Weekly Update: August 24, 2017

 HBA Iowa Congress Man Rod Blum

 We had a great meeting with Congressman Rod Blum at the Greater Cedar Rapids Housing and Building Association office yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who participated (left to right) Drew Retz, Jim Sattler, John Ferland, Congressman Blum, Rich Fitch, Tim Ruth, and Randy Dostal.

Iowa vs. Iowa State BUILD PAC Tailgate

On Saturday, September 9, we will be tailgating at the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game in Ames.  It will be at Jack Trice Stadium in lot D4 from 9-11:00 a.m.  There will be a drawing for two sets of two tickets to sit in the Jack Trice Club for BUILD-PAC members.  For more information, email BUILD-PAC Trustee Rich Fitch or HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson.

So, what have I missed out on by not using Snazzy Traveler?

As a member, you have access to a benefit for travel.  We still only have a handful of members using it, but those of us who have are really impressed with the pricing.  It’s generally been much less than other sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.

Over the last year more than 1,100 association members and company employees have used Snazzy Traveler to reserve hotels and cars. The numbers speak for themselves.

  • Hotel Reservations: 940
  • Retail Cost: $408,854.77*/ Snazzy Cost: $298,678.96/ Total Savings: $110,175.81
  • Hotel Average Savings: 27%
  • Car Rental Reservations: 176
  • Retail Cost: $49,621.47*/ Snazzy Cost: $30,427.51/ Savings: $19,193.96
  • Car Rental Average Savings: 39%
  • Total Savings from Hotels and Car Rental for 1,116 reservations: $129,369.77

If you have already logged on and set up your free account then just go to www.snazzytraveler.com/login and check out the amazing deals.  If you have not set up your account then just go to www.SnazzyTraveler.com/membership and use Promotion Code HBAIowaTravel2017 and click on Redeem Code.  You must hit the redeem code button or it will ask you to enter your credit card info and pay a $99 annual fee.  That’s what most people must do, but it’s free to our members and their friends and family.

Interesting Stats on Multi and Single Family Starts

Multifamily starts posted a large decline in July, and on a year-to-date basis, apartment construction is 10% lower than this time in 2016. NAHB forecasts the multifamily market will continue to level off as the sector finds a balance between supply and demand. The slowing of the apartment market is consistent with recent Census data that show growing demand for owner-occupied housing.

Meanwhile, single-family starts were flat in July, even as the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index of builder confidence posted a large, four-point gain to a level of 68. On a year-to-date basis, single-family development is showing strength, being 9% higher than it was a year ago. As the market expands, the inventory base of the single-family market is diversifying as well. Recent Census data show median new single-family home size continuing to fall as more entry-level homes are added to the market.


   We had the entire NAHB senior leadership team available to us at the NAHB Association Management Conference in Denver last week.  It hasn’t always been that way and we appreciate them taking time to be with us.  From left to right Ed Brady (IL), Dean Mon (NJ), Granger MacDonald (TX), Randy Noel (LA), Greg Ugalde (CT), and NAHB CEO Jerry Howard.

Iowa Executive Officers Attend Association Management Conference

Iowa City HBA’s Karyl Bohnsack, Des Moines HBA’s Dan Knoup, and HBAI’s Jay Iverson attended the NAHB AMC last week in Denver.  It was an outstanding conference with our colleagues from other HBA’s around the country.  Great national speakers, timely topics, and addressing the many changes going on in our industry make it a must to attend.

While we were there, the Greater Iowa City HBA won a 2016 Association Excellence Award for its Construction Camp program.  Congratulations to everyone who helped with that awesome workforce development tool.  Our Area 10 (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota) teammate Bryce Johnson with the HBA of Fargo-Moorhead received the Career Achievement Award.  Congratulations to everyone who won these prestigious awards.

Iowa Skilled Trades Hotel Block

If you’re planning to attend our Mike Rowe event September 28 and need a hotel room, we have a block at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for $124 per night.  Here is the reservation link to make online reservations.  You must make your reservation by September 7 before the block is released.

NAHB Committee and Council Appointment Applications

As you know, the 2018 Committee and Council Appointment Application is now open. If you wish to continue serving on a committee or council board of trustees in 2018, in any position, your membership must be in good standing and you must complete the online application. An expired membership will delay or deter you from receiving an appointment.

Please go to the application to see if your membership will be expiring in the next few months. If so, contact your local association to ensure that it is renewed before the expiration date.  If your membership expires in August and you do not renew it before Aug. 31, you will be unable to apply.

