Builder Confidence Reaches 20-Year High
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to 76 in December off an upwardly revised November reading, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
“While we are seeing near-term positive market conditions with a 50-year low for the unemployment rate and increased wage growth, we are still underbuilding due to supply-side constraints like labor and land availability,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Higher development costs are hurting affordability and dampening more robust construction growth.”
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI 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 for 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.
All three HMI components registered gains in December. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose seven points to 84, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months edged up one point to 79 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers increased four points to 58.
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Proposal Would Modernize CRA Rules
The FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently announced a proposal to modernize the agencies’ regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that have not been substantively updated for nearly 25 years.
The proposed rules are intended to address digital banking and to encourage lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers.
Congress Funds NFIP Through September
Congress has approved spending bills that will keep the government running through Sept. 30, 2020, the next fiscal year.
The measure keeps the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) funded through next September. NAHB is working with Congress to achieve a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that will keep the program fiscally sound and let builders provide safe and affordable housing.
2020 Loan Limits
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced its loan limits for 2020. The nationwide rise in median home prices indicates most buyers across the country will see increases.
The FHA floor will increase from $314,827 to $331,760 for single-family home loans.
FHA’s high-cost conforming loan limit and will increase from $726,525 to $765,600 for single-family home loans.
Deal Reached on USMCA Trade Pact
The White House and House Democrats have agreed on a deal to advance the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agree- ment (USMCA). The House ratified the trade pact on Dec. 19. The Senate is expected to follow suit soon.
Trade policy affects housing costs and the USMCA has important implications for the home building industry. The U.S. residential construction and remodeling industries rely on tens of billions of dollars in building materials sourced from Mexico
and Canada annually.
Congress Moves on Tax Extenders
Congress has approved a package of tax changes that include a number of provisions sought by NAHB, including provisions known as “tax extenders.”
The bill extends a number of tax provisions through 2020, including: Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy- Efficient New Homes; Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy-Efficiency Improvements; Section 179D Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction; and a deduction for mortgage insurance (subject to an income cap beginning at $100,000).
Factory-built houses — i.e., modular, panelized or pre-assembled homes — could help increase affordable housing stock and significantly aid in disaster response and recovery, according to a new study from the MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab. But factory-built homes comprise just 3% of single-family homes in the United States.
The report, “Disaster Housing Construction Challenges in America,” seeks to inform emergency managers, state housing agencies, policymakers, community leaders, home builders and other stakeholders about how to make better use of factory-built homes.
The recommendations are intended to better address the challenges faced by disaster housing, leverage the potential of factory-built housing at scale, approach the nation’s affordable housing challenges from a new direction, and produce better disaster recovery outcomes for all Americans.
HBI Opens Fort Campbell Facility
HBI, NAHB’s workforce development arm, has opened another facility dedicated to preparing U.S. service members for careers in residential construction.
The facility, located along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, opened with support from the Home Depot Foundation and Fort Campbell’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. The program is designed for active duty service members who are nearing separation from the military.
The Fort Campbell facility uses HBI’s Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT), which combines academic learning and hands-on experience to help graduates emerge highly skilled and certified in brick masonry, carpentry, electrical wiring, HVAC, plumbing, solar installation, or other trades.
NGBS Certifies 200,000th Home
The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Certification Program hit a major milestone recently – certification of its 200,000th home.
The program, which had more certifications in 2018 than any previous year, continues to experience increased interest in certification, fueled in part by growing consumer interest as well as the incentives provided to both consumers and developers for third-party certification.
Consumers are seeing the monetary value of green certification as well — not only through incentives, but also from the rising value of green-certified homes and reduced utility bills, thanks to energy- conserving features and high-performance designs. Builders continue to increase consumer awareness around the wellness benefits of sustainable homes.
MIT Report Suggests Greater Use of Factory-Built Homes
2020 Board Of Directors:
Brandi Stokes- President
Ben Atkinson- Vice President
Chris Doose- Past President
Teri Stermer-Executive Officer
Lauren Reider Hallmark
Brandi Stokes, Fran Mitchell
Calendar of Events:
CTHBA Alton Heiner Fish Fry & Reverse Raffle : March 20, 2020 6pm-10pm
55th Annual CTHBA Parade of Homes 2020: April 25-26th & May 2-3rd 1pm-6pm
Real Estate Agent Bus Tour April 23rd 8:30 am
Kick off Party & Awards Celebration: April 24th 6:00 pm
CTHBA 55th Annual Parade of Homes: April 25th-26th & May 2-3 from 1pm-6pm. Free to the public
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