Weekly Update: April 24, 2014

   Our final “Bringing Housing Home” meeting was with Congressman Bruce Braley (at head of table) at the Greater Cedar Rapids HBA offices.  It was an excellent meeting, as were the others. We have their ear and our issues were discussed in detail.

 The Legislative Session Should End By End of Month

Last Tuesday, April 22, was the official end to the session, but it’s looking like it will continue through the end of the month.  State budget bills are holding things up a bit and nearly all of the major budget bills have passed one chamber or the other.  There are a few that are ready for the Governor’s signature, but many more have been sent to special conference committees to reach an agreement. All of this combined with keeping issues concerning Governor Branstad in the media and the forefront – no one is for sure when the session will end.  Here is the list

 

HSB 646            Homestead property tax credit; passed sub, support 3/7

HF 2094            Statute of repose/HSB 504; 2/27 passed House; sub 3/5

HF 2108            Property tax assessment/HSB 508; 2/12 passed House

HF 2129            Cap gains ex for sale of stock, sm bus/HSB 502; 3/4 passed sub; support 3/7

HF 2230            Vehicle permits/const permits on ag land/HF 2059;

                   2/25 passed House; 3/26 passed Senate

HF 2317            Veterans homeownership fund/HSB 617; support 2/26

HF 2321            Commercial property tax

HF 2344            Drainage/levee districts/HF 460   3/31 sent to Gov

HF 2408            Excavator notification requirements/HSB 518; 3/26 signed by Gov; against 2/26

HF 2411            St/local govt powers/eminent domain/HF 289

HF 2452            First time homebuyer tax credit/HF 2353/HSB 638; 3/26 passed House

HF 2453            Historic preservation tax credit/HF 2415/HSB 624; 3/26 passed House;

                    SSB 3142 and SF 2281

HF 2448            Econ dvlp/jobs prgm/housing tax incentives; 3/26 passed House

                    HSB 542/HF 2305

SSB 3205          Homebuyer sav acct/HSB 638/HF 2353/HF 2452   3/18 sub

SSB 3214          Wages paid by debit card; 4/3 sub

SSB 3215           Approps for rebuild IA infrastructure fund

SF 366              Radon testing/mitigation in schools/SF 49; passed Senate 2013; against 2013;
3/18 passed House with amend: S-5084; back to Senate for floor vote

SF 431              Solar income tax credit; passed Senate 2013

SF 2017            Tax exemption wetlands

SF 2034            Tornado resistance infrast prgm/HF 2100

SF 2085            Real property enhancement/HF 2057

SF 2091            co-ownership/SSB 3082  3/31 sent to Gov

SF 2191            financing work drainage districts/SF 2055; 3/26 signed by Gov

SF 2242            Vets home ownership assistance/SSB 3178; 3/3 passed Senate; support 3/7

SF 2256            Redevelopment tax credits/SSB 3050

SF 2265            Vehicle regist/levee/SSB 3140/HSB 605/HF 2273

SF 2273            Trustees of ag land in dranage districts/SSB 3172; 3/31 sent to Gov

SF 2317            Job training/apprenticeship prgms

SF 2335            Business tax credit/corp income tax

SF 2339           Redevelopment tax credits/SSB 3050/SF 2256; 3/26 passed Senate;

HSB/HF 2415/HF 2453; 4/1 passed House

SF 2340            Solar income tax credit/SSB 3201; 3/27 passed Senate

SF 2343            Renewable energy tax credit/SF 2032; 3/27 passed Senate

 

Does this look familiar?  Everywhere in Iowa pretty much – what if the government deems it “Waters of the US?”  This is a huge deal, make sure that you pay attention as it unfolds.

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska HBA’s to Meet with EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a pre-publication at the end of March that proposed federal rules that would redefine and expand the meaning of the term “waters of the U.S.” under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).  The proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule was formally proposed Monday, April 21 in the Federal Register marking the beginning of a 90 day public comment period.

HBAI and our sister state associations in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska are planning be a part of the public outreach meetings through the EPA’s Midwest Regional Office located outside of Kansas City, MO.

Background:

The proposed rule by EPA and the Corps rule marks the first time since 1986 the meaning of “waters of the U.S.” has been redefined.  The significance to land developers and builders of this upcoming federal CWA rule is difficult to overstate; once finalized virtually all future residential and commercial land development and construction activities will be impacted.  Consider just two examples of impact upon NAHB’s members:

  • Federal wetland permits – Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits the placement of any fill or dredge material into “waters of the U.S.” including wetlands unless those specific activities have been authorized by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) by issuance of a federal wetlands permit under CWA Section 404.  Corps issues over 50,000 federal wetlands permits annually (both nationwide permits and individual permits) and a majority of those wetland permits are for residential land development and construction activities.  According to EPA’s draft economic analysis the cost (consultant fees, mitigation fees, and delay) of those federal wetland permits average up to $40,000 for nationwide permits to over $250,000 for individual wetland permit.
  • Federal, state, and local stormwater permits – CWA also prohibits the discharging of any “pollutant” including sediment from any active construction site into any “waters of the U.S.” unless those activities have been expressly authorized by a CWA permit called a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by either EPA or an EPA-delegated state stormwater program. Land developers and builders file for over 200,000 stormwater NPDES permits annually.

