Monday, October 7, 2013

New Index Shows Housing Markets Back to Normal in 52 Metros

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 - Housing markets in 52 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide have now returned to or exceeded their pre-recessionary levels of activity, according to the newly minted National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), released today. The index's nationwide score of .85 indicates that, based on current permits, prices and employment data, the nationwide housing market is running at 85 percent of normal activity.

Baton Rouge, La., tops the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.41 - or 41 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros at the top of the list include Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston, Texas, as well as Harrisburg, Pa. - all of whose LMI scores indicate that their housing markets now exceed previous norms.

Looking at smaller metros, both Odessa and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2.0 or better, meaning that their housing markets are now at double their strength prior to the recession. Also at the top of the list of smaller metros are Casper, Wyo.; Bismarck, N.D.; and Florence, Ala., respectively.

"This index helps illustrate how far the U.S. housing recovery has come, and also how much further it has to go as we continue to face some significant headwinds in terms of credit availability, rising costs for lots and labor, and uncertainties regarding Washington policymaking," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

The LMI shifts the focus from identifying markets that have recently begun to recover, which was the aim of a previous gauge known as the Improving Markets Index, to identifying those areas that are now approaching and exceeding their previous normal levels of activity. More than 350 metro areas are scored by taking their average permit, price and employment numbers for the past 12 months and dividing each by their annual average over the last period of normal growth. For single-family permits and home prices, 2000-2003 is used as the last normal period, and for employment, 2007 is the base comparison. The three components are then averaged to provide an overall score for each market; a national score is calculated based on national measures of the three metrics. An index value above one indicates that a market has advanced beyond its previous normal level of economic activity.

"Smaller metros are leading the way to a housing recovery, accounting for 43 of the top 50 markets on the current LMI," observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "This is very much in keeping with the results of our previous index for improving markets, and is an indication of the extent to which local economic conditions dictate the strength of individual housing markets."

"The housing markets of 118 metros scored by the LMI this month show activity levels of at least 90 percent of their previous norms - a very encouraging sign of things to come," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., which co-sponsors the LMI report.

Editor's Note: In calculating the LMI, NAHB utilizes employment growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation data from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. The LMI is published on the fourth working day of each month, unless that day falls on a Friday -- in which case, it is released on the following Monday.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lactation breaks and posting requirements went into effect July 1, 2013


Lactation breaks and posting requirements went into effect July 1, 2013 
(from DLIR's blog, Inside Hawaii's Wage Standards and the DLIR)

     Act 249, Regular Session 2013, was signed into law and become effective on July 1, 2013.  The Act requires employers to provide a private place (other than a bathroom) and the time for mothers in the first year of their child's birth, to express breast milk.   The law also requires employers to post a notice about nursing mother's rights.  The DLIR has provided a suggested poster that can be found on the DLIR website.  

Who's covered?
      
This law protects all employees who need to express milk while at work within the first year of their child's birth.  This is a much broader application than a similar law under the Federal Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").  The
FLSA provision applies only to those employees who are not exempt from the overtime law under FLSA.  The FLSA also provides that any State law offering greater protection has priority.  This means Act 249 is the standard in Hawaii for all employers.

All employers?  YES!
     
The law does provide an opportunity for employers with less than 20 employees to prove that providing the space and time would impose an undue hardship.  Notice it is the employer who has to show the undue hardship if they choose not to provide the space and time required under the law.  

What kind of space and how much time?

      Act 249 specifies employers need to provide  "reasonable break time" which is not defined.  As well, the place provided must be "shielded from view and free from intrusion."  Employers who are struggling with how to provide this may reach out to proponents of the measure including  
Breastfeeding Hawaii who have various suggestions and alternatives to assist employers with compliance.
      
Private right of action and penalties

   The DLIR does not enforce this law, it is enforced by court action, similar to 
Hawaii's whistleblower law.  Employers who fail to comply with opportunity to express milk law  may be sued in an appropriate court and be subject to a civil fine of $500 a day for violations.  In addition, employers may be liable for damages to the employee or employees who bring the private right of action in court.

What to do if employer and employee can not agree
   
The law provides a legal remedy that allows a lawsuit in the appropriate court.  The Hawaii State Bar Association has an information and referral line (808-537-9140) that will provide free referrals to several attorneys that are familiar with this issue that will help you find a resolution.

Mediation may be the answer
     
Employees or employers may reach out for assistance in resolving the matter through mediation.  Community mediation centers throughout the State provide professional workplace mediation.  To find out more about how this can help, you can contact a local mediation center near you.  Honolulu, Oahu - 
Mediation Center of the Pacific(808) 521-6767; Wailuku, Maui - Maui Mediation  (808) 244-5744;  Hilo Hawaii - Ku'ikahi Mediation Center  (808) 935-7844; Kamuela, Hawaii - West Hawaii Mediation Center - (808) 885-5525; Kauai - KEO Mediaton (808) 245-4077 Ext: 229 or 237.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam Despite Persistent Headwinds

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 - With home prices and household formations rising and household balance sheets healing, the ongoing housing recovery is expected to gain momentum next year even as several challenges remain, according to economists who participated in yesterday's National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fall 2013 Construction Forecast Webinar.

"The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and particularly in 2015," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "From the standpoint of GDP growth, housing has been a plus, growing at two, three and four times the rate of the rest of the economy in recent quarters."

Helping to spur the housing rebound was a double-digit increase in home prices over the past year, driven in part by tight inventories of new and existing homes for sale and gradual gains in employment.

"We expect to see price increases moderate in the next few years as we see additional inventory on the market and investors back away as the bargains disappear," said Crowe.

Another bright spot is rising household formations that were delayed during the downturn as college graduates and young professionals were forced to move back in with their parents or double up as roommates. At the height of the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households every year. That figure plunged to 500,000 during the depth of the recession and today is now back up to 700,000.

Meanwhile, households across the nation have been increasing their savings and shedding debt. "They've corrected a lot of excesses and feel more comfortable about moving forward," Crowe said, noting that the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index shows that the percentage of consumers who believe that now is a good time to buy a house is back up to levels last seen near the housing boom.

However, Crowe cited several headwinds that are impeding the recovery.

"Credit conditions are much tighter now, builders are increasingly facing labor shortages, lot supplies are tight, building material prices are rising, and inaccurate appraisals are hurting home sales" he said.

"You can't charge more than you can get an appraisal for," Crowe added. "Even though we are seeing price increases in labor, land and materials, 36 percent of builder recently said they had lost at least one sale over appraisals coming in below the cost of production."

