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  • 23 Jan 2017 10:59 AM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    Join us as FHBA hosts the 2017 Legislative Conference on March 27-29 in Tallahassee, Florida; where members and leaders in Florida residential construction and remodeling industry participate in legislative training, engage with elected officials, and meet to address organizational agendas. Legislators and Capitol observers use this event as a barometer of FHBA member intensity regarding our legislative initiatives. Be sure to join us as we firmly support the building industry in Florida.

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Click here to download the most current meeting schedule.

    FHBA’s HOST HOTEL is the DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown Tallahassee. To receive the special rate of $214, please identify yourself as a member of the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) or reference group code HOM. Space is limited, so be sure to make your reservation early. All reservations must be made by no later than February 24, 2017. For reservation, call 1-877- 800-2652 (toll free) or click here.


  • 23 Jan 2017 10:59 AM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    For those who attended the International Builder Show (IBS) last week, I think you will agree the show was packed and, from my perspective, the governance meetings suggest this is a critical juncture for the construction industry at the national level. [Let me insert a selfish plug here: The Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) provides a great Expo Show and top-notch education at the luxurious venue, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center – a more intimate setting; allowing exhibitors, builders and trade partners to network and actually find one another!]

    Perhaps the most relevant news coming out of IBS is that Florida’s very own Chuck Fowke, a Custom Builder from Valrico, Florida and owner of Homes by John C. Fowke Inc., was announced as a certified Candidate for NAHB’s 3rd Vice Chairman seat. This election will occur at the 2018 IBS meeting in Orlando.

    If you are an NAHB Board Member, you need to clear your calendar and plan to attend the 2018 IBS in Orlando to support Chuck.

    Several locals have already adopted resolutions in support of Chuck’s candidacy and the FHBA Board Members will be noticed today of a special e-mail vote seeking the same. It is important that these resolutions be done as quickly as possible so that Chuck’s campaign starts strong.

    If you would like follow his campaign, please go to his Facebook or LinkedIn page. Connect with him and share with your colleagues!

    In other NAHB news, the national dues increase has officially been delayed until January 1, 2018. Several of Florida’s local Home Builder Association Executive Officers attended a forum regarding a potential new business model that is early in the conceptual/discussion phase. NAHB is also looking at ways for a smaller, nimbler governing structure and exploring options for the acceptance of online membership applications and installment dues payments. It is encouraging to see NAHB taking the lead in exploring new business models and developing an application process friendly to the millennial way of thinking.

    NAHB is working on a litany of governmental affair issues, including cluster mail box requirements, tax reform, and the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.  All of which have serious consequences here in Florida. Like our locals and FHBA, NAHB is working hard to remain relevant and to effectively advocate for the industry.


  • 08 Dec 2016 10:50 AM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    Overregulation, Not Elections, Slows Florida Housing Market Recovery

    Florida’s current economic and regulatory environment work against a speedy recovery from the housing depression.

    To echo the statement made by Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research Coordinator, Amy Baker, during the National Economic Estimating Conference on November 14, Florida’s economy is heavily dependent on construction making a come back, which seems slow in its revival.

    Many credit the presidential election for continuing to weaken the homebuilding market, making housing forecasts for 2017 relatively indeterminable. However, obstacles to increase the construction industry has little to do with the White House and more to do with overregulation in Florida.

    With multiple state and local governing bodies requiring differing seals of approval, a builder can expect to wait an average of five-six years following the purchase of land to begin actual development of property.

    Local municipalities seek to increase impact fees; a tax imposed on all new construction to defray the cost of services such as schools, parks, roads, ambulance and fire service, and other infrastructure needs. Currently, impact fees on a new home could be as high as $20,000. This additional pre-construction cost is expected to increase by as much as 34%. According to the National Association of Home Builders, in Florida for every $1,000 increase in the price of a home, over 8,000 households are priced out of the market for a median-priced new home. As a State desperate for an improved economic environment, it is time to ask if assessing impact fees justifies putting the dream of homeownership at risk.

    In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, builders now have an uncertain Workers’ Compensation Insurance market. The newly ruled 14.5% increase in compensation rates will cripple the construction industry, far beyond other industries impacted by this new ruling.

    State and national economists agree that building in Florida is the backbone to our economic recovery. Knowing this, builders are hard pressed to make any ground for improvement without regulatory relief.

    The Florida Home Builders Association, during the 2017 Legislative Session, will put forth a package of proposals to address these issues and seek to reinvigorate Florida’s construction economy.


