Archive for News

Feb
01

NAHB Publishes Comprehensive Blueprint for Appraisal Reform

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Appraisal Reform BookNAHB’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.

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Jan
25

Builders & Buyers Bypass Budget Bullet

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By Elliott Eisenberg, PhD

The mortgage interest deduction (MID) cost the US Treasury $88.8 billion in 2011, making it the second largest tax break for individuals.  That is precisely why the Congress has its sights set on it.  However, there is much debate about how to reduce its costs to the Treasury and by how much.

No matter what happens, reducing the MID will lower some house prices.  That being said, how the Congress reduces the MID will determine how much how many houses lose value.  And since so many of us own a home, sell homes or build homes, the MID will not be singled out for special treatment.  Rather, the Congress will cap or phaseout the value of all deductions, and in that way avoid favoring one deduction over another.

While there are several possible approaches, the fiscal cliff compromise bill passed into law on January 2nd of this year phases out itemized deductions for households with incomes over $300,000.  While at first blush this may appear to be quite damaging, I think homeowners, realtors, builders, and the entire housing industry have all dodged a bullet and should sleep well for quite a while, or at least until the Congress reopens debate on the tax code sometime in the future

Phasing out Schedule A deductions for couples with incomes over $300,000 limits the impact to buyers of only the most expensive houses.  For example, with a 10% down-payment on a $1,500,000 house, mortgage interest would be $54,000/year, property taxes would average $16,500, and insurance would be about $8,000, totaling $78,500 in annual housing-related expenses.  To finance that mortgage, the $78,500 should ideally not be more than 30% of gross income, which means qualifying requires having an annual income of roughly $260,000; comfortably below the income level at which deductions start phasing out.   Read More→

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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.

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Dec
18

Builder Confidence Continues Improving in December

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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.

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From National Association of Home Builders

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 – Sparked by rising home prices across much of the nation, the housing recovery is now under way, but fiscal uncertainties and other challenges could result in a bumpy ride in the coming months, according to economists participating in yesterday’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) webinar on the construction and economic outlook.

“We’re seeing a more robust housing sector than many other parts of the economy,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “One of the reasons is we have finally begun to see on a national scale that house prices are picking up again.”

Crowe cited a number of other factors that are carrying the housing momentum forward. These include:

  • -Pent-up household formations
  • -Rising consumer confidence
  • -Increasing builder confidence in all three legs of the industry: remodeling, multifamily and single-family construction
  • -Growing rental demand
  • -More than 100 metros currently on the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index

However, Crowe offered several cautionary factors that continue to put a drag on housing activity at this time – including builders who are experiencing difficulties in obtaining production credit, qualified buyers who are unable to obtain mortgage loans, inaccurate appraisals, seriously delinquent mortgages that are at least 90 days late or in foreclosure, and a limited inventory of developed lots in certain markets.

Read More→

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