A Solid Outlook


NAHB is forecasting 924,000 total housing starts in 2013, up 18 percent from 783,000 units last year.
Single-family production is expected to rise 17 percent this year to 629,000 units, jump an additional 31 percent next year to 826,000 and surpass the 1 million mark in 2015.

NAHB is projecting that multifamily starts will increase 20 percent in 2013 to 296,000 units and rise an additional 10 percent to 326,000 units next year, which Crowe characterized as a normal level of multifamily production.

Meanwhile, residential remodeling has returned to previously normal levels of the early 2000s and remodeling activity is expected to register a modest gain this year over 2012.

"Our Remodeling Market Index has been above 50 for three of the last four quarters, indicating that remodelers feel things are going better," said Crowe. "Remodeling did not fall as much, so it does not have as much ground to make up."

Dodging a Bullet


Regarding the uncertainties emanating out of Washington over the government shutdown and the impending Oct. 17deadline when the government will run out of cash to pay its bills, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, expressed optimism that Congress will move quickly to resolve these critical issues.

"I truly anticipate that lawmakers will get it together, but that is definitely a challenge to my economic outlook," said Zandi. "If policymakers can't get it together by Oct. 17, we're toast, and I think we are going into recession."

Assuming the government meets these challenges, Zandi cited three reasons for optimism moving forward. First, the fiscal drag that is weighing heavily on the economy in the form of tax increases and government spending cuts that are now being implemented will continue to fade in the coming years. This fiscal drag will shave 1.5 percent off of GDP growth this year, about 0.7 percent next year and gradually fall to zero by 2016, he said.

Second, Zandi noted that the "private economy has done a marvelous job of reducing leverage and getting their balance sheets in order. American companies are in very good shape and they will do well going forward, with continued strong export growth. That will be a strong source of economic growth for a long time to come."

Finally, Zandi said that demographics make a compelling argument for a strengthening housing market.

"In the current housing market, supply is running around 950,000 annual units," he said. "In a normal economy, we should be producing 1.7 million units. That's a big difference. We've already made a lot of progress in working off excess inventory. We won't get housing construction up to 1.7 million quickly. The big problem in the next five years won't be too much housing, but too little housing."

All Markets Are Local


Looking beneath the national numbers, Robert Denk, NAHB's assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, noted a range of conditions across the country and differences among the states in the amount of distress suffered during the recession and the headway that is being made in recovery.

Housing nationwide bottomed out at an average of 27 percent of normal production in early 2009.

The hardest hit states where production soared to unsustainable levels during the boom years -- California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida -- bottomed out at 10 percent to 20 percent of normal when the housing bubble burst. In sharp contrast, better states that did not experience a huge production run up during the boom declined to 50 percent of normal production.

"We've now gotten past the point where we are digging out of holes and repairing the carnage of the housing markets," said Denk. "It's no longer about the boom and the bust. Now it's about the underlying [state and regional] economies and how that is supporting the housing recovery."

For example, while Texas and Florida have roughly the same number of mortgages, Florida had nearly five times as many foreclosures during the height of the downturn and today has less than double.

Now that housing has entered a new stage in the healing process, local economic conditions are dictating the pace of recovery. "That's why the bubble states are no longer in the bottom tier and have moved ahead of the industrial Midwest," he said.

The gradual and steady housing recovery now underway across the land will bring nationwide housing starts to 71 percent of normal by the fourth quarter of next year and 93 percent of normal by the end of 2015, Denk said.

Leading the way will be oil and gas producing states Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Louisiana, Wyoming and Montana; and Iowa, supported by agricultural commodities.

In another way of looking at the long road back to normal, by the end of 2015 the top 20 percent of states will be back to normal production levels, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which will still be below 84 percent.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BIA-Hawaii Board Member, Anthony Borge, elected to Small Business Regulatory Review Board

DBEDT Press Release


HONOLULU—The Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB) has announced it officers for 2013-2014:
  • Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Chair (Oahu)
  • Anthony Borge, Vice Chair (Oahu)
  • Leslie Mullens, Second Vice Chair (Maui)
Additional members are Barbara Bennett (Kauai), Kyoko Kimura (Maui), Howard Lum (Oahu), and Craig Takamine (Hawaii).

About the Small Business Regulatory Review Board:

The SBRRB was established on July 1, 1998 with the passage of the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act. The responsibilities of the SBRRB include:
  1. Commentary on small business impact statements to the rule-drafting departments,
  2. Identification and commentary on business impact of existing administrative rules,
  3. Recommendations to the Governor’s Office, Departments or the Legislature regarding the need for an administrative rule or legislative change,
  4. Recommendations to the Mayors or County Councils regarding County rules, and
  5. Review of small business petitions and complaints on business impact.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NAHB to Host its Fall Construction Forecast Webinar Next Week

NAHB Media Advisory


WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will host its Semi-Annual Construction Forecast Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in a two-hour webinar from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ETfeaturing three renowned industry experts.

WHEN:
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET

WHAT:
Nationally-recognized housing and economics experts will join together for a lively discussion on what's ahead for housing. Topics will include:
  • Housing's role in the recovery
  • Variations by market and where the recovery lags and leads
  • Headwinds hindering the housing recovery, such as materials prices, labor shortages and tight credit
  • Tailwinds pushing housing such as demographics and pent-up demand
  • Future Federal Reserve actions and their impacts

The schedule of speakers includes:
  • David Crowe, PhD, chief economist and senior vice president, NAHB
  • Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody's Analytics
  • Robert Denk, assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, NAHB
Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar. For more information, visitwww.nahb.org/cfw.

TO REGISTER:
Registration for NAHB members is $29.95 and $49.95 for non-members. To register for the webinar or for additional information, please visit www.nahb.org/cfw. Before the event, participants will receive an email with specific log-in instructions to gain access to the live meeting.

New-Home Sales Rise 7.9 Percent in August

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 7.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000 units in August, according to newly released figures from HUD and U.S. Census Bureau. The gain partly offsets a dip in sales activity that occurred in July as consumers reacted to higher interest rates.

"Consumers are adjusting to the reality of today's higher rates following a period of record-setting lows, and today's sales report provides evidence of that," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "We expect to see more buyers coming back to the market as the psychological effects of the rate gains continue to wear off, particularly since, even after the recent spike, mortgage rates remain exceptionally favorable on a historic basis."

