or polished to achieve a wide variety of patterns, colors and textures. Beautiful custom concrete countertops can achieve a similar range of styles.

So what’s the primary aesthetic difference between concrete homes and wood-frame construction? Simply put, the walls of a concrete home are thicker.

But the only way to tell the difference on a finished home is by the greater depth of the windowsill of a concrete home — which is a definite bonus in the eyes of many home owners.

For more information

For more information about residential concrete products, visit the residential Web site of the Portland Cement Association (PCA) at www.concretehomes.com.

PCA also maintains an interactive Web site at www.concretethinker.com to give builders, designers, architects, developers and city planners information about how concrete products contribute to sustainability.



The Future of Residential Construction Is Green

The Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes using cost-effective and affordable options.

Earning the CGP demonstrates to clients and peers your commitment to the best and latest in green building practices and techniques. More than 1,000 people have earned the CGPdesignation to date.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/CGPinfo.



Attend the National Green Building Conference in Dallas

Attend the 2009 National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 10-13 to learn more about the critical paths to green building, and to participate in interactive sessions and be part of the driving force for the green building and remodeling markets.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.nahb.org/GreenBuildingConference.



‘Building Greener Neighborhoods’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Building Greener Neighborhoods,” available through Digital Delivery at BuilderBooks.com, shows those involved in building new communities the advantages and rewards of saving, planting and transplanting more trees in their developments.

The examples are drawn from decades of experience of land developers, home builders and urban foresters. 

To download this publication in a PDF format, click here, or call 800-223-2665.



‘Profit from Building Green’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Profit from Building Green — Award-Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes,” available through BuilderBooks.com, showcases what energy conscious award-winning builders are doing, provides innovative energy-efficient features and covers successful techniques for building this niche market.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Webb Honored for Advancing Systems-Built Industry

 

 

Jim Webb

Jim Webb, the founder and president of Lok-N-Logs in Sherburne, N.Y., recently was honored by NAHB’s Building Systems Councils (BSC) for his lifetime of service and achievement in advancing the systems-built industry and contributing to the efforts of the BSC.

Webb was given the S.A. Walters award for his contributions to the industry during the BSC’s annual SHOWCASE conference, which was held in Memphis, Tenn. last month.

Webb was honored for his service as the Log Homes Council (LHC) president in 1984 and for helping develop the annual Log Homes Council President's Tour — a conference that goes behind-the-scenes of log manufacturing facilities to analyze best practices and innovative solutions.

He has also served many years on the LHC Ethics Committee.

Webb, who comes from family that has been in the log home industry for generations, has also brought innovations to the industry, including borate pressure-treated logs, kiln-dried logs, hand-peeled and solid log walls and panelized walls.

The S.A. Walters award is named after the first chairman of the BSC.

Best in Systems-Built Housing Design and Marketing Honored

Twenty builders and manufacturers representing the concrete, log home, modular and panelized building systems were recently honored for excellence in marketing and home design by NAHB’s Building Systems Councils (BSC).

“This year’s award winners represent the best marketing and home design work in the systems-built housing market,” said BSC Chairman Gary Grossman, president and CEO of Lancaster Redevelopment Corporation of Selinsgrove, Pa. “Being recognized for this impressive work not only adds to the credibility of their businesses, their success also sheds a positive light on the building systems industry as a whole.”

The awards were presented at the annual BSC SHOWCASE that was held in Memphis, Tenn. last month.

More than 100 entries were submitted for award categories ranging from outstanding model/sales center to presentation of home plans and best design.

New categories honored this year included multifamily and green-home manufacturing.

The winners include:

Excellence in Marketing


Excellence in Home Design

Modular


Panel


Log

  • Less than 2,300 square feet — Manufacturer
    Hearthstone, Inc., Dandridge, Tenn.
    Builder: North Ridge Construction

  • 2,300-4,000 square feet — Manufacturer
    PrecisionCraft Log and Timber Homes
    Builder: Scherping Enterprises

  • More than 4,000 square feet — Manufacturer
    PrecisionCraft Log and Timber Homes
    Builder: Charlie Bisbee


The winners will be featured in the January/February edition of Building Systems Magazine and their projects will be on display at the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

For more information, e-mail Tony Gacek at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8357.

