Federal

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2016

 

7/20/2016
Overtime Bill Would Help Businesses and Workers
Filed in Capitol Hill, Codes and Regulations, Labor, Safety and Health on July 14, 2016 • 2 Comments
NAHB today commended Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) for introducing legislation that helps small businesses and their workers by mitigating the effects of the U.S. Department of Labor’s unprecedented doubling of the overtime threshold.
“The nation’s home builders applaud Rep. Schrader for sponsoring this important bill that represents a balanced approach to raise the overtime threshold for workers while minimizing the impact on small businesses,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady.
This spring, the Department of Labor issued its final overtime rule that will double the current overtime salary limit of $23,660 to $47,476 on Dec. 1, 2016. NAHB and others small business leaders have warned that such a huge jump in such a short time frame could actually hurt many of the workers the rule was meant to help by forcing small business owners to scale back on pay and benefits, as well as cutting workers’ hours.
Many Republican leaders in Congress have expressed similar concerns, and this legislation is a sign of growing bipartisan momentum against the rule, said Brady.
The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act would raise the overtime salary threshold to the Department of Labor’s $47,476 rate under the following timetable:
• Dec 1, 2016 — $35,984
• Dec. 1, 2017 — $39,814
• Dec. 1, 2018 — $43,645
• Dec. 1, 2019 — $47,476
Moreover, the legislation would eliminate a provision in the rule that requires automatic increases to the overtime salary threshold moving forward.
“The vast majority of home building firms are small businesses that employ fewer than 10 workers,” said Brady. “By gradually ramping up the overtime salary threshold, this legislation will ensure that the law remains relevant for today’s workforce. It also allows small businesses operating on tight budgets sufficient time to adjust.”
For more information, email Suzanne Beall at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8407.

 

01/20/2016 Passage of House Resolution Overturning WOTUS Rule: On January 13, the House approved a Senate-passed Congressional Review Act resolution (S. J. Res. 22) that would rescind the ill-advised “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The White House has threatened to veto the measure. The rule went into effect on Aug. 28, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit enacted a nationwide stay on Oct. 9. NAHB Chairman Tom Woods issued an official statement that said: “By dramatically extending the areas in which home builders are required to get permits, the rule will lead to bureaucratic delays, increase project costs and mitigation fees, and harm housing affordability. Two courts have already ruled that there is a high likelihood that the rule is illegal and have temporarily stopped its implementation. These court decisions highlight the fact that there are serious problems with the rule and that EPA and the Corps should scrap it and go back to the drawing board. “NAHB urges President Obama to allow this resolution to take effect by signing it when it reaches his desk.” For more information contact Courtney Briggs at 800-368-5242 x8459.


NAHB Remodelers Chairman
By Paul Sullivan CGR, CAPS, CGP
Waterville Valley, N.H.
National Association of Home Builders

OSHA Takes Steps to Increase Enforcement; Basement-Related Work Tops List of Violations
There are signs that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is increasing its enforcement actions on home building sites throughout the country—in both Federal and state plan jurisdictions.
One of the main reasons is that new data shows the number of fatalities in residential construction increased by 37% compared to just a 3% increase in nonresidential construction in 2012, which is the most recent data available. OSHA has also instituted a number of local enforcement emphasis programs aimed at reducing numerous construction hazards, including those in residential.
Are you prepared for an OSHA inspection?
There are a few simple things that remodelers should do to improve safety on the jobsite and be prepared for OSHA inspections:
Conduct an assessment to identify and correct safety hazards on the jobsite;
Conduct appropriate safety training for employees;
Update records and make sure they are readily available;
Understand the OSHA inspection process (Refer to NAHB’s OSHA Inspection Toolkit).


NAHB Upcoming Webinar Information

Webinar Wednesdays: Construction Financing for Small-Volume Builders, the Latest Water and Landscaping Features and Marketing for 2015

Construction Financing for Small-Volume Home Builders
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2-3 p.m. ET
This webinar is directed to NAHB’s small-volume builder members who are experiencing difficulties in finding and securing financing for vertical construction.

Presented by NAHB Housing Finance

Water Features and Landscape Architecture for Single-Family Homes & Communities
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2-3 p.m. ET
This session will focus on top water and landscape architecture features that home buyers want to see when they purchase either a single-family custom home or buy into an entire community. In both cases, these features contribute to a resident’s positive sense of place by creating curb appeal in the public space and an intimate, enjoyable setting in their private space.


 

The latest Eye on Economy is out! Take a look at what’s happened in the last few weeks. http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/36509243


Federal Regulators

Members of the Environmental Issues Committee pulled double duty as they met with regulators about proposals that would expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and place new restrictions on development under the Endangered Species Act. Both proposals would have grave consequences for home building and housing affordability.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that the new rules on wetlands protection provide more clarity, but members showed officials how the proposal actually muddies the waters. And ironically, developers may not even realize the increased stringency of the Endangered Species Act unless they apply for a permit to build near wetlands and find that the land is protected as “critical habitat” even when endangered species aren’t actually present. NAHB is working to bring normalcy to the proposed regulations.

