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Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in News

By Robert Dietz on March 15, 2018 •  Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 70 in March from a downwardly revised February reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the fourth consecutive month at or above a level of 70 for the HMI, an indication of strong single-family housing market conditions. Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market. A strong labor market, rising incomes and a growing economy are boosting demand for homeownership even as interest rates rise. However, builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand. Managing construction costs and future sales prices will be a key challenge in medium-term as costs associated with both land development and home construction continue to increase. Nonetheless, with positive economic fundamentals in place, the single-family sector should continue to make gains at a gradual pace in the months ahead. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI component gauging current sales conditions held steady at 77, the chart measuring sales expectations in the next six months dropped two points to 78, and the index gauging buyer traffic fell three points to 51. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 57, the South decreased one point to 73, the West fell two points to 79, and the Midwest dropped four points to 68. The HMI tables can be found...

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HERS Amendment Puts Smaller Homes on Level Playing Field

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in News

HERS Amendment Puts Smaller Homes on Level Playing Field Filed in Codes and Regulations by NAHB Now on April 3, 2018 • The RESNET Standards Development Committee has approved an amendment that puts smaller homes on equal ground in terms of achieving a lower — or more efficient — Home Energy Rating System score. Historically, smaller homes have been disadvantaged relative to the HERS Index ratings for average and larger homes. Stakeholders seem pleased with the amendment, which incorporates a house size adjustment factor so that calculations are more accurate and result in a score that better reflects energy savings no matter the square footage. “I am in favor of the change,” said Thom Marston, regional manager at Energy Services Group, a Maryland-based residential energy conservation company. “Anything that brings the standard to parity between small and large homes should be applauded. No building should have an unfair advantage over another.” RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden says that the accredited HERS software programs used to calculate the scores must implement the change by July 1. All HERS raters must use the new version by Jan. 1, 2019, giving raters a transition period. RESNET plans to submit the amendment for the 2021 IECC codes cycle so the code will reference the updated standard. For additional information about NAHB high-performance building initiatives, contact Jaclyn Toole at 800-368-5242...

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Pass-Through Income: What if You Have More?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 in News

Pass-Through Income: What if You Have More? Filed in Economics, tax reform toolkit by NAHB Now on March 27, 2018 • 0 Comments Earlier this month, a Tax Reform Toolkit post explained the basics of the new 199A 20% deduction for pass-through income. It focused on how the deduction works for a taxpayer who has less than $315,000 of taxable income, is married and filing jointly (or $157,500 in income if single). In general, these taxpayers may deduct 20% of their pass-through income from their adjusted gross income before calculating their tax liability. Individuals and families above these thresholds, however, must calculate their deduction using the W-2 wages paid to employees of, and the depreciable property held by, their business. These wage and property rules are phased in between $315,000 and $415,000 in taxable income for married couples filing jointly (and half those amounts for single taxpayers). But what happens if the limitations are fully phased in: the taxable income is greater than $415,000 for married filing jointly, or $207,500 for filing singly? ‘Need-to-know’ numbers  At these higher income levels, taxpayers must know three amounts before they can calculate their allowable deduction: W-2 wages paid to employees The prices paid for all depreciable assets owned by the pass-through Taxable income—defined as income less deductions except for 199A With these in hand, the taxpayer can calculate the maximum allowable deduction using the following two methods: Method 1. Multiply the amount of W-2 wages paid to employees (or your share of wages paid if you are one of multiple shareholders or partners) by 50%. Call this maximum allowable deduction ‘A’. Method 2. Multiply W-2 wages paid by 25%. Call this amount (i). Add up the prices paid for all assets currently being depreciated (note this is done on a cost basis rather than using the value of assets after depreciation). Now, multiply the cost of depreciable assets by 2.5%. Call this amount (ii). Add (i) and (ii) and call the sum “maximum allowable deduction ‘B’.” Now apply the “lesser of” rule, which states that your maximum allowable deduction is equal to the lesser of: The greater of A or B, or Taxable income multiplied by 20%. Let’s take an example. Randy has $600,000 in qualified business income — representing all of his household’s income—and would ideally like to take a deduction equal to 20% of that, or $120,000. He also plans on taking $100,000 in itemized deductions. In 2018, Randy’s pass-through business: Pays $200,000 in W-2 wages Owns $1 million of qualified depreciable property Because he is above the income threshold, he must use methods 1 and 2 to calculate his maximum allowable deduction before applying the “lesser of” rule. Now Randy applies the “lesser of” rule using 20% of his taxable income. Because he has $600,000 in income and takes $100,000 in deductions, Randy’s taxable income for these purposes is...

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Scholarships Support Next Generation of Industry Leaders

Posted by on Mar 16, 2018 in News

Scholarships Support Next Generation of Industry Leaders Filed in Construction Industry, Student Chapters by NAHB Now on March 16, 2018 • Students interested in – or currently pursuing – rewarding career opportunities in residential construction can apply for several industry scholarships that are now accepting applications. Encourage students you know to submit their applications soon as the deadlines are quickly approaching. National Housing Endowment The National Housing Endowment offers several students scholarships, including the Herman J. Smith Scholarship, the Lee S. Evans Scholarship, the NAHB Professional Women in Building/NHE Strategies for Success Scholarship and the Pulte Group/NHE Build Your Future Scholarship. The deadline for students to apply to any of these scholarships is April 1. In addition to the student scholarships, the Endowment also offers the Homebuilding Education Leadership Program (HELP), which awards annual grants to leading colleges and universities to help them create, expand or enhance residential construction management programs. The first step in the grant application process is for institutions to submit a Letter of Inquiry, which is also due April 1. More information about the student scholarships can be found on NationalHousingEndowment.org. American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) ACCE’s annual scholarships focus on supporting students interested in pursuing teaching opportunities in the field. The Dupree Construction Education Fund/National Housing Endowment Scholarship provides $5,000 yearly to help with expenses for a candidate for an advanced degree in construction management with an emphasis on residential construction. The applicant should have experience in residential construction and a desire for a career as faculty in an ACCE-accredited construction management program. Applicants must have been accepted in an advanced degree program in construction management in an institution with an ACCE-accredited undergraduate program. The 2018 application is due May...

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Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing in March

Posted by on Mar 16, 2018 in News

Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing in March Filed in Economics by NAHB Now on March 15, 2018 • Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 70 in March from a downwardly revised February reading on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) but remains in strong territory. “Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “However, builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand.” “A strong labor market, rising incomes and a growing economy are boosting demand for homeownership even as interest rates rise,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With these economic fundamentals in place, the single-family sector should continue to make gains at a gradual pace in the months ahead.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI component gauging current sales conditions held steady at 77, the chart measuring sales expectations in the next six months dropped two points to 78, and the index gauging buyer traffic fell three points to 51. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 57, the South decreased one point to 73, the West fell two points to 79, and the Midwest dropped four points to 68. See more analysis in this Eye on Housing blog...

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