Designations Can Give You an Advantage in 2009

NAHB professional designations can give you a decisive advantage under any market conditions.

Designations can help you learn how to improve yourself, your team and your company — and provide a lasting return on your investment.

The NAHB University of Housing is offering nearly 30 pre-show courses at the 2009 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas that will provide management tools and techniques that you can apply directly to your business.

Taking pre-show courses will enable you to:

  • Start a designation. NAHB offers professional designations for nearly every segment of the housing industry — building, remodeling, sales and marketing, 50+ housing and more.

  • Finish a designation. Take the one or two courses you need to complete your designation at IBS.

  • Renew a designation. Choose from a variety of courses to keep your designation current.


For more information on the course offerings at IBS and to register for them, visit www.BuildersShow.com.

Education Calendar

Jan. 15-19

IBS Pre-Show Education

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 20-23

2009 International Builders' Show

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 21

50+ Housing Council Education and Events at IBS

Las Vegas, Nev.

March 17-18

Pillars of the Industry Conference and Awards Gala

San Diego, Calif.

March 29-31

Log Home Council's President's Tour

Boise, Idaho

April 27-29

Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium

Philadelphia, Pa.

April 28

Best of 50+ Housing Awards

Philadelphia, Pa.

May 8-10

National Green Building Conference

Dallas, Texas

May 8

National Green Building Awards

Dallas, Texas

May 17-19

Building Systems Councils Modular and Panel Plant Tour

Manchester, N.H.

Aug. 11-15

Executive Officers Council Seminar

Louisville, Ky.

Nov. 6-9

National Conference on Membership

New Orleans, La.

Learn More About Upcoming Conferences and Designations

Interested in attending a University of Housing conference or learning more about NAHB designation programs? Visit www.nahb.org/notifyme, and sign up to receive more information.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Modular Homes Now Eligible for NAHB Green Certification

Under the Modular Green Approved program unveiled last month by NAHB, the NAHB Building Systems Councils (BSC) and the NAHB Research Center, NAHBGreen certification is now available for modular homes, which account for a fifth of the nation’s housing production.

The new Modular Green verification service is being offered by the NAHB Research Center, which also administers the National Green Building Program for traditionally built homes launched in February as part of NAHBGreen.

“This is a very important step for the industry as more and more builders rely on systems-built construction methods,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “Modular construction helps builders reduce their overhead and go green with ease by assembling a significant portion of the home in the factory.”

Research Center President Mike Luzier thanked modular home manufacturers who piloted the certification process in preparation for the BSC’s SHOWCASE event in Memphis last month, where members eagerly awaited news of the new program.

“This shows not only their commitment to quality, but also their dedication to serving the growing list of consumers who are moving towards purchasing green homes,” Luzier said.

Because they are built in a factory, modular homes can take advantage of resource efficiencies that make them less expensive and wasteful to produce, making them green as well as more affordable, Dunn said.

Under the National Green Building Certification Program, traditional homes are inspected onsite by NAHB Research Center-trained verifiers who examine the insulation, framing and other components of the building envelope — as well as the materials and products that help produce water efficiency, better indoor environmental quality and other hallmarks of green building.

While a modular or systems-built home is constructed to the same codes as a traditional, site-built home, the inspector can’t see behind the walls when it arrives at the building site, making the verification process more difficult. The new Modular Green program ensures in the factory that the house and its components meet NAHB’s green requirements, with the rest of the inspection being conducted onsite.

“Consumers have become wary of vague, unverifiable green claims,” said Bret Berneche, BSC Modular Council president and CEO of Cardinal Homes, a modular manufacturer in Wylliesburg, Va.

