FHFA: House prices continue to improve

U.S. house prices rose 1.8 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). For South Carolina prices were up 1.9 percent for the same period, placing the state 19th in the nation for home price appreciation.  For the last year, South Carolina home prices are up 3.4 percent.

For Greenville, house prices are down .23 percent for the quarter, down .46 percent for the last year, and down 1.95 percent for the last five years.  “This report tells the story for the Greenville market.  Our home prices are historically stable,” Robert Markel, CGR, President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, said.

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 3.0 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June was up 0.7 percent from May.

“Although some housing markets are still facing significant challenges, house prices were quite strong in most areas in the second quarter,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The strong appreciation may partially reflect fewer homes sold in distress, but declining mortgage rates and a modest supply of homes available for sale likely account for most of the price increase.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transactions information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 2.0 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, the index is up 2.4 percent.

While the national, purchase-only house price index rose 3.0 percent from the second quarter
of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, prices of other goods and services rose 1.7 percent over
the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 1.3
percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:

  • The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the second quarter in 43 states.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest prices in the latest quarter, posting a 4.2 percent price increase. Prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices were flat over the quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S., second-quarter price increases were greatest in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area Division (MSAD.) That area saw prices increase by 8.3 percent between the first and second quarters. Prices were weakest in New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ MSAD, where prices fell 1.5 percent over that period.

Read the complete report at FHFA.gov by clicking here.

    Richard F. “Dick” Markel

    Richard F. “Dick” Markel, 91, devoted husband and loving father, died Saturday, July 7, 2012, at St. Francis Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Phyllis Hinkle Markel.

    He is the grandfather of Robert Markel, CGR, President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville and President of Hadrian Construction Company, Inc.

    Dick, the son of the late Robert and Edna Markel, was reared in Johnstown, PA.

    He was a 1942 engineering graduate of Pennsylvania State University. He served his country in World War II in Europe as a member of the 26th Infantry Division and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in combat. After the war, he did post-graduate work in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1948 until 1968, he was an engineer and executive with Great Lakes Carbon Company and the Carborundum Company in New York and California. In 1968, Dick formed his own engineering firm, R.F. Markel & Associates, which was based in Greenville from 1970 onward. He was an expert in carbon and graphite technology and held several patents. He specialized in the design of complex high-temperature furnaces and processes; he also supervised the installation of his designs in numerous factories in North America, Asia, and Europe.

    Dick was an avid golfer and skilled woodworker. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenville.

    He is also survived by four children: Kathryn Levy and husband Philip of Akron; Patricia Barnes and husband William of Charlotte; John and wife Fleming, and Richard and wife Tetiana, all of Greenville; four grandchildren, Melanie Levy, Alison Levy, Hampton Markel, and Robert Markel and wife Erin; and three great-grandchildren, Lillie, Louise, and John Douglas Markel.

    Dick was predeceased by his sister, Marian Leventry Kinsey, and by his brothers, Robert, William, and Charles.

    A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Greenville, on Friday July 13, at 11:00 a.m. A reception at the church for family and friends will immediately follow the service.

    Memorials may be made to The Salvation Army, 417 Rutherford St, Greenville, SC 29609, or Trinity Lutheran Church, 421 N. Main St., Greenville, SC 29601.

    Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.thomasmcafee.com.

    NAHB: Greenville MSA is an Improving Market


    For the second straight month, the Greenville MSA (Greenville, Laurens, and Pickens counties) made the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI).  The list of U.S. housing markets showing measurable and sustained improvement rose by four to include 84 metros in July.  This number includes representatives from 32 states and the District of Columbia. One other city from South Carolina made the list: Florence.

    “Greenville’s inclusion on the Improving Markets Index is testimony to the solid improvements our housing market has made in the last year,” Robert Markel, CGR, President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, said.  “The only thing that has held us back has been housing prices,” Markel said.  “Our market has always been stable where prices are concerned.  However, as inventory has fallen, prices have risen, putting Greenville on this national list.”

    The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. This month’s IMI includes 73 metros that held their positions on the list from June, as well as 11 newly added markets.

    “The geographic diversity and growing number of metros on the latest IMI help spotlight the improvements we have begun to see in terms of home prices and job market conditions across certain parts of this country, which in turn are spurring more demand for new homes,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “That said, our members continue to assert the need for more reasonable credit standards and more accurate appraisal methods to perpetuate this positive momentum.”

    “The modest increase in the July IMI is encouraging because it indicates that individual housing markets continue to regain their footing despite some recent reports of weakening in the broader economy,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is evidence that the housing recovery is slowly but surely taking root, one market at a time.”

    “The positive takeaway from today’s report is that an increasing number of consumers are looking at better conditions to both buy and sell homes, which should help spur greater activity in certain markets going forward,” noted Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Company.

    The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

    A complete list of all 84 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in July, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

    Did you know: the Affordable Care Act could have been a lot worse for small builders?

    Did you know: the Affordable Care Act could have been a lot worse for small builders?

    Robert Markel, CGR

    By Robert Markel, CGR
    President, Home Builders Association of Greenville 
    President and Owner, Hadrian Construction Company

    Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), it is worth revisiting the point that this legislation could have been a lot worse for small Home Builders and Remodelers if not for the actions of the National Association of Home Builders.

    In the version of the Affordable Care Act that passed the U.S. Senate, the mandate to require employers to offer health insurance to its employees would have been effective for any “construction-related business” with five or more employees, even while other businesses had a threshold of 50 employees.  NAHB aggressively lobbied Congress to remove that requirement that clearly would have harmed construction firms.  NAHB organized its members and together the five-employee mandate was removed before the bill was presented to the President for his signature.

    As a member of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, you enjoy a three-in-one membership that includes the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.  While locally our mission is broad and includes advocacy, as well as promoting and serving the industry, at the state and national level your Home Builders Association has one central mission: representing Home Builders in the halls of government.

    Your membership in your Home Builders Association is a vital part of insuring that all Home Builders and related businesses are properly looked after in Washington DC and Columbia.  Please remember that the next time you receive your membership renewal notice.

    Call for Nominations to HBA of Greenville Board of Directors

    Dear HBA of Greenville Membership,

    The HBA Nominating Committee has begun work on identifying and recommending to the membership a slate of officers and directors for 2013.  Elections will be held at our Annual meeting in November.

    If you have an interest in serving in one of the following positions, or know of a member we should consider, please contact Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the HBA of Greenville, or me or a member of the Nominating Committee.

    The following positions on the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors are open for nominations:

    • Vice President
    • Associate Vice President
    • Director, Associate Member (3-year term) (2 vacancies)
    • Director, Builder Member (3-year term) (2 vacancies)
    In addition, the Nominating Committee recommends to the Board of Directors members to be elected to the HBA of South Carolina Board of Directors and the National Association of Home Builders Board of Director. If you have an interest in serving in one of these capacities, please contact Michael Dey, or me or one of the members of the Nominating Committee.
    I would like to thank the members of the Nominating Committee for their participation:
    • Wayne Moore, Chairman, Harold Moore Builder
    • Robert Markel, CGR, Vice Chairman, Hadrian Construction Company
    • Bob Barreto, GBS Building Supply
    • Rick Quinn, Quinn-Satterfield
    • Matt Vaugh, Homeowners Mortgage
    • Susan Vernon, Dillard-Jones Builders
    Wayne Moore, Immediate Past President