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.

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

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,

Registration for NAHB members is $29.95 and $49.95 for non-members. To register for the webinar or for additional information, please visit 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.


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 More information on housing statistics is also available at

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:
Rodney Fleming, 808-738-4939; email:
Charlene Gray, 808-739-4938; email:
Jan Lee, 808-842-1244; email:
Barry Redmayne, 808-738-4950; email:

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

To register for the live webcast, go to:

For press registration, please contact Liz Thompson at

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

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

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."