“With this program, consumers can be comfortable knowing they are getting a product that is verified against a nationally recognized program, combined with a highly engineered building system made in a controlled environment that exceeds code requirements for conventional construction,” he said.

“We launched NAHBGreen to bring sustainable building to mainstream home buyers,” Dunn said. “This is the next step, and as our members work to keep new homes affordable, it’s a most welcome one.”

The Modular Building Systems Council is part of the NAHB Building Systems Councils. The release of Modular Green is the first step the BSC and its members have taken to introduce in-plant green verification for the systems-built industry. The BSC is planning to establish similar programs for its other councils: panelized, log and concrete residential construction.

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



The Future of Residential Construction Is Green

The Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes using cost-effective and affordable options.

Earning the CGP demonstrates to clients and peers your commitment to the best and latest in green building practices and techniques. More than 1,000 people have earned the CGPdesignation to date.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/CGPinfo.



Attend the National Green Building Conference in Dallas

Attend the 2009 National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 10-13 to learn more about the critical paths to green building, and to participate in interactive sessions and be part of the driving force for the green building and remodeling markets.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.nahb.org/GreenBuildingConference.



‘Building Greener Neighborhoods’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Building Greener Neighborhoods,” available through Digital Delivery at BuilderBooks.com, shows those involved in building new communities the advantages and rewards of saving, planting and transplanting more trees in their developments.

The examples are drawn from decades of experience of land developers, home builders and urban foresters. 

To download this publication in a PDF format, click here, or call 800-223-2665.



‘Profit from Building Green’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Profit from Building Green — Award-Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes,” available through BuilderBooks.com, showcases what energy conscious award-winning builders are doing, provides innovative energy-efficient features and covers successful techniques for building this niche market.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Green Day Returning to International Builders’ Show

Green builders and remodelers are expected to crowd the aisles at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas next month as NAHB again celebrates Green Day during the largest residential construction show in the world. Green Day 2009 takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

More than 30 sessions on green building science, technology and marketing are planned for the IBS, including in-depth looks at green site development and plan review and a special featured speaker, "Green to Gold" author Andrew Winston.

Green Day is sponsored by Kohler, Marvin Windows and Doors and Whirlpool, three companies that supported the event at IBS 2008 in Orlando, when the NAHB National Green Building Program (NAHBGreen) was unveiled. A record number of green product dealers and manufacturers will welcome builders and remodelers to the trade show floor with giveaways, special guests and other incentives. 

The NAHBGreen Action Center next to the BuilderBooks bookstore in the Grand Concourse is the place to learn more about the many components of the national program, including the online scoring tool, NAHB National Green Building Awards program and the upcoming NAHB National Green Building Conference

In a slow housing market, NAHBGreen stands out as a sparkling success: More than 1,600 builders, remodelers and suppliers to the industry have completed the educational requirements for the Certified Green Professional designation, an important component of the national program, and new homes have been inspected and certified in 22 states.

“NAHBGreen is a success story in which we all take pride,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “We’re providing cost-effective, climate-appropriate green home building for consumers all over the country.”

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



The Future of Residential Construction Is Green

The Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes using cost-effective and affordable options.

Earning the CGP demonstrates to clients and peers your commitment to the best and latest in green building practices and techniques. More than 1,000 people have earned the CGPdesignation to date.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/CGPinfo.



Attend the National Green Building Conference in Dallas

Attend the 2009 National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 10-13 to learn more about the critical paths to green building, and to participate in interactive sessions and be part of the driving force for the green building and remodeling markets.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.nahb.org/GreenBuildingConference.



‘Building Greener Neighborhoods’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Building Greener Neighborhoods,” available through Digital Delivery at BuilderBooks.com, shows those involved in building new communities the advantages and rewards of saving, planting and transplanting more trees in their developments.

The examples are drawn from decades of experience of land developers, home builders and urban foresters. 

To download this publication in a PDF format, click here, or call 800-223-2665.



