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HBAI Newsletter 8.23.18

June 14, 2018 by Melisa Cox
Categories: HBAI Newsletter
   Iowa had several representatives meeting with over 8,000 association professionals in Chicago last weekend for the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting.  Amazing educational sessions, networking and a giant trade show makes it a key component to professional development each year.  The top photo includes Des Moines HBA Executive Officer Dan Knoup, Iowa City HBA EO Karyl Bohnsack, Cedar Rapids HBA EO Melissa Olson, and HBAI EO Jay Iverson.  The center pic is of NAHB field representatives.

Member Rebates due August 31

Our Member Rebate program is so underutilized, check it out. The deadline to file your second quarter 2018 claim is Friday, August 31 and there will be NO DEADLINE extensions this quarter. Do not leave any money on the table! Check out how it works here and submit your claims here. The average rebate for our participating members is $1,169.69!

53 FAQ’s About Silica Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday released a set of 53frequently asked questions – and their answers – to provide guidance to employers and employees on its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. The FAQ clarifies that many common construction tasks are likely to be outside the scope of the standard. This includes mixing small amounts of mortar; mixing small amounts of concrete; mixing bagged, silica-free drywall compound; mixing bagged exterior insulation finishing system base and finish coat; and removing concrete formwork.

In addition, tasks in which employees are working with silica products that are handled while wet are likely to generate exposures outside of the scope of the standard, including finishing and hand wiping block walls to remove excess wet mortar, pouring concrete, and grouting floor and wall tiles. The FAQ also states that many silica-generating tasks performed for 15 minutes or less a day will fall outside the scope of the standard.

Other clarifications in the FAQ, highlighted by NAHB staff, include:

  • Table 1. The requirement that employers “[o]perate and maintain” tools “in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimize dust emissions,” applies only to manufacturer instructions that are related to dust control.  Other information in these instructions, including recommended respiratory protection, do not have to be followed for purposes of the standard. OSHA also has agreed to issue a Request for Information on Table 1 to revise the table to improve its utility.
  • Written Exposure Control Plan. The standard does not require employers to develop a new written plan for each job or worksite. It requires only that employers have a written exposure control plan applicable to each worksite. Employers may develop a single, comprehensive, written exposure-control plan that covers all required aspects of the plan for all work activities at all worksites.

Also, the standard does not preclude employees from entering work areas where silica-generating tasks are occurring when it is necessary for them to do so. Rather, the rule calls only for minimizing the number of employees in the relevant work areas. All home builders should carefully review the new FAQ by clicking here.

Iowa City Women Build Project

The Iowa City HBA is excited to invite you to the 2018 Women Build project in honor of Katie Lammers! Here is her story and information about our project together.

This, the tenth Women Build home is located right in the heart of Iowa City at 924 North Dodge street. Parking is on the other side of the one-way street at 911 North Dodge where the old Human Services building stands. Look out as you cross the busy street. They are able to host up to 20 volunteers per shifts: August 30th for the HBA Women’s Council; September 7th for the General Membership; and October 25th for the HBA Remodelers Council. If you’re interested in helping, contact Iowa City HBA Executive Officer Karyl Bohnsack.

Housing Affordability Drops to 10-Year Low

The modest pace of residential construction coupled with limited inventory of existing homes for sale has continually pushed up home prices since 2012. In May, prices showed a 4.9% annual growth rate. The second quarter reading of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), a measurement of housing affordability, declined to its lowest level in 10 years. While additional wage gains are expected over the second half of 2018 and into 2019, rising interest rates will only intensify affordability challenges.
The HOI reflects the accumulated effects of the inventory challenge, particularly due to the supply-side headwinds that have held back housing production in recent years. New data reveals mixed news on this front: NAHB analysis of labor market data indicates there are 263,000 unfilled construction sector positions nationwide – a post-Great Recession high. However, lumber prices have declined over the last two months, easing some – but not all – of the price gains exacerbated by the tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

Against the backdrop of declining affordability, macroeconomic conditions remain solid. GDP growth for 2018 should be 3%, meeting the administration’s target. In deciding to keep the federal funds rate at the target range of 1.75% to 2%, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee noted that “economic activity has been rising at a strong rate.” The challenge is that ongoing tight labor market conditions and rising costs imply rising inflation risks. This supports our forecast that the Fed will raise the target rate two more times in 2018. -NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

Identity Theft in the News – Follow Up

In the August 2, 2018 version of this newsletter, we had an article about identity theft protection. The Home Builders Association of Iowa has a site http://www.legalshield.com/info/hbaiowa where you are directed to a secure site to sign up for protection for an individual or family.

In response to some inquiries about coverage and pricing the following should provide some good info for your consideration:

  • LegalShield: Who the Individual Legal Plan covers: The member who is unmarried and has no dependents or children. Pricing for this service is $16.95 / mo.
  • Who the Family Legal Plan covers: The member, the member’s spouse, never-married dependent children of the member or member’s spouse, under 26 years of age who are permanent residents of the member’s household or full-time students; dependent children under age 18 for whom the member or member’s spouse is legal guardian; any dependent child, regardless of age, who is physically disabled or mentally incapacitated and unable to make legally binding decisions, unable to be employed, 51% or more financially dependent upon the member and member’s spouse and lives at home with the member or member’s spouse. Pricing for this service is $18.95 / mo.
  • IDShield: Who the Identity Theft Protection Plan covers: IDShield plans are available at individual or family rates. A family rate covers the member, member’s spouse and up to 8 dependents under the age of 18. Pricing for the individual service is $8.95 / mo. and the family service is $18.95 / mo.

Please contact Terry Ebke at terryebke@msn.com or 515-371-8606 with questions or if your company wants to offer the services to your team of employees.

Downward Size Trend on New Single-Family Homes

Continuing a multiyear trend, new single-family home size decreased during the second quarter of 2018. New home size has been falling over the last two years due to an incremental move to additional entry-level home construction.

According to second quarter 2018 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area decreased to 2,344 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes declined to 2,555 square feet.

The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as home buyers tighten budgets, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions. This pattern was exacerbated during the current business cycle due to market weakness among first-time homebuyers and supply-side constraints in the building market. But the recent declines in size indicate that this part of the cycle has ended, and size will trend lower as builders add more entry-level homes into inventory.

Debt Dilemma

Total household debt first peaked in 08Q3 at $12.68 trillion, 85.5% of GDP. $9.99 trillion was housing debt, $2.69 trillion non-housing debt. Household debt then declined steadily, bottoming in 13Q2 at $11.15 trillion, or 67% of GDP; $8.38 was housing debt and $2.77 non-housing debt. Household debt has since steadily risen and is a record $13.29 trillion, 65.1% of GDP. $9.43 is housing debt, less than in 08Q3; $3.86 non-housing. Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Halfhearted Housing

Housing starts were disappointing in July, for the second straight month. That said, starts are up 6.2% YTD which is OK. Single-family starts were up 2.7% Y-o-Y and 0.9% M-o-M, while multifamily starts were down 9.6% Y-o-Y and 3.1% M-o-M. The trends are clear; single-family starts are rising but increasingly slowly and are now growing at almost 8%/year, while multifamily starts decline by about 2%/year, after peaking in late 2015.

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