Editor's note: This column is reprinted from the current edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine
By Kurt Dinnes
NAHB State Representative
Looking forward for the remainder of 2016, there are signs conditions in the housing market should show continued improvement in the coming months and year, according to NAHB’s Chief Economist David Crowe. He projects about a 13.2% increase in single-family starts for 2016.
While the economic recovery has been uneven, it continues to add jobs, a key driver for the housing market recovery. And, interest rates are not projected to go higher than 4.5 in 2016 and post-bubble house prices have settled back to normal in most of the country, Crowe said. This means housing affordability is very high in many markets.
These factors coupled with five years of sub-normal household formation rates have created pent-up demand that will help reduce some of this excess housing inventory.
Oklahoma remains in the top 20 percent of the nation with respect to returning to more normal levels of housing production. However, it should be noted that if oil prices remain low in the oil-producing states, it will have an adverse effect on those state’s local economies which in turn can affect housing growth.
A savings of $5,700 per house due to advocacy
NAHB has seen many successes through its advocacy efforts, which have been quantified to a savings of approximately $5,700 per housing start (building permit) for a typical home builder in 2015. This alone is definitely worth the price of membership!
For more detailed information on how much you saved in 2015 can be found on the NAHB website under “Value of NAHB Membership.”
As we move deeper into 2016, the NAHB legislative and advocacy efforts on behalf of our industry continue. A couple, but not all, of the notable efforts are:
--Tax Bill signed by President contains victory for Housing
NAHB worked tirelessly to keep key tax provisions in the latest legislation. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Section 179 Expensing, Residential Energy Efficient Tax Credit were all preserved. Most importantly, rather than a year-to-year question mark, the dates have been set far enough out for review to provide certainty in your planning.
For example, the 30% credit on solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps extends to 2020 before winding down for solar. There is more to it than this brief synopsis. Drop me a note if you would like more details.
-- Waters of the US (WOTUS)
Of course we have all watched the end of the year parlay on what would happen with WOTUS. Sadly, it looks like it will take action by the Supreme Court before any finality. The good news is at least the rule is stayed until then.
The House has voted to rescind the action under a Senate-passed Congressional Review Act resolution. President Obama, of course, has threatened a veto. This course is more circuitous but we can still hope. There was legislation to directly overturn the action by the House, but the Senate failed to secure the 60 votes needed. I am hopeful we will elect a new president who will curtail this burdensome overreach by government bureaucrats.
If you would like to see all of the current issues the NAHB is advocating on behalf of our industry, they may be read in their entirety in the “Quick Issues Report” that can be found on the NAHB website.
NAHB Programs and Policies
NAHB launched the new field representatives program last year to help strengthen the ties between the federation and its member associations. The three-year faze-in program was established to implement five new field representatives each year, for a total of 15 field representatives and two field representative support staff.
As you may remember, the first five field representatives started last year. This year another five were hired. Each is stationed in one of the NAHB’s five regions to serve as liaisons between NAHB and the HBAs. I had an opportunity to meet our newest field representative to also serve our region D -- Justin Reyes. I spent some time visiting with him and found Justin to be much like Charles Liuzzo our first field representative. He is enthusiastic, young and energetic. He will be serving our region out of Kansas City. We have already established a dialog with Justin, with respect to the leadership and potential opportunities of our local HBAs. Justin will be joining Charles, as together they will be serving our region. We will now have the opportunity to call on two highly energetic field representatives.
Also, starting this year, NAHB will conduct only two Board of Directors meetings, rather than the three as in previous years. This bylaw change was approved last year. The required meetings will take place at IBS and in a midyear meeting. The mid-year meeting this year will be in Miami, Fla.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all that our membership is not just with our Local HBA. Our membership includes our Oklahoma State Home Builders Association and our membership in the National Association of Home Builders.
I would like to personally thank you. By reading this very article, you are wisely taking advantage of the work done on your behalf and our industry. This is made possible because of your valued membership in both OSHBA and The NAHB.
As always, if I can be of any help as your NAHB State Representative please contact me, I would enjoy hearing from you.
(Kurt Dinnes, Sun Custom Homes. email@example.com (405) 641-2154)