‘Profit from Building Green’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Profit from Building Green — Award-Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes,” available through BuilderBooks.com, showcases what energy conscious award-winning builders are doing, provides innovative energy-efficient features and covers successful techniques for building this niche market.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

First WaterSense House Unveiled by Vanguard Homes in Chapel Hill

The nation’s first WaterSense-labeled new home has been unveiled in Chapel Hill, N.C. by Vanguard Homes.

Celebrating the milestone last month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson joined Vanguard President Kip Guyon for a tour of the home and a news conference highlighting the importance of encouraging more water-efficient construction.

Homes built to the WaterSense draft specification are designed to use about 20% less water than conventional homes by including WaterSense-labeled products and Energy Star-qualified appliances, as well as water-efficient features and practices. The homes can potentially save their owners more than 10,000 gallons of water per year.

The Chapel Hill home’s water-efficient products  include WaterSense-qualified dual flush toilets and filtered water faucets, in addition to low-flow shower heads and a solar hot water heater. Energy-Star rated clothes and dishwashers, a whole-house filtration system and a hot water circulation pump work in harmony to save water. The exterior landscaping is maintained using rainwater captured in cisterns.

Vanguard Homes was chosen as one of seven builders in the country to participate in the EPA's WaterSense pilot program, in which home building industry professionals tested components including a landscaping water budget tool, which has been revised since the pilot to incorporate suggested changes from NAHB and other interest groups.

The water budget tool is open for public comment at the EPA Web site until Dec. 19 and a new protocol for the WaterSense program is expected to be introduced early next year.

In addition to being the first home in the nation to receive the WaterSense label, the Vanguard home also achieved Gold level certification from the Green Home Builders of the Triangle, a program based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines.

“This WaterSense label is a milestone for us as a builder and leader in the industry, and we strive to achieve that kind of excellence every day,” Guyon said at the press conference.

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

‘Navigable’ Waters Definition Murky After New Decisions

Revised guidance documents and decisions last week by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have added more fuel to a long-standing debate among regulators, advocacy groups and builders and developers over Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

On Dec. 1, denying a petition to review a Clean Water Act case in United States v. McWane, the nation’s highest court sent a strong signal that it wants to leave jurisdictional questions to the regulators.

Responding to the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos ruling that left unanswered the question of what constitutes a “traditional navigable water,” on Dec. 2 the EPA and the Corps repeated an earlier declaration that they “generally” will not assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over upland roadside drainage ditches or certain desert washes with infrequent water flow.

But on the following day, Dec. 3, the EPA declared that certain reaches of the Santa Cruz River in Tucson, Ariz. are traditional navigable waters — even though historical records indicate that the river has never been used for boating or shipping.

As a result, the Obama Administration will have to decide how to implement the newly expanded — and still inconclusive — guidance document and what to do about the agencies’ broader definitions of jurisdiction. Until then, jurisdictional decisions are likely to remain in turmoil.

“What we have said all along holds true,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “There is a world of difference between regulating the Mississippi River and claiming jurisdiction over what amounts to a drainage ditch or irrigation pond. The first makes sense. The latter is overreaching — something that Congress never intended when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.”

However, the decision in Arizona indicates that the agencies appear to adhere to a much broader definition of waters that should be considered navigable in the “traditional” sense, said NAHB Staff Vice President for Litigation Duane Desiderio.

“This confusion means that we can expect to see more litigation in the federal courts,” he added. "We all agree that the Clean Water Act covers more than just traditional navigable waters. But there's a major problem when the federal agencies consider isolated ponds, or creeks that are wet only from storms, as water bodies that have been subject to traditional federal control for hundreds of years."

The guidance is important to the home building industry because it shapes how builders and developers determine whether they must obtain permits to start construction projects in protected areas.

If a piece of property near a river or wetland is declared jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act, it is subject to a long, confusing and often arbitrary ordeal of paperwork and inspections before construction can begin; sometimes this process has little correlation to the environmental value of the resources that are intended to be protected.