"Sales of new homes bounced partway back in August from an unusual low in July," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "That said, we are only about halfway back to what would be considered a sustainable level of activity in a normal economy, and the ongoing housing recovery continues to be slowed by consumers' concerns about interest rates, as well as weak job growth and uncertainty about what's happening in Washington."

Three out of four regions posted solid gains in new-home sales activity in August. Sales rose 8.8 percent in the Northeast, 19.6 percent in the Midwest and 15.3 percent in the South for the month. The West was the exception to the rule, with a 14.6 percent decline.

While the months' supply of new homes edged down to 5.0 due to the quicker sales pace in August, the total inventory rose for a seventh consecutive month, to 175,000 units.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Statement from NAHB on Clean Water Act Guidance Withdrawal

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 18-The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Rick Judson issued the following statement today on the decision to withdraw the proposed Clean Water Act guidance in favor of a proposed rulemaking.

"The National Association of Home Builders applauds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' and Environmental Protection Agency's joint decision to withdraw their proposed Clean Water Act guidance and instead propose a rulemaking. We have tried for years to convince the agencies to bring clarity and consistency to questions of Clean Water Act jurisdiction and these efforts have finally borne fruit. We look forward to studying the proposed rule on its release and hope that the promised clarity will not come in the form of a "one size fits all" approach that assumes that a roadside ditch and riparian wetland have the same importance or nexus to navigable waters."

Single-Family Production Pushes Housing Starts Up in August

NAHB Press Releases


WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 - Led by a solid increase in single-family starts, nationwide housing production rose 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 units in August, according to figures released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, construction of multifamily buildings slowed following a rebound in the previous month.

"Overall, this is an encouraging report as builders are seeing pent-up demand begin to be released for single-family homes despite headwinds such as rising mortgage rates and tight credit conditions," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

"This is the kind of signal we've been looking for, with single-family starts and permits up or holding steady across every region in the nation," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Today's report is reflective of gradual improvement in buyer confidence in the overall market and our recent surveys that indicate a solid outlook for single-family production. On the multifamily side, we are catching up with underlying rental demand. We expect to see additional multifamily starts in the future, but not as rapid a pace of growth as we've seen in the past."

Single-family housing starts rose 7 percent to a 628,000 unit pace. Regionally, single-family starts activity rose 9.6 percent in the Northeast, 7.1 percent in the Midwest, 2.3 percent in the South and 17.5 percent in the West.

The annualized rate of multifamily production fell 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 263,000 units.

Overall building permits, which are an indicator of future building activity, declined 3.8 percent to 918,000 units in August. This was due entirely to a pullback in the multifamily sector, where permits fell 15.7 percent to 291,000 units. Single-family permits posted a 3 percent gain to 627,000 units - the best pace since May of 2008.

Regionally, single-family permit issuance increased 2.9 percent in the Midwest, 2.5 percent in the South, 5.3 percent in the West and held steady in the Northeast.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Senators Cite Importance of Maintaining Federal Backstop in Housing Finance Overhaul

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 -- Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today stressed that ongoing efforts to reform the U.S. tax code and overhaul the housing finance system should take into account the important role that housing plays in the economy.

The senators joined housing industry experts at a forum that examined the future of U.S. housing, "Building a Better Future: America's Housing at a Crossroads," at the Newseum in Washington. The symposium was produced by CQ Roll Call and sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Sens. Tester and Corker are among 10 bipartisan cosponsors of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act (S. 1217), legislation to reform the nation's housing finance system that includes a federal backstop while limiting taxpayer exposure.

"We worked hard to make sure the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage remains a viable option," said Tester. "This is something consumers want and expect. I don't think we could have a viable 30-year note in a purely private market."

"We had 10 senators that weighed in and made a difference," said Corker. "I think we have struck a very good balance. The 10 percent capital piece is a very, very important element. Another component that was very important was having a federal backstop."

As the legislative process moves forward, Corker added that he expects to see improvements to S. 1217 and that a housing finance proposal pending in the House will also undergo changes.

"My guess is by the time something passes out of the House it might be a little bit different from where it is and move a little more toward where the Senate bill is," said Corker. "My guess is the House and Senate can pass bills with different characteristics and we can move to conference to get something done for the country."

In terms of tax reform, Sen. Isakson, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said his panel is prepared to move forward if it gets "the opportunity."

Isakson said that every provision in the tax code, including the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit, must be justified in terms of "what they produce for the country. If you can't make a case for your tax provision, it should not be in there."

"I can make a great case for the preservation of the mortgage interest deduction and I can make a phenomenal case for low and moderate income housing tax credits in terms of the payback to the country, but those arguments have to be won and lost when you are truly doing a major reform," said Isakson.

Along with the Senate keynote speakers, housing analysts engaged in a series of in-depth discussions on key issues, with a special emphasis on the outlook for housing demand and production, ongoing efforts toward reform of the housing finance system and the potential impacts of tax reform on homeownership and the economy.

Demographics


The housing downturn led to a "remarkable slowdown in household growth," said Eric Belsky, managing director, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. "There is not a strong recovery in household formations, but we are seeing signs of that happening. People don't want to live with their parents into their 30s; they are doing it out of economic necessity."

As the economy continues to mend, pent-up demand for housing should also increase, according to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

"I would say in general the housing market is only half-way back," he said. "Multifamily production is back to 300,000 units per year, which is nearly back to normal."

While the single-family side continues to gradually bounce back, Crowe said that several challenges remain.

"Credit for buyers and builders remains difficult, and there is a lack of buildable lots," he said.

Looking ahead, the outlook looks bright for homeownership.

"Nineteen out of 20 people say they plan on buying a home somewhere in the future if they are under the age of 45," said Belsky. "You can lock in housing payments with a fixed rate mortgage today or look at higher rents in the future. A lot of people will look at that calculation and say 'I think it is time to buy a home.'"

Columbia Business School Professor Christopher Mayer also noted that homeownership is not just an American dream but a global dream.

"When you look at developing countries, people try to buy a home," said Mayer. "It is economic security."

Housing Finance


Panelists addressing the issue of housing finance were in general agreement that the private sector needs to play a greater role in mortgage financing but that maintaining some level of federal support is essential to ensure stability and liquidity in the mortgage markets.

A dissenting view on this latter point came from Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute, who said that lowering the conforming loan limits of government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over time will allow the private sector to come in and pick up that business.

"If you simply made those changes and authorized the withdrawal of the GSEs, you would find we would gradually move to a completely private system, which is where I think we should be going," said Wallison.

This response drew a sharp rebuttal from other panelists.

