National Association of Home Builders announces Executive Officer of the Year Award!

August 19, 2014

renee accepting awardThis award honors a dedicated Executive Officer  whose actions, commitments and accomplishments in a single year have been truly exceptional. In addition, the EO promoted the goals of the NAHB Executive Officers Council (EOC)  and assisted in the advancement of his or her peers. This award is in memory of Gary Komarow, former chief legal counsel of NAHB and a very dear friend of the EOC.

This year’s winner of the Executive Officer of the Year Award was Renee Zentz of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs.  Under Renee’s leadership, the local HBA was honored with 4 national awards, including Best Local Government Affairs Effort, Best Workforce Development Plan Implemented, Best Parade of Homes, and Best Publication.

Renee was nominated by  the current and 9 of her Past Presidents  of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs.    Renee accepted her award on behalf of the Colorado Springs HBA members and her team in St. Louis on August 6.   Congratulations to Renee Zentz from the entire Membership of the Housing & Building Association!

Click here to see video


All Bubbles are Not Created Equal

August 11, 2014
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

In early 2000, the S&P 500 hit 1,553 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ surpassed 5,000. Two years later the S&P was at 768 and the NASDAQ was at 800! In the process, $6 trillion in household wealth was wiped out. We now call that period the dot-com bubble. About half a decade later, we experienced the housing market bubble. Interestingly, the value of residential real estate destroyed during that crisis was also about $6 trillion. Yet the dot-com bubble resulted in a mild recession while the housing bust lead to the Great Recession.   What was different? It turns a major culprit was which households suffered the destruction of wealth.

To set the table, ponder this: During the housing bust, retail spending fell 8% from 2007 to 2009, one the largest drops ever. By contrast, retail spending increased by 5% between 2000 and 2002. Clearly, the losses sustained during the dot-com bust had minimal impacts on household spending decisions and thus on the overall economy. Here is why.

The decline in home prices that began in 2007 was highly concentrated among households with very limited financial resources. As a result, these now much-poorer households dramatically pulled back on spending and in the process unwittingly helped usher in the Great Recession. Remember, retail spending is about a quarter of GDP, so a decline of 8% over two years reduces GDP by 2% — a huge amount. It is as if these poorer households were the transmission mechanism through which the Great Recession got its energy.

Exacerbating and reinforcing this downward spiral was the role of debt or leverage. Remember, by 2004 or 2005 a large percentage of first-time home buyers had low FICO scores, sketchy employment histories and limited assets. To compensate, these Alt-A and subprime buyers borrowed heavily with their now highly levered house being their major financial asset. For example, among the poorest quintile of the population, 80% of their net worth is in their house. Even among the middle quintile, home equity is still 60% of their net worth. By borrowing so much, just a small decline in house prices could put these buyers upside down and wipe them out. Which is exactly what happened and is what turned a recession into the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2010 the bottom 20% of the population saw their net worth fall from about $30,000 to zero.

By contrast, the financial losses sustained during the dot-com bubble were essentially walled off and had relatively little effect on the overall economy. This is because stock ownership is concentrated among the wealthy. As the wealthy have less debt and more assets, they could essentially shrug off the much larger financial losses they sustained yet not have them alter their day-to-day spending decisions. Among the wealthiest 20% of the population, home equity represents just 25% of their net worth. Moreover, depression-era federal laws make it hard to borrow more than 50% of the cost of stock purchases, thereby limiting the potentially negative role of leverage.

In short, the home buyers who bought in 2004 and 2005 had limited wealth and had more of it at risk than earlier home buyers. When the music stopped they were highly levered and wholly unable to protect themselves. That quickly resulted in (among other things) reduced spending, which shrank GDP and quickly cascaded into the Great Recession.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.


Randy Case, II Elected A Life Director at NAHB

July 14, 2014
Randy Case President, Case International Co.

Randy Case
President, Case International Co.

The board of directors of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) elected Randy Case, II of Colorado Springs, to be a Life Director at the Association’s Spring Board of Directors’ Meeting in Washington, DC., on June 6.