“The more you can give definition to the term ‘navigable’, the more people can understand what it means,” said Susan Asmus, NAHB staff vice president for regulatory affairs. “But when the new guidance defines ‘navigable’ as ‘susceptible to navigation’ or ‘adjacent’ as ‘reasonably close proximity,’ it doesn’t quite get us there.”

Rather than issuing confusing guidance — which only leads to confusion over what is jurisdictional, resulting in lawsuits from the regulated community or from conservation groups, EPA should promulgate a ruling that makes it clear to all parties, she said.

“The challenge with the Clean Water Act is that it has never been implemented in the way it was designed to be implemented. Instead, it’s been directed by lawsuits, and that is not the way the best laws are implemented,” Asmus said.

“The Supreme Court makes a ruling, the agencies interpret it and then everyone disagrees, and you’re off on a bad foot and it’s really hard to back up and start over,” she said. “NAHB believes that the EPA and the Corps should do a rulemaking. It’s a better way to make lasting policy.”

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

Job Corps Students a ‘Blessing’ to Communities

 

 

HBI Region 4 program manager Frank Kawalec set roof trusses in the early stages of the 12-home build blitz.

More than 250 Job Corps students and staff members joined local volunteers from Louisiana’s Lafayette and Vermilion parishes this fall to participate in a 12-home Habitat for Humanity blitz build.

The two parishes were hit hard by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and again by Gustav and Ike in 2008.

Home Builders Institute programs from Texas, Montana, Oklahoma and Louisiana participated in the blitz, which began on Oct. 20 and was completed on Nov. 7. 

HBI Regional Program Manager Frank Kawalac, Shreveport Job Corps Center instructor Michael Smith, Tulsa instructor Larry Stephens and Talking Leaves’ Jerry Caviness were among the staff members who spearheaded HBI participation.

“Habitat for Humanity is a great partner for our programs around the country. It offers meaningful experience, rewarding work and the chance to truly make a difference in someone’s  life,” said HBI Chairman John Moffitt. “I can’t think of a better way to introduce our students to what home building is all about.”

Meanwhile, for the past year the Roswell Job Corps Center in New Mexico has continued its ongoing partnership with the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club, with its students working to refurbish the club by making repairs, completing electrical work and painting.

Roswell Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Arthur Garcia called the Job Corps students “a blessing” and said “they have really shown their commitment to our community.”

Throughout October, students at the Grafton Job Corps Center in Massachusetts contributed more than 1,000 hours to building the Hector E. Reyes House, a residential substance abuse treatment center.  In a letter to HBI Regional Program Manager Gregg Romano, Dr. Mattie Castiel, executive director of the Latin American Health Alliance, the organization responsible for operating the Reyes House, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to HBI’s students and instructors.

Castiel was so pleased with the work that she invited Romano to speak at the Reyes Home opening ceremony and had more than 12 HBI students fitted for tuxedos so they could attend.

HBI’s Teamwork in Training publication details HBI/Job Corps community service efforts across the country.

For more information on Job Corps, e-mail Keith Albright or Maria McIntyre at HBI, or call them at 800-795-7955, x8911 and x8912, respectively.

 

 

In the later stages of construction, HBI students observed instructor Michael Smith installing a conduit to power the house.

CertainTeed Adds Protection Against Foundation Leakage

Through an exclusive agreement with Armtec of Canada, CertainTeed Corporation is now offering U.S. builders and foundation contractors added protection against foundation leakage.

The manufacturer’s Platon DOUBLEDRAIN is a double-sided high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-studded membrane used to wrap foundations during the construction process to help prevent interior moisture penetration.

Used in residential and light commercial projects, DOUBLEDRAIN has a toxicity of zero and is chemically inert, making it environmentally friendly.

Featuring drainage channels on both sides with geotextile laminated to one side, the system provides soil-side and wall-side drainage and protection of elastomeric waterproofing for a complete waterproof barrier on foundations to a depth of 20 feet. Additionally, with full control of the ground water level at the base of the wall, DOUBLEDRAIN can be used for independent dam proofing applications without a primary membrane.