"Private capital by itself will not secure a safe market and most importantly, private capital during a down market is least likely to be there," said Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.

"Mike is making a real important point that credit will dry up in the housing finance market when times get tough," added Georgetown University Law Professor Adam Levitan.

"There is a government, taxpayer supported entity that stands up," said Michael Stegman, counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Housing Finance Policy. "We know how much more serious the [housing and economic] crisis would have been without the FHA stepping up."

Tax Reform


On the topic of tax reform, a third panel of housing experts were in general agreement that the mortgage interest deduction plays a key role in shaping housing demand, while differing in their evaluation of current policy.

"The nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that if we repealed the mortgage interest deduction and lowered marginal tax rates then GDP would decline by $100 billion annually," said NAHB economist Robert Dietz.

Dietz also said that repealing the deduction would case home values to fall. "Considering it only takes a 6 percent drop in home values to wipe out $1 trillion in household wealth, the economic consequences could be significant."

Noting the importance of the mortgage interest deduction to younger households, who are paying greater amounts of interest in the early years of a mortgage, Dietz warned that repeal of the deduction would lead the homeownership rate to fall and the average age of a first-time home buyer to rise. This delay could in turn affect family formation, wealth accumulation and other economic and demographic outcomes.

Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation, said he opposes the mortgage interest deduction and believes that tax policy should not be set to achieve social purposes.

"Do we want to support middle class or low-income home owners? Then let's just provide an explicit subsidy to people we want to, and then find a middle ground," he said.

Dr. John Weicher, a director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Housing and Financial Markets, rejected the idea that the mortgage interest deduction is a tax distortion.

"Keep in mind if you are a home owner you have an asset and consumption," he said. "You are a landlord renting to yourself. It is silly to think of this as simply a consumption when it is the biggest investment that nearly anyone is going to make."

Builder Confidence Unchanged in September

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 - Following four consecutive months of improvement, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged in September with a reading of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.

"While builder confidence is holding at the highest level in nearly eight years, many are reporting some hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the sharp increase in interest rates," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Home buyers are adjusting to the fact that, while mortgage rates are still quite favorable on a historic basis, the record lows are probably a thing of the past."

"Following a solid run up in builder confidence over the past year, we are seeing a pause in the momentum as consumers wait to see where interest rates settle and as the headwinds of tight credit, shrinking supplies of lots for development and increasing labor costs continue," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations in 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 conditions as good than poor.

HMI component indexes were mixed in September. While the component gauging current sales conditions held unchanged at 62, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months declined three points to 65 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 47.

All four regions posted gains in their three-month moving average HMI scores in September, including a two-point gain to 41 in the Northeast, a four-point gain to 64 in the Midwest, a two-point gain to 56 in the South and a four-point gain to 61 in the West, respectively.

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 atnahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

2014 BIA-Hawaii Membership Directory

BIA-Hawaii is pleased to announce our partnership with Trade Publishing, the official publisher of the 2014 BIA-Hawaii Membership Directory.


This convenient and attractive full-color directory will be distributed at the 2014 BIA-Hawaii Home Building and Remodeling Show and the 2014 BIA-Hawaii Remodel it Right, Remodel it Green Expo.

In addition, each of our members, as well as our industry partners and the government agencies will receive a copy of the new and updated directory.

We invite you to take advantage of the excellent advertising opportunities now available, for inclusion in the new directory.

Trade Publishing will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014—six decades of serving Hawaii's building and related industries. In addition to its flagship publication, Building Industry magazine, Trade also publishes Building Management Hawaii magazine, annual publications Construction Industry Guide (CIG), Construction Preview, and other pace-setting magazines and annuals.

BIA-Hawaii is excited about our new partnership and its many potential benefits to our members.

For more information on the 2014 BIA-Hawaii Membership Directory and/or advertising opportunities, please contact Trade Publishing Company.


Jennifer Dorman, 808-738-4990; e-mail: jennifer@tradepublishing.com
Rodney Fleming, 808-738-4939; email: rodney@tradepublishing.com
Charlene Gray, 808-739-4938; email: charlene@tradepublishing.com
Jan Lee, 808-842-1244; email: jan@aaaqualityservices.com
Barry Redmayne, 808-738-4950; email: barry@tradepublishing.com

Gladys Marrone, BIA Goverment Relations Director appointed to C&C of Honolulu's Transportation Commission


On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, BIA-Hawaii's Government Relations Director, Gladys Marrone, was sworn in to the City & County of Honolulu's Transportation Commission. As one of Mayor Caldwell's appointees, she will serve for a term ending June 30, 2015.

The Transportation Commission is a seven-member commission which evaluates, reviews, and makes recommendations on matters pertaining to the Department of Transportation Services.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NAHB Forum Brings Together Lawmakers and Industry Experts on Top Housing Issues


NAHB Press Release


Participants are Invited to Join in Person or via Live Webcast

WHAT: On Sept. 17, 2013, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is sponsoring Building a Better Future: America's Housing at a Crossroads, a series of in-depth discussions at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

This free event, hosted by CQ Roll Call, will gather members of Congress, their staff, industry and association leaders and other key stakeholders together to examine the future of the housing market.

Topics that will be covered include:
  • Demographics: The Outlook for Housing Demand and Production
  • Financing Housing: GSE Reform and Sensible Mortgage Lending
  • Tax Reform: Potential Effects on Homeownership and the Economy
Breakfast and lunch will be served to all attendees.

WHO: Keynote speakers include U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Panel sessions feature industry experts from NAHB, Harvard University, the Center for Responsible Lending, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and more.

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Newseum- 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20001

REGISTER: To see the full agenda and to register to attend the event in person, go to https://cqrcbuildingfuture.eventbrite.com

To register for the live webcast, go to: http://nsp.performedia.com/cqrollcall/nahb13/welcome

For press registration, please contact Liz Thompson at ethompson@nahb.org.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Record High 291 Housing Markets Listed as Improving in September

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 - A total of 291 metropolitan areas across the country now qualify as improving housing markets, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for September, released today. This reflects a gain of 44 markets from August and marks the index's highest level since it was initiated two years ago.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. In September, 242 housing markets retained their existing positions on the IMI while 49 new markets were added and five were dropped from the list. Recent additions include such geographically diverse locations as Macon, Ga.; St. Cloud, Minn.; Brownsville, Texas; Spokane, Wash.; and Milwaukee, Wis.

"Just over 80 percent of the 361 metros tracked by our index are showing consistent growth in three key measures of housing market strength - prices, permits and employment," explained NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographic areas."