The objective of EPA and Corps proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule is to redefine the regulatory definition of “waters of the U.S.” to extend CWA’s federal regulatory authority various isolated wetlands and non-navigable and ephemeral water bodies (i.e., ponds, ditches, and streams).  Recall following two NAHB legal victories before the U.S. Supreme Court (SWANNC in 2001 and Rapanos in 2006) the Court has already called into questions whether the CWA, including the definition of “waters of the U.S.” can reasonably be interpreted to extend CWA federal protections over various types of isolated wetlands and non-navigable ephemeral streams.  NAHB staff hosted webinar on April 2, 2014 providing an overview of the draft pre-publication “waters of the U.S..” The webinar provides NAHB’s professional staff’s insights regulatory, legal, and legislative into the potential impact of the draft rule on homebuilding activities.

If you are interested in possibly being a part of this meeting, please email HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson as soon as possible.

May is National Home Remodeling Month

In May, during National Home Remodeling Month, this is your chance to reach out to your local media and consumers with a focus on the benefits of hiring a professional remodeler.  Whether it’s tips for why, when and how to choose a professional remodeler, May is the time to celebrate the remodeling industry.

The campaign includes sample social media posts, web banners, press releases, fact sheets and other consumer materials. Members and local remodelers councils can download government proclamations, articles and op-eds, fact sheets and a how-to kit for implementing the campaign. These materials are easily customizable and can be used however you wish. Or follow our simple step-by-step guide to lead you through the campaign.  Click here for the entire package.

Weekly Update: April 17, 2014

Parade Judging! Want to Have Some Fun Checking out Great Ideas?

 The 2014 Parade of Homes Committee for the Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association is looking for judges on June 3, 2014.  33 entries have been submitted for the parade.  The homes are in scattered site locations in Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and Johnson County. Estimated judges needed 15.  Homes range in price from $200,000 to over $1 Million.  Representatives that agree to judge for Iowa City Area Parade should not supply product or work directly with our parade builders.
  
Details:
 A breakfast is planned at 7:30 am., June 3, 2014, at the River City Beefstro, Coralville in the board room. All judges and drivers will meet at this location.  You will be given a few brief instructions and will be assigned a driver to take you to the homes.  Packets and guidebooks will be sent after we receive your commitment to participate.  Lunch is provided and it should take about half of a day. Hotel arrangements can be made for members traveling a long distance if needed.  Please contact Joandirectly if you are interested in helping to judge our parade homes.  Thanks in advance for helping.

 

The Legislative Session Should End Next Week

Work is still underway at the Statehouse as everyone tries to finish up their priorities and end the session on a positive note for election purposes.  There has been a flurry of activity as Governor Branstad signed quite a few new laws into play.  We are continuing to pay close attention to how this final portion shakes out – we wouldn’t want anything to pass just because it was attached to another bill that may or may not be related.  Here are the items of interest that may affect you: 

 

HSB 646            Homestead property tax credit; passed sub, support 3/7

HF 2094            Statute of repose/HSB 504; 2/27 passed House; sub 3/5

HF 2108            Property tax assessment/HSB 508; 2/12 passed House

HF 2129            Cap gains ex for sale of stock, sm bus/HSB 502; 3/4 passed sub; support 3/7

HF 2230            Vehicle permits/const permits on ag land/HF 2059;

                   2/25 passed House; 3/26 passed Senate           

HF 2317            Veterans homeownership fund/HSB 617; support 2/26

HF 2321            Commercial property tax

HF 2344            Drainage/levee districts/HF 460   3/31 sent to Gov

HF 2408            Excavator notification requirements/HSB 518; 3/26 signed by Gov; against 2/26

HF 2411            St/local govt powers/eminent domain/HF 289

HF 2452            First time homebuyer tax credit/HF 2353/HSB 638; 3/26 passed House

HF 2453            Historic preservation tax credit/HF 2415/HSB 624; 3/26 passed House;

                    SSB 3142 and SF 2281        

HF 2448            Econ dvlp/jobs prgm/housing tax incentives; 3/26 passed House

                    HSB 542/HF 2305

SSB 3205          Homebuyer sav acct/HSB 638/HF 2353/HF 2452   3/18 sub

SSB 3214          Wages paid by debit card; 4/3 sub

SSB 3215           Approps for rebuild IA infrastructure fund

SF 366              Radon testing/mitigation in schools/SF 49; passed Senate 2013; against 2013;                               3/18 passed House with amend: S-5084; back to Senate for floor vote      