To install DOUBLEDRAIN, contractors simply unroll the product horizontally on top of either liquid or peel-and-stick waterproofing around the foundation. DOUBLEDRAIN is then easily fastened near the top of the membrane with Platon Cramps. Platon Molding is then applied along the top edge to prevent dirt from entering the air gap and clogging the drainage path. To complete the system, vertical and horizontal seams are overlapped to channel water directly to the footing drain before it reaches the wall.

CertainTeed began stocking Platon products early this year at its plant in McPherson, Kan., a manufacturing facility for its Form-A-Drain foundation footing system. The addition of Platon products gives customers the flexibility to combine the purchasing and shipment of both market-leading products.

Platon is part of CertainTeed’s line of premium foundation products, which also includes Form-A-Drain and ThermaEZE.

Form-A-Drain is a patented three-in-one concrete footing form system, foundation drainage system and sub-slab perimeter radon reduction system. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lineal sections are used in place of wood or aluminum to form the footing, and they remain in place after the concrete is poured.

ThermaEZE is an innovative technology that provides a cost-effective means for building thermally efficient above- and below-grade poured concrete walls. ThermaEZE insulation panels, which consist of moisture-resistant expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, are set within the wall forms prior to pouring and held in place by a patented web structure that becomes embedded in the concrete.

Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed Corporation is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Leading Suppliers of NAHB.

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 DIY, Fine Living and HGTV

The NAHB Production Group produces weekly television shows on DIY, Fine Living and HGTV for consumers. The following is the latest lineup:

"Rock Solid" on DIY

Episode: "Concrete Vanity"

• Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. EST
• Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. EST

 

Expert stone masons and hosts Dean Marsico and Derek Stearns and expert Dan Gobillot create a high-end concrete vanity top with decorative glass accents.

"I Want That" on Fine Living

Episode: "Wind Power, Adjustable Sofas, DIY Tools"

• Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m. EST
• Dec. 10, 1:30 p.m. EST

 

A residential wind generator may help ease the pain of high energy bills. Getting comfortable on the couch just got easier with a sofa that can adjust to every move. Plus, a quick car check-up and handy tools for the do-it-yourselfer.

HGTV Seeking ‘Dream Home’ Builder/Architect Teams

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

About the NAHB Production Group

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.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Baton Rouge HBA Honored for Aiding Good Samaritan in Need

 

 

Volunteers from the Capital Region Builders Association in Baton Rouge, La. remodeled the home of Carl Falconer, center, who lost both his legs in a traffic accident when he stopped to assist a stranded motorist.

The Capital Region Builders Association in Baton Rouge, La. recently was given the 2008 NAHB/NOD Disability Initiative Award.

The award, conducted in partnership with the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and the National Housing Endowment, recognizes outstanding examples of programs, projects and activities conducted by HBAs that further the goal of full participation of people with disabilities in community life.

The Baton Rouge association earned the award for remodeling and upgrading the home of Carl Falconer, who lost both his legs in a traffic accident when he stopped along the road to assist a stranded motorist.

The HBA organized 45 onsite volunteers and 50 behind-the-scenes volunteers to transform Falconer’s home during a one-day project to make it wheelchair accessible.

The HBA volunteers remodeled Falconer’s bathroom; repainted his entire house; repaired cabinets; installed new flooring, shutters, a mailbox and front-porch handrails; and landscaped his front and side lawns.

“We applaud the Capital Region Builders Association of Baton Rouge for its leadership in developing a program that helps to ensure that citizens with disabilities have homes that meet their needs and enhance their lives,” said Gary Garczynski, endowment chairman and 2002 NAHB president.

For its efforts, the Capital Region BA will receive $1,000. The award will be presented at the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

Presented annually, immediate past winners of the endowment-funded NAHB/NOD Disability Initiative Award include the Maryland National Capital Building Industry Association, the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver and the Home Builders Association of Northern Colorado.