Appointments to committees and councils board of trustees are for a one-year term.  The 2018 term begins at the closing of the 2018 IBS and concludes at the 2019 IBS.  Members who are appointed to serve in 2018 will be notified by email.  Please make sure your current email address is listed in your nahb.org profile.

If you are appointed to serve, you must fill out the conflict of interest form and leadership standards of conduct, complete the NAHB Online Anti-Harassment Training if your term has expired, and agree to all terms and conditions online. You are not an official member of a committee or council board of trustees until these requirements are completed.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 22.  Don’t delay.  Apply today!  If you have questions about the 2018 Committee and Council Appointment Process, please contact Cyndi McKinley at cmckinley@nahb.org or 202.266.8346.

   Construction Week will be here before we know it.  Feel free to use these different memes in your social media posts, advertising, etc.

2017 Best Development Award nominations open September 1

On Sept. 1, 2017, 1000 Friends of Iowa will open nominations for its Best Development Awards Program. The Program, in its 16th year, recognizes Iowa’s sustainable development heroes and their thoughtfully considered projects that connect building, land, natural resources, development, and quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. The Best Development Awards recognizes projects in 12 categories:

  • Civic – New, Renovated
  • Commercial – New, Renovated
  • Innovative Leadership
  • Mixed Use Space
  • Renewable Energy
  • Residential – New, Renovated
  • Stormwater Management
  • Transportation/Complete Streets
  • Urban Placemaking/Greenspace

Anyone can nominate a great project. Winners are chosen by independent jurors in December, and the awards ceremony is slated for January 16, 2018. Held at the Capitol Rotunda during the state’s legislative session, the awards ceremony is a unique opportunity to let lawmakers know the positive impact that sustainable practices have to Iowa’s citizens.  For more information, contact Julia McGuire, Awards Coordinator, (515) 988-1828.

Weekly Update: August 17, 2017

Unbelievable Support for Mike Rowe Event

You can see from the logos above that like-minded organizations like ours, state government agencies, and most importantly our members are stepping up to the plate as sponsors of the event.  It’s going to be a pricey evening – upwards of $250k.  We would not be able to make it happen without their support.  If you see a group not represented on the list and should be, send a note to Jay Iverson and we’ll work on following up to add them to our sponsor list.  We have over 200 educators signed up and 60 tables sold already.  Go to our website for further details.

Downtown Des Moines Marriott Room Block Available

If you are making plans to attend our Mike Rowe event, we do have a special room block available at the downtown Des Moines Marriott (700 Grand Avenue, DM).  The rate is $124.00 per night and you need to make your reservation by Thursday, September 7.  Please call 800-228-9290 or 515-245-5500.  The block is under “HBA of Iowa Skilled Trades” group.

September is Associate Appreciation Month

Since 1981, September has been designated as NAHB’s Associate Member Appreciation Month – an annual celebration of Associate member contributions to the NAHB Federation and the home building industry. Designating September as Associate Appreciation Month is just one way of providing the much-deserved visibility and recognition to our invaluable Associate members. What are the Goals of Associate Member Appreciation Month?

  • To honor and thank Associate members for their contributions to the association
  • To increase awareness and appreciation among NAHB’s general membership and leadership of the unique contributions Associate members have made to the association
  • To encourage programs, services and education for Associate members as tools to increase Associate member retention
  • To increase visibility of successful Associate members, Associate member programs, state and local Associate councils and Builder-Associate partnerships and to share those successes with other associations
Top 10 Reasons to Do Business with an Active Associate Member
  1. They support NAHB at the local, state and national levels.
  2. They volunteer time, talent and treasure to help the association accomplish its goals.
  3. They recruit their colleagues and business contacts to become members.
  4. They serve on committees and councils gaining valuable networking opportunity while helping to advance the association’s mission.
  5. By doing so, you increase the value proposition for all membership in your HBA.
  6. They are strong supporters of local and state PACs and BUILD-PAC.
  7. They are a major source of non-dues revenue through sponsorships, advertising, etc.
  8. As industry partners, they are a valuable resource for business and management tips.
  9. They are heavily invested in your business success: You win, they win!
  10. Why wouldn’t you do business with a member?

Labor Shortages More Widespread – Proven  in Stats

Last week’s newsletter had a reach out to any of our members looking for potential employees and the response was excellent.  If only we had large numbers of potential trades people wanting to go into the field – but then again that’s why we’re working so hard on it.

Labor and subcontractor shortages have become even more widespread in July of 2017 than they were in June of 2016, according to single-family builders responding to special questions on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) survey.

