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Monday Morning Briefing

Green Home Building to Increase as Much as 38% by 2016 A new report produced by McGraw-Hill Construction and released during the National Green Building Conference and Expo in Nashville this week estimates that the green homes share of the construction market will rise 29% - 38% by 2016 after having accounted for about 17% of the market in 2011. The "SmartMarket Report - New and Remodeled Green Homes: Transforming the Residential Market," was developed by McGraw-Hill in conjunction with NAHB and Waste Management to provide key insights into product and market opportunities in the single-family home building and remodeling industries. It is backed by proprietary research surveys and the McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge database, and its findings are rather eye-opening. Based on the five-year forecast for overall residential construction, it says that green building could potentially be an $87-$114 billion market by 2016. The report finds that two key factors driving this growth are the perception that green homes are of higher quality and the fact that they save consumers money. Commenting on the report's findings, NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg said, "The results of this research highlight the tremendous growth that is expected in green building and the potential market opportunities that lie ahead. As more projects seek green certification, NAHB and the NAHB Research Center stand ready to meet the demands of this exciting and ever-changing market."
EPA to Delay Implementing New Stormwater Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency has missed a settlement agreement deadline of April 27 for releasing its new stormwater regulation, and will have to delay the rule by perhaps a year from its intended date due to difficulties the agency has experienced in coming up with an appropriate cost-benefit analysis. In developing this new stormwater regulation, EPA aims to limit the volume and pollutant loads in stormwater discharges to levels that existed at the site prior to development through the use of low-impact development and green infrastructure devices. The agency recently entered negotiations with the environmental groups who won the legal settlement that set the April deadline, seeking to establish a new schedule for the rule's implementation. According to the most recent reports, that schedule will now be released in early to mid-May along with a posting of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register. As a result of this new timing, the proposed rule is not likely to go into effect until sometime in the spring of 2013. We'll keep you informed as this situation develops. Speaking at a recent environmental policy conference, James Hanlon, director of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management, acknowledged last week that regulators ran into "analytical issues" with assessing costs and benefits for developers and localities when the rule is put in place. One of the issues that has been cited by EPA officials is the difficulty of determining how to measure the benefits of using green infrastructure in site redevelopment. NAHB has provided extensive comments and conducted significant outreach to EPA throughout the rule's development over the past several years to try to ensure that the final regulation is workable, fair and cost-effective, and we'll continue with these efforts going forward.
NAHB, Others Urging Safe Harbor on Qualified Mortgage Rule
In continuing efforts to ensure that home buyers will have access to affordable mortgage credit following implementation of tougher new underwriting standards for residential mortgages, NAHB this week joined with 22 other consumer, housing, banking and civil rights groups in sending a joint letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray urging the agency to support a qualified mortgage (QM) definition that would provide lenders with a legal safe harbor in order to reduce litigation exposure. This letter follows up on an April 12 communication in which NAHB joined with 32 other groups to urge adoption of a broad, commonsense definition for the QM that contains strong consumer protections, promotes mortgage liquidity in the marketplace and provides lenders with proper incentives to make home loans to creditworthy borrowers. NAHB called on the CFPB to create QM standards with clear requirements for sound mortgages for consumers, and specific grounds on which there can be litigation or enforcement actions if those requirements are not met. Their groups noted that structuring the QM as a safe harbor for financial institutions will encourage them to provide mortgages to creditworthy borrowers. But if banks fail to get the safe harbor standard, it will further restrict home mortgage lending in what is already a tight credit environment. NAHB strongly believes that new qualified mortgage standards must balance both consumer and industry interests. Consumers must have access to affordable credit and responsible lenders should be able to operate in an environment without excessive litigation. This will help ensure revival of the home lending market.
Government Stats May Understate Inadequate Housing Units by Half
  Using data from the American Housing Survey and statistical models that estimate house prices and apartment rents based on characteristics of homes, NAHB researchers have developed a more accurate definition of what constitutes "inadequate" housing than is traditionally used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This new criteria identifies substantially more inadequate housing units in the U.S. than the government has reported, particularly among the single-family and older housing stock. In fact, our findings indicate that there are over 10 million homes across this country that are physically inadequate, which is about double the number usually reported as having even moderate problems. This data means that many of those units counted within the overall housing stock are in fact not ready for year-round occupancy without significant repair and renovation, so that the effective inventory of existing homes on the market may actually be well overstated. By NAHB's definition, over 19% of vacant single-family homes are physically inadequate and not ready for full-time occupancy without significant renovation or repair. For single-family homes, NAHB’s definition of what qualifies as “inadequate” relies primarily on exterior conditions of the building (such as missing siding, holes in the roof and broken windows), while for multifamily homes, NAHB's definition relies on conditions that are more readily apparent inside the unit (such as lack of a bathroom or kitchen sink and a household's reliance on heating equipment that poses a risk). While these definitions are somewhat simpler and based on fewer conditions than HUD's formula for identifying inadequate units -- and therefore result in larger counts overall -- they also have demonstrable, negative effects on housing values and rents, which is a relationship not readily evident with the government data. Today's home photos - Archival Designs' Corrineaux Estate Choose From More Than 400 House Designs and House Plans We offer house designs in a wide range of styles and sizes. Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and Palladian homes, English Manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and Colonial house plans. Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 sf to 13,600 sf. Our Newport Classics house designs are gentrified New England-style cottages that range from 1500 to 5000 square feet. Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world. Please feel free to search our house designs or browse our photo gallery to get a sense of the many styles and types of house designs we offer. Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one plan could be just for you!

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  • Joanne Loftus
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