NAHB Mourns the Death of 1998 President Don Martin

Donald D. “Don” Martin, who served as president of NAHB in 1998, died on Dec. 3 at the age of 74 after suffering a stroke.

Martin was a second-generation home builder whose company, Martin Development Corp., operated in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The son of a custom home builder in Larned, Kan., Martin built more than 9,000 homes during his career.

Martin was the first NAHB president to come from New Mexico. While president, he led the association’s successful effort to increase the loan limits of the Federal Housing Administration and to expand homeownership opportunities. He also helped to initiate studies at various universities — including Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies — showing the positive effects of homeowership to the community.

He was a long-time advocate of affordable housing. With an abiding interest in promoting U.S. building internationally, he was appointed to a Department of Commerce U.S.-China Residential Building Council in 1999, becoming chairman of that group in 2000.

In recognition of his lasting contribution to the nation’s housing industry, Martin was inducted into the National Housing Hall of Fame in 2004.

He attended the University of Kansas on ROTC and football scholarships, graduating in 1957 with a degree in geology. After college, he flew jets and helicopters and achieved the rank of captain during a 4-1/2-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Set realistic goals, map a strategy and develop a process for measuring your progress,” Martin said. “Build a consensus, utilize the skills and talents of those around you and stimulate a spirit of teamwork to pursue those objectives.”

Martin began his career in the mid 1960s selling homes for a national home building company in Phoenix. After setting impressive sales records for the company, he gave up his plans for graduate school and moved up the corporate ladder of Wood Brothers, eventually moving to Denver and becoming senior vice president in charge of building operations in five states — Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Maryland and Arizona.

In the mid-1980s, he opened his own company.

Before becoming president, Martin served on the NAHB Executive Committee and in various leadership positions, including vice chairman of the Budget Committee and chairman of the Resolutions Committee. He served as a trustee of the Home Builders Institute, the educational arm of NAHB, and was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Housing Center.

Martin was president of the New Mexico Home Builders Association in 1979 and in 1986 he was president of the Metro Denver Home Builders Association.

For the past seven years, he served as a broker and vice president at Grubb & Ellis New Mexico, specializing in land sales and commercial building sites in the state.

Martin remained actively involved in the NAHB federation up until his death, and the New Mexico HBA Don Martin Leadership Award was named for him.

Martin is survived by his wife, Willa; daughter Robin Young; son-in-law Erik Young; grandchildren, Alex and Audrey Young; two sisters, Janet Sue Holman and Dolores Lee Reichel; and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

NAHB Board Meeting Set for Jan. 22 in Las Vegas

 

OFFICIAL MEETING NOTICE OF
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The following schedule of events is a partial listing provided as a notice for the upcoming NAHB board of directors meeting and other associated NAHB meetings to be held at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas from Jan. 17-Jan. 23, 2008. The board of directors meeting will be held at the Las Vegas Hilton on Thursday, Jan. 22 from 8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The International Builders’ Show program will identify the exact time and place of each scheduled meeting.

Saturday, Jan. 17
State Representatives
National Area Chairmen 
Executive Board

Sunday, Jan. 18
Committees and Subcommittees
Home Builders Institute
National Housing Endowment
NAHB Research Center
National Housing Center Board of Governors
Nominations Committee

Monday, Jan. 19
Committee Meetings
Presidents’ Council
Past Presidents

Tuesday, Jan. 20
Area Caucuses 1-15
Joint Executive, Budget & Resolutions

Thursday, Jan. 22
Board of Directors

Combine GM $500 Private Offer With Red Tag Event Till Jan. 2

NAHB members can combine the GM $500 Private Offer with GM’s Red Tag Event for even bigger savings through Jan. 2.

During the Red Tag Event, participating GM dealers are offering special sales prices on select, red-tagged vehicles and displaying the prices customers will pay — including all cash back incentives.