The July 2017 HMI survey asked builders about shortages in 15 specific occupations that were either recommended by Home Builders Institute (NAHB’s workforce development arm) or that NAHB found to be particularly significant when tabulating Bureau of Labor Statistics data for a recent article on Young Adults & the Construction Trades.  Shortages (either serious or some) were at least fairly widespread for each of the 15 occupations, ranging from a low of 43 percent for building maintenance managers to a high of around 75 percent for the three categories of carpenters (rough, finished and framing).

In addition to labor that single-family builders employ directly, the HMI survey asked about shortages of subcontractors, which have become even more widespread lately.  In the July 2017 survey, the incidence of shortages was higher for subcontractors than for labor directly employed by builders in each of the 15 occupations. At the top of the chart, for example, 85 percent of builders reported a shortage of framing subcontractors, compared to “only” 77 percent who reported a shortage of framers directly employed.

Historically, this has not always been true.  An average shortage calculated across the 9 trades that NAHB has covered in a consistent way since 1996 shows that labor and subcontractor shortages used to track each other fairly closely.  Since 2013, however, a persistent gap has opened, with the 9-trade shortage for subcontractors running 5 to 7 percentage points higher.

A possible reason is that some workers who were laid off and started their own trade contracting businesses during the housing downturn have returned to working for larger companies. This would improve the availability of workers directly employed by builders slightly, while shrinking the pool of firms available for subcontracting.

The 9-trade average shortage for labor has increased from a low of 21 percent in 2012 to 56 percent in 2016, and now 63 percent in 2017.  And this trend has been very consistent.  For each of the construction occupations covered in both years, the shortage percentage, whether for labor directly employed or subcontractors, increased between 2016 and 2017-with the sole exception of excavator subcontractors, for which the percentage remained roughly the same.

The 9-trade average labor shortage is now at its highest since 2000 (which marked the end of an extended period of strong GDP growth that tightened many labor markets and drove the overall unemployment rate down to 4.0 percent).  The current labor shortage seems especially severe relative to housing starts, which have only partially recovered from their post-2006 decline.

Again, the historical pattern has been quite consistent across construction occupations.  Shortages for most of the occupations are more widespread now than at any time since 2000.  The exceptions are shortages that are at their all-time worst since NAHB first started asking the questions in 1996.  For directly employed labor, the shortage of painters is now at its worst ever.  For subcontractors, in addition to painters, shortages of framing crews and electricians are also at their all-time worst.  For excavator subcontractors, the 2016 and 2017 shortages are essentially tied for worst all time.

Additional details, including changes in labor and subcontracting costs reported by builders and the complete history of responses to each question in the NAHB survey, are available in the full report.

The NAHB survey results are consistent with the latest numbers in the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  After a decline in May that now appears anomalous, the latest JOLTS shows the number of unfilled jobs in the construction industry rising significantly in June.

New Colorado Law Mandates Trade School Opportunity Path

A new law in Colorado aims to address one of the greatest challenges to recruiting skilled labor: dispelling the myth that all successful career paths require a college education.

The Denver Post reported this week on the implementation of House Bill 1041, which requires public schools to inform high school students about opportunities in trade schools and military service, and what they need to do follow these equally rewarding career paths.

“The law will help reintroduce skilled trades to high school students, who can earn early apprenticeships and exposure to good-paying jobs right after graduation,” the article stated.

The Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) agrees that this new law can help the industry overcome a key issue in the labor shortage dilemma.

“We believe that every little bit helps change the myth that everyone should rack up massive college debt instead of entering the world of construction trades and generating positive income and a rewarding career,” said Scott Smith, CEO of CAHB.

Skip Howes, president of Scott Homes Ltd. in Woodland, Colo., and chair of NAHB’s Public Affairs Committee, believes the law is an important step to help students understand the range of exciting opportunities in the housing industry.

“This new law will open doors for students who are not college-bound and who don’t want to become burdened with overwhelming student loan debt for a degree that is not providing them with viable, productive jobs,” Howes said. “When skilled training is tied to community college courses in business management and accounting, students can learn a trade and even become entrepreneurs in their own businesses.”

Iowa Finance Authority HousingIowa Conference September 6-8

Your allegiance has been requested by order of The Pineapple Club to attend the 2017 HousingIowa Conference. Join hundreds of other good-doers, go-getters and heavy-hitters of the housing industry at Iowa’s premier housing event. Just remember, the first rule of the Pineapple Club is: you must attend the HousingIowa Conference to learn the first rule of the Pineapple Club.   It will be held in Cedar Rapids at the Doubletree September 6-8.  Check out their website here.