"The dramatic increase in markets qualifying for the IMI in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, which resulted in stronger gains than previously reported," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Even so, the broadened list of metros on the IMI continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook."

"With every state now able to claim at least one county that's part of an improving metro, and 23 states having charted at least one new entry in September alone, prospective home buyers have good reason to be encouraged by this news," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co.

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures' respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 291 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in September, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

Editor's Note: Starting in October, NAHB will be phasing out the Improving Markets Index and replacing it with a new index to be released on the same schedule. More information on the new index will be announced in a subsequent news release.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Manufacturers, Product Dealers Show Support for Design & Construction Week

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 - More than a dozen trade associations and industry groups have signed on as Supporting Organizations for Design & Construction Week, TM joining forces for what promises to be the largest-ever residential construction exposition in the nation in 2014.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) will launch Design & Construction Week Feb. 4-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center as the International Builders' Show (IBS) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) co-locate for the first time.

Supporting Organization members will enjoy discounted registration for the event, while the organizations' leaders will be invited to participate in the Design & Construction Week Roundtable to discuss trends in the U.S. housing market and exchange ideas with other industry notables.

"Home builders are part of a large, diverse supply chain that includes a variety of organizations representing all the professionals who plan, design, build and remodel America's housing stock," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer in Charlotte, N.C.

"By inviting our Supporting Organizations to be part of Design & Construction Week, we can take better advantage of this event to advance the professionalism of the entire industry through education, networking and product knowledge," said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy. "Bringing together our industry's thought leaders once a year is a great place to start," he said.

Both IBS and NKBS opened their attendee registration process earlier this week. And, exhibit space for both shows continues to sell at a brisk pace.

"Design & Construction Week offers manufacturers and suppliers the unique opportunity to reach two very large audiences for the cost of exhibiting in one trade show," Judson added. "That, combined with an improving housing market, is translating into these bigger exhibit space sales."

Supporting Organizations announced so far include:
  • Accessible Home Improvement of America (AHIA)
  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
  • American Supply Association (ASA)
  • Association of Closet and Storage Professionals (ACSP)
  • Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA)
  • CTIA-The Wireless Association (CTIA)
  • International Code Council (ICC)
  • National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)
  • National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA)
  • National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA)
  • National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)
  • National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)
  • North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA)
  • The Presidents Council
  • Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA)
  • Wood Products Manufacturers Association (WPMA)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2014 International Builders' Show Registration Opens

New Co-located Megashow to be Nation's Largest Gathering of Construction and Design Professionals


NAHB Press Release

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4--The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) officially opened online registration this week for the 2014 NAHB International Builders' Show® (IBS), the largest annual light construction tradeshow in the world. The 2014 megashow, to be held in Las Vegas, Feb. 4-6, is part of the first Design & Construction Week,[tm] a co-location with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), hosted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

With more than 70,000 anticipated attendees, 1,500 exhibitors and 600,000+ net square feet of exhibits, this new megaevent is the largest annual gathering of residential construction and design professionals. While the shows will remain separate and distinct, all registrants will have access to the exhibits of both IBS and KBIS as well as the exhibits of a third show, the International Window Coverings Expo.

"Design & Construction Week is already generating a lot of excitement," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Now more than ever, industry professionals can find everything they need under one roof from an expansive exhibit floor with the top products to comprehensive education programs, networking opportunities and special events. Attendees will not want to miss this one-of-a-kind event."

During September, IBS registrants can take advantage of several discounts and incentives, including:
  • Free Expo Pass for all NAHB members or a $100 discount for NAHB members on early full conference registration, which includes access to 100+ education sessions in addition to the expo floors of all three shows.
  • A $50 Expo Pass for nonmembers (normally $100), or save $100 off the early full registration fee of $475.
  • Free spouse registration for NAHB members and nonmembers. Beginning Oct. 1, the price will jump to $20.
Show attendees will have the opportunity to learn new techniques and explore emerging trends in the more than 100 education sessions offered throughout IBS. The combined show floor will feature 1,500 of the industry's top manufacturers and suppliers showcasing the latest and most innovative products. Additional special events, speakers, awards competitions and networking opportunities are among the other major highlights for attendees.

Another of the many draws of IBS is The New American Home® (TNAH) 2014, a one-of-a-kind green show home that is being built in a nearby neighborhood and will be open to attendees to tour during IBS. The state-of-the-art home incorporates builders' best practices in energy efficiency, indoor-air quality, safety, convenience and aesthetics.

The NAHB International Builders' Show is not open to the general public. Building industry professionals and their affiliates are invited to register by visiting the show's website at www.BuildersShow.com.

Shortage of Lots Slows Housing Recovery

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Sept. 4--A shortage of buildable lots, especially in the most desirable locations, has emerged as one of the key factors holding back a more robust housing recovery, according to the latest survey on the topic conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"In our August 2013 survey, 59 percent of builders reported that the supply of lots in their markets was low or very low--up from 43 percent September of last year, and the largest low supply percentage we've seen since we began conducting these surveys in 1997," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "One reason is that many residential developers left the industry, abandoned certain markets or simply stopped buying land and developing lots during the downturn."

The 59 percent includes 39 percent who characterized the supply of lots simply as "low" and 20 percent who said the supply of lots was "very low." Another 22 percent said the supply of lots was "normal," 10 percent said it was "high" and four percent said "very high." Six percent said they didn't know or weren't sure.

The survey found that lot shortages tended to be especially acute in the most desirable, or "A," locations. Thirty-four percent of builders said that the supply of A lots was very low, compared to 18 percent for lots in B and 12 percent for lots in C locations.

The shortages have also translated into higher prices for builders who are able to obtain developed lots to build on. In the same survey, 34 percent of home builders said the price of developed A lots was somewhat higher than it was a year ago, and 26 percent said the price was substantially higher. In comparison, 15 percent of builders said the price of B lots was substantially higher than a year ago, and 11 percent said the price of C lots was substantially higher. Ultimately, higher lot prices are passed on to buyers in the form of higher house prices.

The shortage of buildable lots has emerged against the backdrop of a housing recovery that is still modest by historical standards. To this point, housing starts have recovered from a low of 550,000 in 2009 to an annual rate of just fewer than 900,000 in the Census Bureau's latest release. Historically, starts averaged more than 1.5 million a year from 1960-2000, without ever plunging below 1 million until 2008.