“The success and scope of NAHB is largely due to the dedication and hard work of members of its board of directors such as Randy,” said NAHB Third Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald. “By giving up time with their own businesses and families, NAHB’s Life Directors are instrumental in helping further NAHB’s work to advance housing opportunities for all Americans.”

Randy Case, II is the President of Case International Company in Colorado Springs. He has been a member of NAHB more than 20 years, and has served as a voting director for 10 years.

In order to be eligible for election as a Life Director, NAHB builder and associate members must have served as a voting director for more than 10 years, have attended at least two board meetings each year, and be recommended by their local or state association.

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.

ABOUT CSHBA: Named one of the Best Professional Association by the Colorado Springs Business Journal two years in a row, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs was formed in 1950 by a group of builders who saw a need to unite to address the many concerns and issues affecting the home building industry. The HBA of Colorado Springs is made up of member companies including, builders, developers, remodelers, trade contractors, suppliers, mortgage lenders, Realtors, title companies, interior designers, architects, and landscapers. These companies all play a vital role in the construction industry in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. Together they contribute to the growth, prosperity and quality of life this exceptional community has come to enjoy.

 

 


28 Homes in the 2014 Parade!

July 14, 2014

60year_PH_logoThe Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs (CSHBA) announced that 25 home builders will feature 28 new homes in the 60th Annual Parade of Homes.

Prepare to be captivated as you enter several of the most exclusive communities in the city to experience some of the most spectacular examples of the latest in construction technology, sustainable living and interior design. What you will see in each of the 2014 Parade homes is the comprehensive ef­fort of thousands of contributing trade partners, which when all of the dust set­tles, create individual homes designed to inspire.

The 28 beautiful new homes and neighborhoods in the Parade of Homes will be open from 10am – 6pm daily starting Friday, August 1 and runs through Sunday, August 17.

Tickets will be on sale at all local Safeway stores beginning July 18 and includes a navigational proximity map. Admission is $10.00 for adults 18 and older. Children 17 and younger are free. One ticket will allow visitors to tour the Parade of Homes at their leisure during these 17 days. You can register for the $2,500 shopping spree at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries at any of the Parade homes anytime throughout the Parade; you can also enter to win an Apple iPad by getting your ticket stamped at 26 of the Parade builders identified on your ticket. You may also purchase tickets and enter online for both prizes at www.cshba.com.

Main sites will be located at Flying Horse and Wolf Ranch. In addition to the main sites, many of this year’s homes are scattered throughout Colorado Springs showcasing some of the finest neighborhoods in El Paso County.

As always, the Parade of Homes is easy to navigate with the comprehensive Plan Book and web site. Free Plan Books are available at any Parade Home and include detailed information about each of the Parade homes and hub site locations. The website will have an electronic copy of the Map and Guidebook as well as a list of the Parade Builders with their contact information. You can also download the free HBA Newsstand and get the Parade App with expanded content from all the builders, developers and select advertisers from the App Store or Google Play.

There will be several educational events throughout the Parade. Whether you are looking for tips on landscaping, planning a custom home, interior design ideas, financing your first home and fire mitigation practices, the Parade builders have information you want to know.

  • Deer Resistant Planting
  • Tiny House Movement
  • Living in a Kid’s World
  • Fire Mitigation
  • Trends in Materials and Design
  • Planning Your Custom Home
  • Financing Your First Home
  • The 7 Layers of Design
  • Inexpensive Ways to Create Big Looks

For a complete list of all educational events, with times and locations, log on to www.cshba.com and click on the Parade of Homes logo.

In April 2014, the CSHBA won Association Excellence Awards (AEA) awards from the National Association of Home Builders for both the 2013 Parade of Homes and the 2013 Parade of Homes magazine and App. The AEA is an annual program designed to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of state and local HBAs throughout the country. This followed on the heels of winning “Best of Houzz”, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. TheParade of Homes was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs would like to thank our major supporters of the Parade of Homes: The Gazette, Freedom Financial Services, La–Z–Boy Furniture Galleries and Mike Shaw Buick GMC. Safeway is the official ticket outlet for the Parade of Homes.

