Weekly Update: June 29, 2017

  The new #OwnItIowa campaign was announced last Monday morning.  HBAI is a sponsor of the project, along with the Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Association of REALTORS, Habitat for Humanity, and the Iowa Mortgage Association.  In the photo, left to right, are:  Cathy De Haai (Habitat for Humanity); Dave Jamison (Iowa Finance Authority); Lieutenant Governor Gregg; Governor Reynolds; Gavin Blair (Iowa Association of REALTORS); Vicki Davis (Iowa Mortgage Association); and Jay Iverson (HBAI).

#OwnItIowa Homeownership Campaign

The #OwnItIowa campaign is offering any Iowan who is 18 and older two chances to win $2,500 this summer! The promotion’s goal is to increase awareness of programs available to assist Iowa home buyers. The campaign is a partnership between the Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Association of REALTORS®, Iowa Mortgage Association, Habitat for Humanity of Iowa and the Home Builders Association of Iowa – organizations who all share the goal of educating home buyers about the homeownership process, programs and resources available to them.

Two Ways to Win $2,500 at IowaHouseHunt.com!

  1.  Enter random sweepstakes. Entrants who enter the name of a lender and Realtor will receive two extra entries into the sweepstakes.  Aug. 31: Sweepstakes entry deadline
  2. Enter photo contest: Upload a photo of the entrant showing something they dislike about not being a homeowner.  It could be a roommate’s bad habit, tight living quarters,  limited privacy or the thought of using a toilet shared by many before you.  The cleverer, the better as photos will be judged by the public and the photo with the most votes will win! July 21: Deadline for photo entries; July 24 – Aug. 4: Voting to determine top 20 entries; Aug. 7 – Aug. 31. Voting to determine the $2,500 winner

There are no strings attached. Entrants may already be homeowners, they just need to be 18 and a resident of Iowa. Attention lenders and Realtors: Any Iowa lender and Realtor® who refer the most contest entries will each receive a new billboard around their area! Contact Ashley Jared with the Iowa Finance Authority with any questions: ashley.jared@iowa.gov.

HBA of Greater Siouxland EO Nancy Moos Announces Retirement

Congratulations to HBA of Greater Siouxland Executive Officer Nancy Moos for over 30 years of dedicated and extraordinary leadership.  She made the announcement last week and plans to finish out 2017.  Planning is underway to find her replacement.  Congratulations Nancy!

Congratulations to the Greater Iowa City HBA!

Greater Iowa City HBA Executive Officer Karyl Bohnsack recently found out that they won the NAHB “Best Workforce Development Plan Implemented” award for their Construction Camp for kids.  They will be recognized at the Association Leadership Conference in Denver in August.  Great job!

Okay Electricians, We Need to Hear From You

The Electrical Examining Board will be holding a Public Hearing to seek input on adopting the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC). The Public Hearing will be held on August 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM.  If everything goes as planned, the 2017 NEC will go into effect on January 1, 2018.  Please take a look at the proposed changes, the code, and then let us know if you would like additional changes.


 The annual trap shoot with the Cedar Rapids Housing and Building Association last week was a great time, despite the pouring rain when many of us were trying to shoot.  The meat cook off featured 12 entries and was won by Randy Dostal.  Nearly 100 members participated in the event.

Mike Rowe Dinner Tables – A Great Concept Here

As the planning for the Mike Rowe dinner September 28 gets more detailed, we wanted to clarify a little confusion on the tables that we will be selling for the dinner event.  Our plan is to have industry leaders purchase a table, but then have a minimum of two school officials, counselors, administrators, teachers, prospective students, etc. at each of those tables.  We just wanted to split up those influential folks and mix them in with our leaders.

Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t do whatever you want with your table, but past HBAI President Rob Hajek is leading the way.  He plans to purchase two tables, but then fill them up completely with prospective students from schools that he’s involved in.  That’s exactly what we want to happen.  We do not need to fill the room with individuals that already know the message.  Stay tuned in for more details, but put some thought into who you would like to sit at your table.

Another Crippling Bump to our Industry

In a move that will raise housing costs and price countless American households out of the housing market, the Commerce Department last Monday, June 26 imposed a preliminary 6.87% anti-dumping duty on Canadian lumber imports on top of the 19.88% countervailing duties announced in April.

In an official statement, NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said that the combined duties are “basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America.”

The 19.88% countervailing duty is intended to compensate for government subsidies that Canadian firms allegedly receive, while the 6.87% anti-dumping duty is intended to bridge a supposed gap between the price that Canadian lumber producers are selling lumber in the U.S. and the “fair market price” determined by the Department of Commerce. Combined, the two duties impose a 26.75% total tariff on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S.

In an Eye on Housing blog post, NAHB senior economist Paul Emrath discusses the impact the duties will have on the housing market and the economy. The analysis shows that the tariffs would boost lumber costs by 8.8% for U.S. consumers and add $1,700 to the cost of a typical single-family home.  Further, the annual effects of this tariff in 2017 include a loss of:

  • 11,336 full-time U.S. jobs
  • $685.5 million in wages and salaries for U.S. workers
  • $481.8 million in taxes and other revenue for governments in the U.S.