"There is still a substantial pent-up demand for housing waiting to be unleashed as the overall economy and labor situation improves," said Crowe. "Lot shortages are one of several barriers that have arisen, restraining builders from responding completely to increased demand. Other barriers include a shortage of labor in carpentry and other key building trades, limited availability of loans even for credit worthy home builders and home buyers; and, more recently, an uptick in interest rates."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

6 Ewa Beach Residents successfully completed the PACT Program


On Thursday, August 22, 2013, 6 students successfully completed CTC's Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) Program.

The Hawaii Building Industry Foundation (HBIF) was awarded a grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) Haseko Training Fund, to provide it's PACT Program for residents in the Ewa Beach community. 

The HCF PACT students completed an accelerated 6-week Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) program at CTC-Pacific.  Training consisted of Basic Principles for Construction, First Aid & CPR w/AED, Introduction to OSHA, Fundamentals of Green Building and Introduction to Construction Skills courses. The students also participated in a job site tour led by Larry Hawkins at Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii's Nohona 3 project in Kapolei.

Mahalo to Hawaii Community Foundation and Haseko for a successful partnership, and a big mahalo to our education sponsor - Hawaii Energy Connection who took time out of their busy schedules to familiarize the students with their line of work.

Congratulations to:

Brandon Dalere
Makanaona Dias
Lee-J Gatewood
Kaniala Kaleo
Nikolao Paese Jr.
Alexander Ramos

Apartment and Condominium Market Gains Momentum in Second Quarter

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 - Production of apartments and condominiums gained momentum in the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released today by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The index increased nine points to 61, which is the highest reading since its inception in 2003.

The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

The MPI provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and "for-sale" units, or condominiums. In the second quarter of 2013, the MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties rose six points to 67, the 11th straight quarter above 50; for-sale units had a significant increase of 16 points to 58, which is the highest reading since the second quarter of 2005; and low-rent units increased five points to 60.

"Multifamily developer confidence is currently at an all-time high according to our survey results, and we expect to see that continue for the foreseeable future," said W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB's Multifamily Leadership Board. "Much of the consumer demand that we are now seeing is coming from a large generation of young people who are able to find jobs and establish their own households as the economy continues to improve."

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, rose four points to 42. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies. After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been at a fairly moderate level since 2011.

Historically, the MPI and MVI have performed well as leading indicators of U.S. Census figures for multifamily starts and vacancy rates, providing information on likely movement in the Census figures one to three quarters in advance.

"The apartment and condo sector continues to expand production," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "This increased level of activity is needed to meet current demand and to compensate for a serious lack of new units developed during the housing downturn."

For data tables on the MPI and MVI, visit www.nahb.org/mms.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

OSHA's Proposed Silica Rule Raises Concerns for Construction Industry, Says NAHB

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 28--A coalition of construction industry groups is concerned about a proposed rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that's intended to protect workers from inhaling dust containing silica, created by activities such as cutting brick or block, and sawing, grinding or drilling concrete.

"We need practical, science-based solutions that protect workers in all facets of construction," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. "Unfortunately, OSHA's initial announcement about this proposed rule indicates we aren't there yet."

Announced Aug. 23 in a press conference that laid out few details, the proposed rule seems to call for one-size-fits-all measures that contradict existing safety and quality assurance practices for different types of contractors.

For instance, spraying water to reduce dust may be practical in some construction projects, but using it inside a home while cutting granite counters can cause mold. In cold weather, spraying water while cutting asphalt roof shingles could cause ice to form on the slanted surface, endangering workers. Ventilation and dust-capture systems can inhibit the safe operation of tools. And if prescribed measures are not practicable, contractors might be forced to eliminate products with silica altogether, including concrete, brick, granite, and other common construction materials.

Independent studies have estimated costs for construction industry compliance will exceed $1 billion per year.

NAHB is part of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which is seeking a feasible and cost-effective crystalline silica regulation that improves safety and health protection measures for workers. The coalition represents thousands of employers working to protect hundreds of thousands of workers in home building, road repair, heavy industrial production, specialty trades and materials supply.

It was formed to encourage OSHA to develop better choices for compliance with the construction-specific silica rule: alternatives that also address costs, consistency with existing federal regulations and do not overly burden small businesses.

Construction Industry Safety Coalition members include:

· Associated Builder and Contractors (ABC)
· Associated General Contractors (AGC)
· Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI)
· American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
· American Subcontractors Association (ASA)
· International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE)
· Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
· Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCA)
· National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
· National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)

Call for Entries Announced for 2014 NAHBGreen Awards

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 28--The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is now accepting submissions for its 2014 NAHBGreen Awards. Each year, NAHB recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for excellence in residential green design and construction practices and for green building program and advocacy efforts.

The awards will be presented on Feb. 5 during an event held in conjunction with the 2014 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.

"In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in green building, and the industry has responded by designing and constructing high-performance homes that reflect not only green and energy efficient principles, but also innovative design," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Each year, NAHB recognizes the very best work in this sector in its NAHBGreen Awards."

In an effort to create a more streamlined submission process and to make it easier and quicker for applicants to apply, the applications for all Project of the Year categories have been revised this year and can be submitted online. The awards are open to both NAHB members and non-NAHB members. To be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2013.

Categories include: Project of the Year--Single Family, Project of the Year--Multifamily, Project of the Year--Remodel, Project of the Year--Green Site Development, and Advocate of the Year.

All homes and developments must be scored to either the 2008 or 2012 ICC-700 National Green Building Standard®, to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by downloading the scoring spreadsheets at homeinnovation.com/greenscoring.

All entries must be received by Oct. 15, 2013. Application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.

For more information, or to apply, please visit www.nahb.org/greenbuildingawards. Please contact Chad Riedy atcriedy@nahb.org with any additional questions

Friday, August 23, 2013

Help Ensure Better Building Codes

Beginning in September, NAHB will send a series of emails to all Builder members that detail some important proposed changes in the next current cycle of building codes as International Code Council (ICC) officials prepare for the Final Action Hearings in Atlantic City, N.J. Oct. 2-10. These hearings will determine the final outcome of all 2,065 proposed code changes to the International Residential Code, International Energy Conservation Code, International Fire Code and others.

NAHB has already developed the 2015 ICC Code Development Action Kit – available to logged-in members and HBA staff.

Why the push? Many of the code change proposals, if approved, will drive the cost of building even higher with minimal corresponding benefit. Paybacks for some of the proposed “improvements” may never be reached during the average home owner’s occupancy – and others are just a way to codify the purchase of a particular product or brand. On the other hand, there are also proposals, such as those submitted by NAHB, which do need approval to lower upfront construction costs while still maintaining occupant safety and welfare.