SF 431              Solar income tax credit; passed Senate 2013

SF 2017            Tax exemption wetlands

SF 2034            Tornado resistance infrast prgm/HF 2100

SF 2085            Real property enhancement/HF 2057

SF 2091            co-ownership/SSB 3082  3/31 sent to Gov

SF 2191            financing work drainage districts/SF 2055; 3/26 signed by Gov

SF 2242            Vets home ownership assistance/SSB 3178; 3/3 passed Senate; support 3/7

SF 2256            Redevelopment tax credits/SSB 3050

SF 2265            Vehicle regist/levee/SSB 3140/HSB 605/HF 2273

SF 2273            Trustees of ag land in dranage districts/SSB 3172; 3/31 sent to Gov

SF 2317            Job training/apprenticeship prgms

SF 2335            Business tax credit/corp income tax

SF 2339           Redevelopment tax credits/SSB 3050/SF 2256; 3/26 passed Senate;

                HSB/HF 2415/HF 2453; 4/1 passed House                       

SF 2340            Solar income tax credit/SSB 3201; 3/27 passed Senate

SF 2343            Renewable energy tax credit/SF 2032; 3/27 passed Senate

 

Builder Confidence Solid – Hopefully That is Your Feeling Too…

It’s awesome to hear in the media that the market is up significantly because of home building reports from our federation – that was the case last Tuesday, April 15. Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose one point to 47 in April from a downwardly revised March reading of 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). 

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 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.

The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in April held steady at 51 while the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers was also unchanged at 32. The component measuring expectations for future sales rose four points to 57.

 

First Quarter Rebate Forms Available

It’s just crazy that more of our members do not take advantage of one of the easiest and best programs that we offer – so that there’s no confusion, it’s not related to the NAHB benefit package.  Looking through our Iowa list of participants, over $126k dollars have been rebated back on products that you are probably using.  The average rebate per Builder or Remodeler for 2013 was $915.23.  We have several Iowa members who collected over $3k in 2013, and they weren’t huge builders.  This is a great program that potentially pays for your membership dues many times over.  For more information, click here.  To obtain and fill out your quarterly form, click here

Iowa Economy Draws More Out-of-Staters

Iowa has traditionally possessed one of the highest rates of native born people in the country, but the homegrown population is on its first sustained decline since 1980. And that’s probably good news. Just 71 percent of Iowans were born in Iowa, according to new census data. That’s the lowest percentage in over 20 years-when it stood at 78 percent.

The native-born percentage within counties is closely tied with the size and employment prospects of those counties. Polk, Linn, Johnson, Scott and Pottawattamie Counties all had lower percentages-hovering in the high 60s-than the state’s average and have experienced larger job growth in past 20 years. The same trend is seen nationally: Cook County (Chicago), Los Angeles County (Los Angeles), Alameda County (San Francisco), Clark County (Las Vegas), El Paso County (Denver) and a smattering of counties around Washington D.C. have native-born percentages that barely reach above 40. Rural counties across the country have percentages approximating Iowa’s, often pegged at around 90.

 Even though Iowa moved up the ranks, it still sits at sixth for homegrown residents behind Louisiana (79 percent), Michigan (77 percent), Ohio (75 percent), Pennsylvania (74 percent) and Mississippi (72 percent). The national, county-based map shows lower percentages in the western U.S. than the east-suggesting more Western migration than the other way around. (It could, of course, also suggest that mothers in those counties preferred to give birth across state lines.) 

Polk County saw a net domestic in-migration of 2,838 people, according to the one-year estimates for 2012. Linn County, which has overall population growth largely due to birth rates, saw a net domestic out-migration of 440 people.

Iowa benefited from a slight net population growth of 15,377 people, according to the 2012 estimate, and experienced a net gain of workers from outside the state in 2013. The data suggests that at least part of the migration is attributable to international populations migrating into the state. The one-year Census estimate shows that international migrants outpaced those from within the U.S. by sevenfold: 4,143 to 671.

 

Flood Insurance Legislation: Over $1 Billion in Savings

We told you previously about the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, recently enacted legislation championed by our Federation that will provide a significant boost to home building and remodeling as well as certainty and financial stability to the National Flood Insurance Program.

The numbers are in on the legislation, and NAHB’s experts estimate that in 2014, the new law will result in a total of more than $1 billion of housing market activity, including:

  • $755 million in new home construction because the new law makes it easier for prospective new home buyers to sell their existing home and trade up.
  • $361 million in additional remodeling activity because the legislation eliminates insurance costs that some home owners would have been required to pay on certain remodeling jobs.

The recently enacted legislation provides a more affordable rate structure for policyholders and repeals the requirement that flood insurance premiums increase immediately to full actuarial rates when homes are sold. It also restores “grandfathering” for properties that were paying premiums applicable to their initial flood risk rating, allowing owners to pay premiums based on the original risk zone rather than updated flood risk zones.

In addition, the legislation requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take local flood control structures into account during the remapping process and provides reimbursement for successful consumer map appeals. It also restores the “substantial improvement threshold” that triggers a higher flood insurance rate to the historic 50 percent of a structure’s fair market value, which is important for many remodelers.