 About the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs

Named one of the Best Professional Association by the Colorado Springs Business Journal two years in a row, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs was formed in 1950 by a group of builders who saw a need to unite to address the many concerns and issues affecting the home building industry. The HBA of Colorado Springs is made up of member companies including, builders, developers, remodelers, trade contractors, suppliers, mortgage lenders, Realtors, title companies, interior designers, architects, and landscapers. These companies all play a vital role in the construction industry in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. Together they contribute to the growth, prosperity and quality of life this exceptional community has come to enjoy.


The 6th HBA Remodeled Homes Tour in Colorado Springs is on June 21 & 22

June 13, 2014
2014 Remodeled Homes Tour  June 21 & 22

2014 Remodeled Homes Tour June 21 & 22

Looking for a little inspiration and a weekend escape this year? The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs is holding the 6th Annual Remodeled Homes Tour, Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22nd from 10 am -5 pm. You can travel throughout the Colorado Springs area and explore remodeling possibilities through the eyes of some of Colorado Springs most talented and respected remodelers.

The Remodeled Homes Tour provides participating remodelers the opportunity to showcase their ability to improve a home, be it a simple beautification project or a full room addition. The Tour is perfect for any homeowner – from those wanting to add dimension and square footage to a room, those looking for a little added cabinet space, or the homeowner planning the gourmet dream kitchen. The public can see products first hand, enjoy the colors and textures of the interiors and visualize their own remodeled home. This Tour is the place to discover exciting new trends in home design, decoration and construction.

There are ten remodeled homes in the Tour; areas include The Broadmoor Bluffs, Briargate, Springs Ranch and additional scattered site locations. One ticket provides you the opportunity to visit 10 beautifully remodeled homes and talk one-on-one with the remodelers. The Housing and Building Association is thrilled to give the remodelers an opportunity to show off their great work and to visit with you.

Remodeled Homes Tour magazines will be published and distributed during the two-day event and will feature pictures and descriptions of each remodeled project.

Tickets are on sale at all local area Safeway stores. Tickets are $8.00 for adults, 18 and under are free. Tickets may also be purchased at any of the remodeled homes during the tour and are good for both days of the tour. This year’s Remodeled Homes Tour will be an outstanding value! Enter to win a $500 Shopping Spree at one of the participating stores in Coutura.

For Tour information, please call the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs at 592-1800 x 17. Visit the website at www.cshba.com to view the map and for additional information.

2014 Remodeled Homes Tour Sponsored by:

Gazette     Freedom Financial Services 5-2013Coutura   Ferguson PEAK 92


Economic Forecast for 2nd Half of 2014: Increasing Momentum, Reduced Headwinds

June 13, 2014
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Despite GDP growth stalling in Q1 due to the Polar Vortex, slower inventory accumulation and mildly lower exports, the economic recovery remains intact. The anemic performance of the US economy from January through March was aberrant, and the incoming employment, manufacturing and consumer spending data all point to an economic pickup. GDP growth the rest of the year should average 3%, with growth in Q2 closer to 3.25% as the economy rebounds from the harsh winter. In addition, reduced fiscal drag from DC, increased hiring and spending by state and local governments, and increased corporate spending on plant and equipment suggest we are finally entering a period of faster growth.

That said, economically all is not well. Wage growth remains anemic and while the unemployment rate is 6.3%, down from 10%, the fall is largely due to a decline in the labor force participation rate. The ranks of the long-term unemployed remain elevated, along with the number of those working part-time because they can’t find full time work. Add to that average overtime hours that are remarkably high and termination rates that are very low and what you have are employers very reluctant to hire. This situation cannot persist, and of late job creation numbers have been on the upswing. Therefore, net job creation will rise from 200,000/month, where it has been for the past year, to 220,000 or 225,000 by year end and unemployment will probably fall to 6.1%. I expect wage growth to start picking up steam in 2015.

