Dr. Robert Dietz

The decline, rebound and growth of home construction in 2020 has been dramatic. After a significant decline in the spring, home building has seen notable gains supported by historically low interest rates, favorable demographics, an evolving geography of housing demand, and a significant inventory deficit.

New home sales have led the way: Sales of new single-family homes are up almost 17% on a year-to-date basis, with a growing number of sales contracts attributable to homes not yet under construction. In fact, such sales are up 47% as of September. A recent NAHB analysis found that the current gap between new home sales and for-sale single-family starts was at historic levels.

The housing market is already beginning to adjust to this notable gap between sales and construction, as the growth rate for new home sales saw a 3.5% decline from August to September. But to be clear, the pace of sales in September (959,000 annual rate) is still strong, with a 32% year-over-year increase. Combined with the low level of inventory at a 3.6-month supply, the September data indicate growth opportunities for home building.

For these reasons, builder confidence in October reached a new, all-time high. The rising optimism is a reflection of the gains in September’s home construction data, which show single-family starts up 6.2% on a year-to-date basis and permits up almost 10%. In contrast, multifamily building is weakening, with 5-plus unit apartment permits down 8.4% thus far in 2020.

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

HBA Elections and Annual Meeting is November 12

To: Home Builders Association Members
From: Bill Kane, APB, President and Vice Chairman, Leadership Development Committee
Matt Shouse, APB, Immediate Past President and Chairman, Leadership Development Committee

As we approach the end of another year, your association will hold elections for our 2021 Board of Directors. Our Annual Meeting is set for Thursday, Thursday, November 12, 2020, 5:30 p.m., at the newly remodeled HBA of Greenville offices. The Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual Chili Cook Off and Oyster Roast sponsored by GBS Building Supply, Clarks Termite and Pest Control and Jeff Lynch TV and Appliance Center.

The Annual Meeting agenda will consist of election of the 2021 Board of Directors. We expect to convene the Annual Meeting at approximately 6:45 p.m., after the winners of the Chili Cook Off contest are announced.

As a member of your Home Builders Association, you are encouraged to exercise your privilege of voting on the slate of officers and directors who have agreed to lead your association in 2021. To do that, you can attend the annual meeting on November 12, or you can submit a proxy form to our Secretary-Treasurer, Chuck Childress, who will cast your vote for you if you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting.

A Report of Nominations and proxy card have been mailed to each member in good standing at the mailing address we have on file for you. Or you may cast a proxy online.

Voting Online
The Report of Nominations is included below. To vote online, click this link and follow the instructions.

If you attend the annual meeting, the vote you cast there will be the vote that is counted. If you are not able to attend the Annual Meeting, please vote by proxy.

Report of Nominations

      Position                               Member                                               Term Ends

  1. President                         Ben Mosely                                       12/31/2021

The Heirloom Companies

  1. President Elect                 Steve Carson, APB                           12/31/2021

Carson Speer Builders

  1. Vice President                   Dave Hagan                                       12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Associate Vice President   Alan Wilson                                       12/31/2021

Clark’s Termite and Pest Control

  1. Immediate Past President  Bill Kane, APB                                  12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Secretary-Treasurer            Chuck Childress                                12/31/2022

Truist Bank

  1. Director                                 Dustin Hughes                                  12/31/2023

Jeff Lynch TV and Appliance Center

  1. Director                                Drew Hamblen, APB                         12/31/2023

D.R. Horton

  1. Director/SMC Chairman      Bryn Brutoski, APB                         12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Director/PWB Chairman      Tonya Lambrecht                             12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Director                                Emily Raines, APB                           12/31/2022

Dan Ryan Builders

Voting rules from the Bylaws:
The Designated Member of each member company, and Affiliate Members of each member company, are entitled to one vote each. Members may vote in one of the following ways:
In person at the Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 12, 4:30 p.m., at the HBA of Greenville offices at 5 Creekside Park Court, Suite H, Greenville, SC, 29615.  Authorize Secretary-Treasurer Chuck Childress to cast your vote for you by executing a proxy. The deadline to submit a proxy card is Wednesday, November 11, 5 p.m.  A quorum is 10 percent of the members in each membership category (Builder, Associate, and Affiliate).

BEA: SC Gross Domestic Product Falls 4.8% in 1Q2020

BEA: SC Gross Domestic Product Falls 4.8% in 1Q2020

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said today that the Gross Domestic Product fell 4.8 percent in South Carolina in the first quarter of 2020.  In fact, it fell in every state and for the national as a whole, GDP fell 5%.

The largest drop was in New York: 8.2 percent.  The smallest drop was in Nebraska: 1.3 percent.

By industry, construction fell by just .8 percent, and real estate and rental and leasing fell by just 1.1 percent.  But GDP also showed some interesting results as a result of a pandemic, and large government spending in response:

  • Accommodation and food services fell 26.8 percent, the leading contributor to negative GDP in 29 states.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation fell by 34.7 percent, a contributor to GDP drop in every state.
  • Healthcare and social assistance fell 7.8 percent, largely the result of suspension of profitable discretionary procedures.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased 15.5 percent, which moderated GDP decreases in 17 states.