These losses of wages, jobs and taxes are net losses that take into account the increases in wages, jobs and taxes in the domestic sawmill industry. The reduction in jobs is not limited to the construction industry: Jobs are also lost in businesses that sell and transport building materials, provide architecture and engineering services, etc.

One Occupancy  

In 1940, the percentage of one-person households in the USA was 7.7%, by 1960 it was 13.3%, and by 1980, 22.7%. In 2000, the rate was 25.8% and in 2016, 28.1%! DC has the highest percentage of one-person households at 42%, followed by RI at 31.8% and MT at 31.5%. Globally, Sweden, where one-person households are 47% of all households, holds down first place, followed by Norway at 40%. Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

New Resources Help You Recruit Skilled Labor

You can find some great resource materials here (members only) Skilled Workforce Development Resources to help you recruit skilled labor and spread the word about the valuable careers available in residential construction. NAHB economists recently analyzed the latest salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide HBAs and members with updated information about their local residential construction labor market.  The new salary data are promoted in the following resources:

State Wage and Workforce Demand Data: State-specific data, including the annual average wages in construction and the projected workforce demand by state and for the top 100 metro areas.

Careers in Construction Posters: This series of posters will help you promote residential construction careers at schools, career fairs, career exploration days, educational conferences and local community events.

Plus, you can share our public Building a Skilled Labor Workforce page with educators, policymakers and industry partners to provide them with resources to help promote these career opportunities in their communities. Resources include the Careers in Construction posters, brochures, lesson plans, a presentation template and more.

Want a $1 Million Paycheck? – Skip College – Read this Story

Here’s a great story from Bloomberg last Tuesday, promoting high paying blue collar jobs and skipping the college debt.  Check it out here.

   The annual President’s Charity Golf Outing last week in Sioux City raised a pile of money for the local soup kitchen.  We had a chamber of commerce weather day and a great time spent with HBA of Greater Siouxland members.  Each year the incoming president chooses which charity will be supported.

Weekly Update: June 22, 2017

Here are a few of us Iowans getting ready to attend the NAHB 75th Anniversary celebration, which was a fabulous party.  Chris Matthews was our keynote speaker and a group call Jesse’s Girls from Atlanta provided the entertainment.  It was really well done.  Unfortunately it’s not a photo of all 21 Iowans who attended the NAHB Legislative Conference and Mid-Year Meeting last week in Washington D.C.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate!   It was a worthwhile set of meetings with a long list of agenda items.  From left to right:  Rich Fitch, Mary Fitch, Mike Farr, Kaytie Hill, Jay Iverson, Karyl Bohnsack, Rachel Flint, Drew Retz, Keith Butz, Tim Ruth, Mary Ruth.

Mark Hall Contributes $5,000 to HBAI EC

Longtime member and former HBAI Treasurer Mark Hall of Kings Materials just donated $5,000 to our HBAI Educational Corporation.  What an awesome gift – all proceeds go towards scholarships for students entering the building trades.  If you would like to contribute legacy gifts to the organization, it will truly help with keeping our industry alive and well.  It is a 501c3 and donations are fully deductible as the IRS allows.  Thank you Mark!  For more information on how you can help, email Jay Iverson.

Mary Fitch Recognized as NAHB Life Director

Longtime member and HBAI Secretary Mary Fitch of Ames was just awarded her NAHB life directorship, meaning that she is a permanent voting member of NAHB.  You must be a voting director for ten years and attend at least two meetings per year.  Congratulations Mary!

Don Beal and Jim Sattler Recognized for BUILD PAC Contributions

Longtime members and past HBAI presidents Don Beal and Jim Sattler were both recognized for their BUILD PAC contributions of between $50k-100k at the NAHB 75th Anniversary celebration.  Awesome!  The majority of our membership is a little weak on our contributions – we should have over 100 members giving at a minimum of Gold Key, which is $1,000 annually.  If you want to help change that, email Jay Iverson.

HBAI Board of Directors Meets Next Week

Your leadership team meets a week from today for the HBAI Board of Directors Summer meeting.  We’ve accomplished some awesome things thus far in 2017 with much more on the way.  There is much on the agenda and it should be a fruitful gathering.

21st Century Flood Reform Act

We worked this issue hard when we were in DC last week, but as the House Financial Services Committee voted last Thursday to approve the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, NAHB vowed to fight the measure until a “new construction” component is dropped from the bill.

“This is a bad bill that will make flood insurance unaffordable and inaccessible to too many home owners,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald.

At issue is a provision in the bill that would place restrictions on new construction developed in the 100-year floodplain. Specifically, four years after the bill’s enactment, new construction would no longer have access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), pending the availability of private flood insurance.

In a new manager’s amendment, Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) put forward language that would introduce a new Federal Emergency Management Agency-contracted clearinghouse. This suggestion is based off of a state model, and NAHB has numerous concerns about how it would work on a federal level.