NAHB is calling on all builders to reach out to their local code officials attending the hearings so they vote and testify in support of NAHB’s positions on the most critical code change proposals. NAHB is calling on EOs, as well, to reinforce this message to their members, and will provide templates to make the job easier.

Watch your email after the Labor Day holiday – and help NAHB help our members promote sensible building codes. For additional information, contact Neil Burning at 800-368-5242 x8564.

Higher Mortgage Rates Prompt Pause in New-Home Sales in July

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes declined 13.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000 units in July as higher mortgage rates prompted a temporary pause in buying activity, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The drop-off in sales in July is in part a reflection of buyers' reaction to the recent uptick in mortgage rates as people reassess their budgets to determine how much house they can afford," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Consumers just need a little time to adjust to the new parameters of the market."

"New-home sales figures refer to newly signed contracts to purchase a home, rather than a completed sale, and it's likely that the higher rates caused some buyers to delay putting pen to paper," explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, there is still a great deal of pent-up demand for homes in markets nationwide, and builders continue to report improving consumer interest. This suggests that what we're seeing is a temporary pause, and that buyers will return to the market once they are confident that the higher mortgage rates are here to stay."

Every region recorded lower new-home sales in July, with declines of 5.7 percent, 12.9 percent, 13.4 percent and 16.1 percent reported for the Northeast, Midwest, South and West, respectively. Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale edged up to 171,000 units in July, which is a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Congratulations to the Waianae Health Academy PACT graudates!


On Thursday, August 15, 2013, 11 students participated in the Waianae Health Academy Awards Ceremony held at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

The Construction Training Center of the Pacific (CTC-Pacific) partnered with the Waianae Health Academy (WHA), the educational arm of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Center, to provide it's Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) Program for Native Hawaiians living in the Waianae community. 

The WHA PACT students completed a 9-week Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) program at CTC-Pacific.  Training consisted of Basic Principles for Construction, First Aid & CPR w/AED, OSHA 10-Hour, Fundamentals of Green Building, Introduction to Construction Skills, and Job Readiness courses. The students also participated in a job site tour led by Larry Hawkins at Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii's Nohona 3 project in Kapolei.

Mahalo to Waianae Health Academy for a successful partnership, and a big mahalo to our education sponsors - Hawaii Energy Connection and Simpson Strong-Tie Co., who took time out of their busy schedules to familiarize the students with their line of work.

Congratulations to:

 Aren Aldeguer
Keane Ching
Diana Filoteo
Sarah Kauhi
Blyke Marinas
Phoebe Morimoto
Jamal Shamon Outlaw
Caesar Paishon IV
Lenore Pascubillo
Jeri Rodrigues
Corina Wilcox

Friday, August 16, 2013

Housing Starts Rise 5.9 Percent in July

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - Nationwide housing starts rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units in July as multifamily construction rebounded from a dip in the previous month, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, single-family construction recorded a modest decline from a rate that was upwardly revised for the previous month.

"Builders are making every effort to keep up with the rising demand for new homes and apartments, and construction in both sectors is running well ahead of the pace we saw at this time last year," noted Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "However, ongoing issues with accessing credit and limited supplies of finished lots and labor are making it tough to do that, particularly for single-family builders."

"Today's report is in line with our forecast for continued, gradual strengthening of housing starts and permit activity through the rest of the year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The double-digit bounce-back on the multifamily side was in keeping with typical month-to-month volatility in that sector," he noted, "while the sideways movement in single-family was a result of unusually wet weather in the South and West."

Single-family housing starts declined 2.2 percent from an upwardly revised pace in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units in July. Meanwhile, a 26 percent gain to a 305,000-unit pace on the multifamily side offset a similar dip in the previous month.

Regionally, combined housing starts activity posted solid gains of 40.2 percent in the Northeast, 25.4 percent in the Midwest and 7.2 percent in the West, respectively, in July, while the South posted a 7 percent decline.

Issuance of building permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 943,000 units in July. Single-family permits dipped 1.9 percent to 613,000 units from a strong pace in the previous month, while multifamily permits gained 12.6 percent to 330,000 units.

Regionally, combined permit issuance increased across the board in July, with gains of 1 percent, 2.8 percent, 1.1 percent and 7.1 percent in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West, respectively.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Builder Confidence Rises Three Points in August

NAHB Press Release



WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 - Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose three points to 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for August, released today. This fourth consecutive monthly gain brings the index to its highest level in nearly eight years.

"Builders are seeing more motivated buyers walk through their doors than they have in quite some time," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "What's more, firming home prices and thinning inventories of homes for sale are contributing to an increased sense of urgency among those who are in the market."

"Builder confidence continues to strengthen along with rising demand for a limited supply of new and existing homes in most local markets," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, this positive momentum is being slowed by the ongoing headwinds of tight credit and low supplies of finished lots and labor."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 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 conditions as good than poor.

Two of the HMI's three components posted gains in August. The component gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 62, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months gained a single point to 68 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged at 45.

All but one region saw a gain in its three-month moving average HMI score in August. The Midwest and West each posted six-point increases, to 60 and 57, respectively, while the South posted a four-point gain to 54 and the Northeast held unchanged at 39.

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 atnahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rising Home Values Impact Affordability in Second Quarter

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 - Nationwide housing affordability slipped several notches as recovering markets witnessed significant firming of home prices in the second quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today.

In all, 69.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of April and end of June were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down from the 73.7 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the first quarter, and the first time that the measure has fallen below 70 percent since late 2008.

"Housing affordability has been hovering near historic highs for the past several years, largely due to exceptionally favorable mortgage rates and low prices during the recession," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Now that markets across the country are recovering, home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of building homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building materials, developable lots and labor."

"Rising home prices signal the improving health in housing markets, and the median price of all new and existing U.S. homes sold in this year's second quarter, at $202,000, was well ahead of the second quarter 2012 median price of $185,000," observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Together with rising mortgage rates, this contributed to affordability slipping to the lowest level in more than four years. Such movement would be less concerning were it not for ongoing discussions regarding potential changes to the mortgage interest deduction and federal support for the secondary mortgage market, both of which play enormous roles in keeping homeownership affordable."

While Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, was rated the nation's most affordable major housing market for a fourth consecutive quarter, a newcomer - Utica-Rome, N.Y. - claimed the title of most affordable smaller market in the latest HOI.