The biggest drag on the economy is housing. After a promising first half of 2013, the housing market is, at best, flat. While rising interest rates and home prices, a lack of inventory and lots, shortages of materials and labor, and a lack of credit and first-time buyers play a part, weak household formation is the main culprit. After averaging over 1.2 million in the years prior to the Great Recession, household formations have been averaging 500,000 since the end of the recession. The good news – household formation will rise now that all eight million jobs lost during the recession have been finally made up. We are no longer making up lost ground. Because of this, new single-family construction activity in 2014 will reach 700,000, with multifamily adding 350,000, while existing home sales should be down slightly from last year.

As for inflation, it’s benign. No matter how measured, there is no inflation to speak of in the US. Commodity prices will remain well-behaved given weak demand due to economic slowing in China and weak growth in Europe and the developing nations. Absent some sort of geopolitical crisis, energy prices will remain where they are thanks to record US oil production. As a result, expect tapering to end in November and for the Federal Reserve to begin raising short-term interest rates by mid-2015. However, long-term rates have bottomed and 10-yr Treasuries will end the year at about 3% as the economy steadily strengthens.

In short, the economy is improving and Q1 was a speed bump. Long term rates will rise, short-term rates will remain unchanged, and housing will limp into 2015, with prices rising slightly. Most critically, household formation will strengthen and corporate, state and local government spending will rise. Lastly, the likelihood of a recession during the next six months is virtually zero.

Have a wonderful summer and see you in August!

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.


House-Hold Spending

April 4, 2014
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Before the Great Recession, household wealth peaked at $68.8 trillion or $254,600 per person. If that seems like more money than you have, it’s because wealth isn’t evenly distributed. The rich have much more of it than the poor. As a result, back in 2007 the median family had wealth of just $126,000 while the average family had $584,000. Then the recession hit, house prices plunged, stock markets cratered and household wealth hit a low of $56.6 trillion in 2009. Since then stock markets around the world have staged a remarkable recovery and house prices have been steadily recovering. As a result, household wealth now stands at $80.7 trillion, almost $12 trillion more than before the recession. So things have more than recovered, right? Not quite.

Since 2007 there has been inflation and the US population has grown by 20 million people. As a result, inflation-adjusted per capita wealth is now $254,000, just a shade less than it was before the Great Recession. So we are at least back where we were before the recession hit, right? Not so fast. The problem is that the asset price recovery has been profoundly unequal and that has caused the distribution of wealth to change dramatically. And that has huge implications for the economy.

Homeowner equity hit $10 trillion last quarter, and while way up from a low of $6.3 trillion in 2011, it’s nowhere near the pre-recession high of $13.4 trillion. By contrast, equities have soared and are now worth almost $23 billion, way more than their pre-recession high of $18.3 trillion. The economic kicker is that equities are primarily owned by upper-income households, while home equity is the major source of wealth for everybody else. This means that while the rich are roughly $5 trillion wealthier than they were before the recession, all other households are about $3.5 trillion poorer. And while the upper classes spend more when their wealth increases, it’s nothing like the increase in spending that occurs when the rest of the population feels better off.

A huge chunk of middle class spending is the result of tapping into home equity via cash-out refinancing. Regrettably, despite rising home prices many households are still under water, credit remains harder to get than ever before, and many households now have mortgages with extremely low interest rates and are simply unwilling to tap into their home equity. As a result, mortgage equity withdrawal has nearly stopped. After peaking at $320 billion in 2006, it was just $32 billion last year, a decline of almost $300 billion, and that is the highest it’s been since 2010!

In addition to the rich, another group that has done well is older Americans. Families headed by someone under 40 have on average recovered only one-third of their lost wealth, but families headed by someone middle-aged or older have recouped all their losses as more of their wealth is in stock and less in housing. And regrettably the middle-aged and the elderly, like the wealthy, are less likely to spend their capital gains than younger middle class families.

As a result of the profoundly uneven wealth recovery, spending on luxury goods has done very well but firms that rely on middle class spending are not enjoying nearly as much of a renaissance. For that to change wages will have to start rising.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 502 other followers