Additionally, if private insurance is not available in a state, NAHB warned House committee leaders in a letter that “home owners will be forced to pay a 10% surcharge on their NFIP policy. This surcharge is a penalty for policyholders solely because they purchased a newly constructed, more resilient home and a market for private insurance has not developed in their state.”

NAHB further stated that this “new construction” provision places $34 billion in wages and salaries, $24 billion in taxes and revenue, and 587,000 full-time jobs annually at risk.  “Instead of letting private insurance companies enter the market organically, this mandate skews the market through artificial means,” NAHB’s letter to lawmakers stated.

Reauthorizing the NFIP, which expires on Sept. 30, is a priority for the association. NAHB will work with lawmakers to ensure that any final reauthorization bill takes into account the concerns of the housing community.

New Tech Notes on Insulation

Today’s builders can select from an increasing number of insulation products to meet the high R-values specified by current energy codes. And installing these products correctly is key to providing energy-efficient and durable wall assemblies and comfortable indoor conditions for home buyers.  NAHB’s  Construction Technology Research Subcommittee worked with Home Innovation Research Labs to produce a Tech Note covering Installation of Common Insulation Types: Wood Frame Walls and Attics.

This Tech Note reflects industry best practices for the installation of fiberglass batts, blown fiberglass (both directly into wall cavities or on attic floors or behind netting), dry-blown and damp-spray cellulose, and open- and closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. These reflect the most common insulation products selected as reported in Home Innovation’s Annual Builder Practices Survey.

Included in the Tech Note are descriptions of the three insulation installation grades documented in theANSI/RESNET/ICC 301 Standard for the Calculation and Labeling of the Energy Performance of Low-rise Residential Buildings using an Energy Rating Index.

A Grade I installation is required under the air sealing and insulation provisions of the 2015 edition of theICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard™.  Other highlighted practices include recommended drying times for cellulose insulation, and ventilation and re-entry recommendations when SPF insulation is applied.

The new Tech Note joins seven others available in our TechNotes: Best Practices for Home Buildersseries. Other topics include Whole House Mechanical Ventilation, Building Air Tightness, and Vapor Retarders.

These 4- to 6-page brochures provide summaries of building code requirements and document industry-recommended best practices. Graphics illustrate key code provisions and practices, and references are provided for additional information.

These resources can help builders understand today’s complex energy and mechanical codes, and select from the ever-increasing array of products and systems to meet stringent code requirements. The best practices in the Tech Notes can help builders avoid problems related to lower energy performance, moisture and mold in wall and ceiling assemblies, and poor occupant comfort that can lead to home owner complaints and callbacks.

For more information on the Tech Notes series or other building code-related research, visitnahb.org/coderesearch or contact Gary Ehrlich at 800-368-5242 x8545.

Members Ages 21-35 – IBS Scholarships!

The IBS Scholarship program is a great opportunity for NAHB members ages 21-35 to experience the 2018 NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) – almost free. Applications are being accepted until June 21. If you qualify, here’s why you should apply:

  • Education sessions. 140+ IBS education sessions will cover the hottest industry topics and tools to help advance your career.
  • Cool products. With over 569,000 net square feet and 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers, IBS is the place to see debuting products and discover what’s trending in home building.
  • Construction demos. From IBS Live to the High Performance Building Zone, Builder Clinics and Exhibitor Floor Forums, there’s always an engaging and informative demonstration to watch.
  • Outdoor exhibits. The convention center parking lot becomes an outdoor oasis with homes, networking events, food trucks and presentations in Show Village.
  • Networking events. IBS hosts some of the most memorable after-hours events. Not only are events like the Official House Party and the Young Pro Party, fun, they’re a great place to connect with others in the industry.
  • Niche-specific focus. Discover fun, educational lounges to explore new ideas, refine your skills and gain valuable business information about your specific industry niche. Roundtable discussions, workshops and presentations are all available in the six Centrals: 55+ Housing, Custom Home Building, Design Studio, Multifamily, Remodelers and Sales and Marketing.
  • Awards programs. From luncheons to glamorous galas, award nominees and attendees alike can learn new tips and tactics that have produced successful results.
  • The New American Home® and The New American Remodel™. Tour these top-notch NAHB show homes featuring new products, construction methods, energy efficient features and latest design trends.

And a bonus: Airfare (up to $600) and hotel accommodations for four nights are included.  If you’re an NAHB member between the ages of 21-35, submit your application and video by June 21 to be considered.

Hapless Housing  

Surprisingly, Y-o-Y housing starts fell 5.5% in May. YTD, single-family starts are up 7.4% but multi-family starts are down 2.8%. Continuing that theme, total starts are progressively weakening due to MF activity plunging from a +20% Y-o-Y increase in January to a -23% decline in May; single-family starts have been consistently 7% higher. This flat SF performance is disappointing given ever declining inventories, unsustainably large price increases, and low rates.  Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.