In the larger metro, 92.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year's second quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $70,800. This was slightly lower than the 93.4 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median income-earners in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, just over 97 percent of new and existing homes sold in Utica-Rome in the same period were affordable to families earning that area's median income of $63,800.

Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the second quarter included Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., in descending order.

Smaller markets joining Utica at the top of the affordability chart included Kokomo, Ind.; Cumberland, Md.-W.V.; Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J.; and Bay City, Mich.

For a third consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 19.3 percent of homes sold in the second quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $101,200.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; in descending order.

All of the least affordable small housing markets were in California in the latest quarter. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, where 30 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $73,800. Other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Salinas, Napa and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, respectively.

Please visit www.nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning the area's median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by Core Logic, a data and analytics company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo HOI is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public.

Monday, August 12, 2013

9,743 Attend the 9th Annual BIA-Hawaii Remodel it Right, Remodel it Green Expo

BIA Press Release


​HONOLULU- The 9th Annual BIA Remodel It Right, Remodel It Green Expo, held on August 9 - August 11 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, generated an attendance of 9,743 over the three event days. Sponsors RevoluSun and BIA-Hawaii Remodelers presented Hawaii’s top contractors, suppliers, building industry experts and associates. The unique “Meet the Experts, Remodel It Right and Remodel It Green” interactive presentations offered educational round tablesessions with experts from the entire spectrum of the remodeling industry.

​Karen Nakamura, BIA-Hawaii CEO stated,
“We are surprised and very happy with the results of this year’s show. Out total attendance of 9,743 is a +25% increase over last year and our Sunday attendance of 4,311 is the highest number of Sunday attendees since this event premiered in 2005. Our exhibitors reported thousands of solid leads from attendees who came to the Expo with their plans, specific questions and timelines. Many families came to the Expo this year that were very actively planning whole house remodeling projects and were interested in seeking information from our experts. Popular topics included saving money by reducing energy consumption with solar photo voltaic panels, energy Starappliances, windows and green products that save people money with lower utility bills, rebates and tax credits. Since approximately 60% of Oahu homes are more than 50 years old and could benefit from a remodeling project, we are very committed to this building industry consumer event that is designed to educate homeowners in a collaborative environment.”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Shows Significant Improvement in Second Quarter

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 - Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market for single-family homes showed strong continued improvement in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) latest 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The index increased 24 points to a level of 53, which is the highest second-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the seventh consecutive quarter of year over year improvements.

"Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector are feeling optimistic as they are seeing more consumers return to the marketplace," said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. "With existing home prices rising, consumers are able to sell their current homes and make the move toward either purchasing a home or renting an apartment that is designed to more specifically suit their lifestyle."

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

All of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI showed major growth from a year ago: present sales climbed 24 points to 54, expected sales for the next six months increased 25 points to 60 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 26 points to 48.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a substantial gain of 24 points to 43, which is the highest second-quarter reading since the inception of the index. All 55+ multifamily condo HMI components increased compared to a year ago as present sales rose 26 points to 44, expected sales for the next six months climbed 26 points to 46 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 19 points to 38.

The 55+ multifamily rental indices also showed strong gains in the second quarter as present production increased 19 points to 50, expected future production rose 20 points to 52, current demand for existing units climbed 20 points to 62 and future demand increased 21 points to 63.

"The 55+ HMI for single-family homes almost doubled from a year ago," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Sentiment in other segments of the 55+ market housing was strong as well. This is consistent with the increase in builder confidence we've seen in other NAHB surveys recently. At this point, the main challenge for builders in many parts of the country is finding enough buildable lots in desirable locations and workers with the necessary skill set to respond to the increased demand."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Statement from NAHB Chairman Rick Judson on President Obama's Housing Speech

NAHB Press Release



WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 - Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C., today issued the following statement on President Obama's housing speech in Phoenix:

"NAHB applauds President Obama for affirming the importance of maintaining a federal backstop as part of efforts to revamp the housing finance system and protect the 30-year mortgage. This will preserve financial stability, promote investor confidence and limit taxpayer exposure.

"The President also stressed that a healthy housing market is critical to create jobs, build a strong middle class and maintain a vibrant economy. In normal economic times, housing accounts for more than 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Constructing 100 homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and generates $8.9 million in tax revenues that help local governments to provide essential services such as schools, roads, and police and firefighter protection.

"Among other reforms, the nation's home builders also support strengthening the FHA to facilitate the flow of mortgage credit to qualified home buyers, cutting red tape and easing tight credit conditions that are preventing creditworthy borrowers from obtaining home loans, and supporting the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to ensure the availability of safe and affordable rental housing. This will help spur job growth, provide homeownership and rental opportunities for all Americans and boost the economic expansion.

"NAHB looks forward to working in a bipartisan manner with the White House and Congress to achieve these goals in the weeks and months ahead."

Improving Markets List Includes 247 Metros in August

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 - A total of 247 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified for inclusion on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August, released today. While this is eight metros shy of the number listed on the IMI in July, it is approximately three times the number of metros that qualified for the list in August of 2012.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Three new markets were added to the list and 11 dropped from it in August. Newly added metros this month include Kankakee, Ill., along with Atlantic City and Ocean City, N.J.

"In all, 244 metros that were listed as improving in July retained that status in August, and this is an encouraging sign of the continuing housing recovery," noted NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "That said, we know that the pace of improvement is being hampered somewhat by challenges that builders and buyers are experiencing with regard to the availability of credit, materials, lots for development and labor."

"While the number of improving housing markets this August remains well ahead of the same month last year, the index is affected by seasonal softening in home prices just as we saw happen in 2012. The metros that fell off the list this month originally qualified with very small home price improvements that have since slipped back," explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "As house prices return to more normal levels in fully recovered markets, further IMI advancements will be more modest."

"Even with the small decline in the IMI this month, close to 70 percent of all U.S. metros are represented, and the geographic distribution of entrants continues to be very widespread," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company. "These facts should be reassuring to today's prospective home buyers."

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures' respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 247 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mahalo to Servco for another stellar Networking Night!

 On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, over 100 people attended "Vino Italiana" Networking Night hosted by Servco Home & Appliance Distribution. The networking night featured special VIP guests from GE, delicious Italian food and wine.
 
 Featured guest speaker, Matt Rose, Contract Sales General Manager for GE, gave a presentation on GE's $1 billion investment in bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and also provided insight into the current state of the building industry across the U.S.

Mahalo to Craig Washofsky and the rest of the Servco team for hosting a stellar Networking Night!

 

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