As participants in the GM Private Offer, NAHB members can take an additional $500 off the GM Red Tag price.

For example, members buying a 2008 Chevy Silverado 1500 4WD can save as much as $8,000 or more on the MRSP.

2008 Chevy Silverado 1500 4WD 
Red Tag Price 
Cash Back Offers  
GM NAHB Member Private Offer 
Red Tag Price, cash back and Private Offer 
NAHB member savings

$29,480
$27,397
$5,500
$500
$21,397
$8,083

 MSRP

 

 or less
 (Compared to MSRP)

The Red Tag Event provides special pricing and “Customer Cash” from $0 to $7,250 to customers purchasing an eligible new 2008 or 2009MY vehicle, while supplies last. (The Red Tag offer excludes the Cadillac CTS-V series, Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and medium-duty trucks.)

The Red Tag Event is available through Jan. 5. The GM Private Offer is available through Jan. 2. Visit the NAHB Member Advantage Web page for complete details.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For information on the Member Advantage discount program and all its participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/MA.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

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.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Williams Scotsman Offers One Month Free Rent, $50 Gas Gift Card

Williams Scotsman is offering NAHB members one month free rent for each mobile office, storage container or specialty trailer leased for six months or longer, plus a $50 gas card for each mobile office, section modular complex, executive/sales office, or GoSpace™ leased for seven months or longer.

These offers are available through Dec. 31 and delivery must be accepted by Jan. 15.

For more information, call Williams Scotsman at 877-884-4065, or visit www.willscot.com/products/mobile-offices.html.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For information on the Member Advantage discount program and all its participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/MA.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Save $25 on Hertz ‘Green,’ ‘Fun’ or ‘Prestige’ Weekly Rentals

NAHB members can save $25 on weekly rentals of Hertz “Green,” “Fun” or “Prestige” collection vehicles in the U.S. No blackout dates apply.

All collection vehicles can be reserved by make and model. Fun vehicles include SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Green Collection vehicles are fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly. Prestige vehicles include NeverLost® in-car satellite navigation.  

For information about this offer and Hertz collection vehicles, click here. This $25 offer is valid through Dec. 31, 2008.

For information on special NAHB member savings with how NAHB members can join Hertz #1 Club Gold® with the fee waived for the first year (a $60 value), click here.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For information on the Member Advantage discount program and all its participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/MA.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.

Calendar of Events

Jan. 16-19

IBS Pre-Show Education

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 20-23

2009 International Builders' Show

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 20   

2008 Safety Award for Excellence (SAFE) Ceremony and Breakfast

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 20

2009 IRM Commencement Breakfast

Las Vegas, Nev.

Jan. 21

50+ Housing Council Education and Events at IBS

Las Vegas, Nev.

March 17-18

Pillars of the Industry Conference and Awards Gala

San Diego, Calif.

March 19

Pillars of the Industry Awards

San Diego, Calif.

March 29-31

Log Home Council's President's Tour

Boise, Idaho

April 27-29

Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium

Philadelphia, Pa.

April 28   

Best of 50+ Housing Awards

Philadelphia, Pa.

May 8-10

National Green Building Conference

Dallas, Texas

May 8

National Green Building Awards

Dallas, Texas

May 17-19

Building Systems Councils Modular and Panel Plant Tour

Manchester, N.H.

May 25-31

Spring NAHB Board of Directors Meeting

Washington, D.C.

Aug. 11-15

Executive Officers Council Seminar

Louisville, Ky.

Oct. 29

NAHB Remodeler of the Year Award

Indianapolis, Ind.

Oct. 29

National Remodeling Hall of Fame Award

Indianapolis, Ind.

Nov. 6-9

National Conference on Membership

New Orleans, La.

Learn More About Upcoming Conferences and Designations

Interested in attending a University of Housing conference or learning more about NAHB designation programs? Visit www.nahb.org/notifyme, and sign up to receive more information.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. 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.