The Federal government’s contribution to GDP rose by 2.2 percent, a function of $6 trillion in stimulus spending.  But state and local government’s contribution to GDP fell by 4.9 percent.

Our take?  High unemployment, coupled with the inherent conflict of social distancing and dining out or attending a ball game is a major factor in a struggling economy.  However, with likely home buyers among the least impacted by the rise in unemployment, construction, especially residential construction, and real estate are bright spots.  And if you have the time, and the means, why not go fishing?

Primary Election Results: Changes Coming at Greenville County Council

Major party primaries were held June 9, and a run off in some of those races was held June 23. The results are in and some big changes are coming at Greenville County Council in January 2021.

Seven seats on County Council will be on the ballot in November, and at least three will be occupied by new council members when they are sworn in on January 5:

  • Councilman Sid Cates is retiring in District 20. Steve Shaw, an attorney and member of the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals, won the Republican Primary and faces Democrat Farris Johnson in the Fall.
  • Councilman Rick Roberts sought a second term, but lost his bid in the Republican Primary. Republican Chris Harrison, a commercial real estate broker and member of the Planning Commission, will be the new council member in District 21. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate.
  • Councilman Bob Taylor is retiring in District 22. Stan Tzouvelekas, a restaurateur, won the Republican Primary and runoff and faces Democrat Samantha Wallace in November.

These council members also face challengers in November:

  • Councilwoman Liz Seman (R) faces Amanda McDougald Scott (D) in District 24. Seman has represented the district since 2008. She is Chief of Staff to the President of Furman University. Scott is a graduate student at Clemson University.
  • Councilman Ennis Fant (D) faces Ben Carper (R) in District 25. Dr. Fant is a real estate and insurance professional, a minister, and professor. Dr. Carper is a real estate professional and retired minister.
  • Chairman Butch Kirven (R) faces Will Morin (D) in District 27. Kirven is a real estate appraiser and retired from the S.C. National Guard. Morin is a political and environmental activist.

Councilman Mike Barnes (R) did not draw a challenger in the primary or in the General Election and will continue to represent District 18.

Greenville County Council has 12 seats.

New Greenville Water Meter Offset Policy is in Effect

For the last two months a small team of HBA members and staff has worked with Greenville Water to work out the details on implementation of their new process on water meter offsets. This is what you can expect on Monday for lots with existing taps:

  1. You will be able to offset the meter from the tap, up to 10 feet, as has been the practice for more than 30 years.
  2. You will not be required to kill the tap and relocate it.
  3. For existing lots, if paved and the tap is under the driveway:
    • Dig back to the curb and pull the lateral to the side (without bending it of course) so that the meter is outside the pavement, with no coupling. The meter can be in the greenspace between the sidewalk and the street. GW will allow an elbow at the meter to reorient it toward the house.
    • If digging back does not resolve the problem, the meter may be placed in the driveway with a meter box specified by GW. However, the driveway must have expansion joints cut 2′ above and below the meter box so that driveway repairs in the future are minimized.
    • If all else fails, a GW-specified coupling can be used at the direction of GW.

This change will be effective June 8.

For lots created after June 8, the water tap should be located to ensure that conflicts with the driveway location are avoided. Greenville Water’s guidance to place the tap in the middle of the lot has ended. Developers will place the tap in the location that ensures it is not under the driveway. Be mindful that the water tap may not be in the same trench with the sewer tap. And note that the options above for existing lots will not apply to new lots.

Assume that lot creation means the point at which a water line is installed on the lot.

For most lots going forward, locating the water line correctly will avoid any problems. However, some lots, like town homes, can still be challenging. GW will work with you and your engineer and developer to tackle these issues to include potentially burying extra pipe to accommodate an offset to a meter without a coupling or locating the meter in the driveway.

Greenville Water Meter Reset Fee to Increase
When Greenville Water comes to your site to set the meter, and is unable to do so because of a condition on the site, they currently charge $40 to return to the site. That also changes with the change in practice on offsets. The new fee will be $250.

Scheduling Ahead of Time is Important, But Not Too Far Ahead of Time
Greenville Water schedules their meter sets five days after you call. They suggest that you not schedule the meter set on the day you prep your site for the meter. Instead, schedule the meter set and prep the site the day before the meter is scheduled to be set. This will avoid one of the biggest problems with a site prepped for a meter several days ahead of time: rain. Most of the time the reason why a meter is not set when scheduled is because the trench is full of water. This also will prevent another problem: rainwater running down the water line and undermining the street.

Note that Greenville Water now requires their field team to photograph the site when they have set the meter. They also require them to photograph the site if they are unable to set the meter. So if the field team is being unreasonable, GW management will address it (and has).

We Need Your Help! Last Call!
If you have existing lots that you think will be impacted by the change in offset and will need to use one of the three options listed above, please email Michael Dey this week at MDey@HBAofGreenville.com.