NAHB Members Respond to Community Needs During Crisis
Buffalo Restoration volunteered its disinfecting skills in Gallatin County, Mont.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, NAHB members are meeting needs in their communities. Below are just a few of the many examples of members making a difference in this time of crisis.
Cleaning for First Responders
Southwest Montana Building Industry Association (SWMBIA) member Buffalo Restoration utilized its skills as a damage restoration and disinfectant company to aid area police and fire departments. The company volunteered to disinfect dozens of vehicles for the Bozeman police and fire department and Gallatin County sheriff, detention center, and search and rescue.
84 Lumber, based in western Pennsylvania, and its sister company Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, donated $500,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Its donation was combined with funds raised through a challenge by a local
television station for a total donation of more than $1 million, enough for more than 5 million meals.
Wisconsin Food drive
Racine-Kenosha Builders Association (RKBA) and Wisconsin Builders Association member Bear Homes LLC organized two “Fill the Truck” donation drives at a local grocery store. The drives brought in over 2,500 pounds of food and paper products for Shalom Center, a Kenosha-based shelter, food pantry, and soup kitchen.
OSHA Considering Tree Care Standard
OSHA is considering a new standard on tree care operations that could add additional requirements to workers when dealing with trees, including those on construction sites.
OSHA states that fatality and injury rates for tree trimmers are extraordinarily high and that there is
no existing OSHA standard for Tree Care Operations.
Guidance on PPP
The Small Business Admin- istration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions.
The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the CARES Act. SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to inform lenders about their responsibilities.
Importance of Home
Homes have been central fixtures during the COVID-19 crisis, and will continue to be as we move forward in the months ahead. To showcase the value of home building within communities as we rebuild from the pandemic, NAHB has created a public service announcement video. NAHB members are encouraged to share the video via social media and post it on their websites.
Financing a Home While in Forbearance
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued temporary guidance regarding the eligibility of borrowers who are in forbearance, or have recently ended their forbearance, looking to refinance or buy a new home.
Borrowers are eligible to refinance or buy a new home if: They are current on their mortgage (i.e. in forbearance but continued to make their mortgage payments or reinstated their mortgage); and, three months after their forbearance ends, they have made three consecutive payments under their repayment plan, or payment deferral option or loan modification.
OSHA Requires COVID-19 Recordkeeping
OSHA on May 22 announced new policy requiring businesses subject to recordkeeping requirements to record work-related cases of COVID-19 on OSHA injury and illness logs.
The new policy requires most employers to investigate whether the illness was transmitted on the job, but it applies only to employers currently subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements. Many home builders are exempt from most of the requirements. NAHB is working with HUD to make implementation of the policy as practical as possible.
Roughly 22% of builders cut home prices in April 2020 in order to bolster sales or limit cancellations, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) survey.
As a historical comparison, the 22% of builders reducing home prices in April 2020 is less than half the share who cut prices during the worst months of the
last housing recession: 52% in May 2007 and 49% in March 2008.
Builders who did reduce home prices in April 2020 cut them by an average of 5%. That discount is smaller than the average price cuts in both May 2007 (7%) and March 2008 (8%).
Only 12% of builders think price discounts are “very effective” in bolstering sales/ limiting cancellations. A majority of builders — 58% — believe they are “somewhat effective,” and 17% report they are “not at all effective.” The remaining 13% are not sure about the effectiveness of price reductions.
Regionally, builders in the South (26%) and Midwest (23%) were most likely to have reduced prices, compared with much smaller shares in the West (13%) and Northeast (12%).
Job Losses Surged in March
The number of job losses in the construction sector more than tripled between February and March as the economy was hammered by the public health response to COVID-19.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data reveals there were 618,000 layoffs in the construction sector in March, a striking increase over the 202,000 total in February and a 245% jump over the 179,000 count in March 2019.
The March data showed that the layoff rate in the construction industry surged to 8.1% in March from a 2.6% level in February. This was the highest rate recorded in the history of the JOLTS data, which began at the end of 2001.
Melbourne City Council Approves Fee Waivers & Task Force to Assist Local Businesses
The City has made a conscience effort since the beginning of the community closures to keep essential City services available for residents and businesses, particularly the services for the development and business communities.
In a continued effort to support businesses and the overall Melbourne community during the COVID 19 emergency, staff is proposing some temporary measures that will directly assist businesses and help to promote the re-emergence of our business community.
These measures include waivers to various fees such as special activity application fees for business promotions.
Survey Finds 22% of Builders Cut Home Prices in April