Administration, Housing Finance and Industry Officials

Senior officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Independent Community Bankers of America met with NAHB’s Housing Finance Committee members to discuss the current environment regarding single-family, multifamily and rural housing finance issues, including credit availability regarding acquisition, development and construction loans for builders and home loans for consumers.


 

New-Home Sales are Half-Way Back to Normal

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units in April, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The gain builds on an upward revision of sales numbers reported for the previous month.

“Builders are gradually increasing sales, but tight credit conditions, particularly for first-time home buyers, are impeding a more robust recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. “In a positive development, builders are adding inventory in anticipation of a further release of pent-up demand,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We are only about half-way back to what could be considered a normal market, but relatively low mortgage rates and affordable home prices are other factors that should help keep starts and sales on a slow upward trajectory in the months ahead.”

On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 47.4% in the Midwest and 3.1% in the South and held steady in the West. The Northeast posted a 26.7% decline. The inventory of new homes for sale increased to 192,000 units in April. This is a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace.


News from NAHB

In a victory for NAHB, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced  that it will not  seek Supreme Court review of the U.S. Court of Appeals decisions in the District of Columbia and the Fourth Circuit that invalidated the NLRB’s Poster Rule. The Rule would have required employers to post a notice of employee unionization rights in the workplace.

NAHB is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was a party to the poster rule case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. NAHB and other business organizations in the Coalition maintained that the poster rule violated free speech rights, and amounted to little more than an imposed advertisement for union membership.

By declining to mount a U.S. Supreme Court Appeal, the NLRB will not be able to impose this rule which had been stayed by a temporary injunction. The Court of Appeals decisions invalidating the rule will now stand.

For more information, visit http://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-story/nlrbs-notice-posting-rule, or contact David Crump, dcrump@nahb.org  (800-368-5242 x8491), or Suzanne Beall sbeall@nahb.org  (800-368-5242 X 8407).


Housing Remains on Growth Track for 2013, but Challenges Remain

December 20, 2012 – Upward trends in recent months among a number of housing indicators point to a slow and steady growth in the nation’s housing market in 2013, but several challenges remain, according to the latest economic and housing forecast by David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Consistent, positive reports on housing starts, permits, prices, new-home sales and builder confidence in recent months provide further confirmation that a gradual but steady housing recovery is underway across much of the nation,” said Crowe. “However, stubbornly tight lending standards for home buyers and builders, inaccurate appraisals and proposals by policymakers to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction could dampen future housing demand.”

Stating there is no consistent national trend, Crowe noted the housing recovery is local but spreading.

“We are transitioning from a very low demand level, where most people hold themselves out of the marketplace, to a case where supply will start being the problem,” he said. “As we begin to build more homes to address that supply, the new home stock will be a much more important element of the recovery.”

Setting the 2000-2002 period as a baseline benchmark for normal housing activity, Crowe said that owner-occupied remodeling has returned to previously normal levels.

“Multifamily production is also well on its way, back to 69 percent of normal,” he said. “It’s the single-family market that has the farthest to go, standing at only 40 percent of what is considered a typical market.”

Meanwhile, the number of improving housing markets across the nation continues to show considerable advancement. When the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) was launched in September of 2011, only 12 metropolitan areas out of 360 were on the list. As of December 2012, the list stands at more than 200 metro areas. The index is based on a six-month upswing in housing permits, employment and house prices.

“One reason we have seen such a significant jump in the IMI is because house prices are beginning to recover,” said Crowe. “House prices bottomed out early in 2011 and since early 2012 we’ve seen a 6 percent increase on a national basis.”

Another factor spurring the recovery is that household formations are on the rise. In the early part of the decade, the nation was generating 1.4 million new households each year. This collapsed to 500,000 annually during the housing downturn and currently new households are being formed at close to a 900,000 clip per annum.

“We’re not up to normal, but this is adding to demand for housing,” Crowe said.

As new households form at a growing rate, so too does builder confidence. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which measures builder confidence in the single-family housing market, has posted gains for eight consecutive months and now stands at a level of 47. This is very close to the critical midpoint of 50, where equal numbers of builders view the market as good or bad. The HMI has not been above 50 since April of 2006.

Single-family home starts are projected to climb to 534,000 units this year, up 23 percent from 2011. NAHB is forecasting that single-family new-home production will post a healthy 21 percent gain in 2013 to 647,000 units. Starts will continue their upward climb in 2014, posting a further 29 percent rise to 837,000 units.

Multifamily production is expected to rise 31 percent in 2012, reaching the 233,000 level, and posting a solid 16 percent gain in 2013 to 270,000 units. Multifamily starts are anticipated to rise an additional 9 percent in 2014 to 294,000 units.

Meanwhile, new single-family home sales are expected to rise from 307,000 last year to 367,000 this year, a 20 percent rise. Sales are anticipated to climb to 447,000 next year, up 22 percent from 2012 and jump to 607,000 in 2014, a 36 percent increase over 2013 levels.