Archive for NAHB
From the National Association of Home Builders
The definition of a “navigable water” is at the heart of a case in which NAHB, the Southern Arizona HBA and the HBA of Central Arizona filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jan. 18.
Why is this such a critical issue for home builders?
Determinations of Clean Water Act jurisdiction come with a very high price tag.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court (Rapanos v. United States), the average applicant for an individual Clean Water Act permit spends 788 days and $271,596 in complying with its requirements, whereas the average applicant for a nationwide permit spends 313 days and $28,915. And that’s not counting the substantial costs of mitigation or design changes.
This case has far-reaching implications for home buyers and property owners nationwide. By designating the waterway in question — the Santa Cruz River — as “traditionally navigable,” the federal agencies immediately gain jurisdiction over dry desert washes, arroyos and other water features within the 2.3 million-acre Santa Cruz watershed.
The lawsuit challenges a 2008 federal regulatory ruling that an Arizona riverbed fed by runoff from sewers and storm drains is in fact a traditional navigable water, and therefore is subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act.
These water features would not otherwise qualify as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act — but they are covered by state and local regulations. Meanwhile, no water flows permanently in the Santa Cruz riverbed, and it appears to not be an “interstate highway of commerce,” which would constitute a traditional navigable water.
NAHB and the Arizona HBAs raised a similar claim in a suit filed in March 2009, but were denied review on the grounds that the Clean Water Act precludes pre-enforcement judicial review of a traditional navigable water determination and because the lawsuit failed to demonstrate an “injury” to a specific member.
The U.S. Supreme Court has since issued a ruling providing a basis for challenging a jurisdictional determination. Furthermore, the plaintiffs (home builders) have identified several members suffering specific, tangible injuries. In light of these developments, NAHB and the Arizona HBAs have reinitiated their lawsuit.
From The National Association of Home Builders
Exceptionally low interest rates helped ensure a slight gain in nationwide housing affordability amid relatively stable house prices in the final quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today.
In all, 74.9 percent of homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,000. This was up nearly a percentage point from the 74.1 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in last year’s third quarter.
“The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. He noted that the most recent reading of the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index found that 259 out of 361 metros currently qualify as improving, including representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter’s $189,000 that marked a nearly three-year high,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values.”
Ogden-Clearfield, Utah held its position as the nation’s most affordable major housing market for a second consecutive quarter at the end of 2012. There, 93.7 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $71,500 – up slightly from the 93.2 percent of homes affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.
NAHB’s Appraisal Working Group has been hard at work over the past year examining the nation’s appraisal system, talking to numerous stakeholders and developing recommendations for improving the system in order to alleviate one of the biggest problems that our members face in completing a new home sale — obtaining an accurate appraisal. This tough work has resulted in development of the newly published Comprehensive Blueprint for Appraisal Reform, which NAHB will use in our advocacy efforts with Congress, regulators and the appraiser community. The Blueprint focuses on the need for reform in four specific areas: 1) the overall regulatory framework for appraisals and oversight of the appraisal industry; 2) data and technology; 3) professional standards; and 4) practices, policies and procedures. Key recommendations outlined in the report call for streamlining and coordinating the current regulatory framework and devoting adequate resources to ensuring effective oversight and enforcement; creating a real estate data superhighway with a national real property registry and supporting networks; reaffirming and streamlining the key appraisal principles contained in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice; and establishing uniform credentialing standards specific to each area of appraisal practice. We also recommend establishment of a single, consistent set of rules and guidelines for appraisals; appraiser consideration of all three valuation approaches — cost, income and sales comparison — the establishment of standards and processes to ensure engagement of the best appraiser for the assignment; and the establishment of workable procedures for expedited appeals of inaccurate or faulty appraisals. NAHB members can access our Blueprint for Appraisal Reform on nahb.org.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 10 — Michael LeCorgne, CAPS, CGA, CGP, CSP, a risk management specialist with 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty in Mandeville, La., has been named the 2012 Certified Graduate Associate (CGA) of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The CGA is a professional designation offered by NAHB for suppliers and other industry professionals who do business with builders and remodelers.
Prior to his current role, LeCorgne was a home builder, remodeler, renovator and commercial builder, and he also is a licensed insurance agent in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A veteran of the home building industry for nearly three decades, LeCorgne holds the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Certified Green Professional™ (CGP) and Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) designations from NAHB.
The St. Tammany/Washington Parishes Home Builders Association, HBA of Greater New Orleans and the HBA of Louisiana have all recognized LeCorgne as their Associate of the Year. Nationally, he received the prestigious Bill Polley Award from NAHB for his political advocacy and was inducted into the Society for Honored Associates. In 2011, LeCorgne was inducted into the St. Tammany/Washington Parishes HBA and the HBA of Louisiana Hall of Fame.
LeCorgne has made significant contributions as an educator. He is an NAHB-approved instructor for several courses on topics such as business management, customer service and aging-in-place remodeling. The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors also approved LeCorgne to teach builder continuing education classes.
The CGA Designee of the Year is awarded to the industry professional who best showcases the importance of the educational designation and promotes professionalism. LeCorgne has held the CGA designation since 2005.
“Builders and remodelers want to work with individuals who understand the building industry,” said John Barrows, CGB, CGP, GMB, chairman for the Certified Graduate Builder Board of Governors and a builder from Wainscott, N.Y. “Michael exemplifies what the CGA designation is all about, a commitment to education and professionalism. He is committed to making the industry better in his home state and sharing his expertise as an instructor.”
LeCorgne and other leading industry professionals will be recognized at the 2013 International Builders’ Show on Jan. 21 in Las Vegas.
From the National Association of Home Builders
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 – Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for an eighth consecutive month in December to a level of 47 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This marked a two-point gain from a slightly revised November reading, and the highest level the index has attained since April of 2006.
“Builders across the country are reporting some of the best sales conditions they’ve seen in more than five years, with more serious buyers coming forward and a shrinking number of vacant and foreclosed properties on the market,” observed NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “However, one thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today’s overly stringent lending standards.”
“While there is still much room for improvement, the consistent upward trend in builder confidence over the past year is indicative of the gradual recovery that has been taking place in housing markets nationwide and that we expect to continue in 2013,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for the past 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
Two of the HMI’s three component indexes are now above the critical midpoint of 50. The component gauging current sales expectations rose two points to 51 in December, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months slipped one point, to 51. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 36.
Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at http://www.housingeconomics.com.
ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in remodeling, home building, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.