  • 08 Dec 2016 10:49 AM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    If you are confused by what the Worker’s Compensation rates will be starting December 1 – Welcome to the club.

    Bottom line, the 14.5% increase approved earlier by the Office of Insurance Regulations (OIR) remains in effect and will start tomorrow, December 1.

    Why is this news? Late last week Leon County Circuit Judge, Karen Gievers, invalidated the increase because the National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI) failed to abide by the state’s sunshine laws. Judge Gievers opined that since NCCI was acting as an agent of the state for the OIR, they must follow the open-government requirements. NCCI did not conduct its deliberations in public and failed to provide data to the plaintiff in this case. Henceforth, her decision to halt the increase.

    Just yesterday, OIR filed a notice to appeal Judge Giever’s decision. Pursuant to the appellate procedure, Judge Giver’s orders are now nullified and the planned increase will go into effect on December 1, 2016 as originally planned.

    Worker’s Compensation rate stability remains a top legislative priority of the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) during the 2017 Legislative Session. FHBA is working with other business organizations to find solutions to the recent cost driver; a previous court decision declaring attorney fee caps as unconstitutional. Stay tuned to FHBA emails and publications for updates on our Worker’s Compensation reform efforts.

    December 2, 20160

    BY FLORIDA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION (FHBA)IN FHBA NEWSLEGISLATIVEPRESIDENT'S REPORTREGULATORY


  • 26 Oct 2016 3:19 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    Homeowners install at least one smart device as part of home renovations; 

    smart thermostats are the most popular smart device

    Renovating homeowners are integrating “smart” features into their homes, according to the 2016 U.S. Houzz Smart Home Trends Survey, conducted in collaboration with CEDIA. The survey of nearly 1,000 homeowners in the midst of, planning, or who have recently completed a home renovation project found that nearly half of renovating homeowners are incorporating “smart” technology: systems or devices that can be monitored or controlled via smartphone, tablet or computer (45 percent). In fact, renovated homes are more than twice as likely to include a smart system or device than before the renovation (51 versus 20 percent, respectively). Nearly a third of upgraded smart home systems or devices can be controlled via a central hub (30 percent), and a quarter include voice-controlled features (26 percent). Homeowners report greater levels of satisfaction with their upgraded smart features than their non-smart features.


    Homeowners are installing smart devices for security/safety (25 percent), entertainment (18 percent), climate control (14 percent) and lighting (12 percent) in their renovated homes. The top smart security/safety devices include fire and gas alarms, and cameras (in 9 percent of renovated homes, each), followed by motion, glass breakage and/or door sensors, door locks and/or video doorbells (5 percent each). A third of upgraded alarms and two-thirds of upgraded cameras have smart features. Additionally, 12 percent of renovated homes include a smart thermostat – 40 percent of upgraded thermostats or temperature controls are smart. Eight percent of upgraded homes feature a smart TV, and seven percent include smart speakers or video/music streaming devices. When it comes to lighting, 11 percent of renovated homes include smart indoor lighting, and 4 percent include smart outdoor lighting.

    “Our data shed light on how renovating homeowners are embracing smart technology,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “These homeowners aim to improve the comfort, convenience, safety, and energy usage of their home during their renovations, and smart technology appears to address many of their needs. While many homeowners report difficulty learning about and finding the right smart products to fit their needs, high levels of adoption and satisfaction among renovators are sound predictors of a wider reliance on these technologies among the general public in the near future.”

    Smart Spending
    Spending on smart systems and devices differs depending on the technology type. The majority of smart home security/safety upgraders spend $1,500 or less on their new/updated features (76 percent), while only 5 percent invest more than $5,000. There is greater variability in the cost of smart entertainment upgrades, with half spending $1,500 or less (48 percent), and another half investing more than $1,500 (52 percent). One-fifth of entertainment upgraders spend more than $5,000 on their new technology (21 percent). Similarly, nearly half of smart lighting upgraders spend $1,500 or less (47 percent), while just over half spend more than $1,500 (53 percent). In terms of smart climate control technology, homeowners rarely spend within the $1,501-$2,500 range. Instead, half of renovating homeowners report spending under $1,501, and another half spend more than $2,500 (50 percent and 46 percent, respectively). Similar to entertainment upgraders, a fifth of renovating homeowners updating climate control systems invest more than $5,000 in their new features (21 percent).

    Motivations
    Homeowners select features with smart technology for a variety of reasons. For security/safety devices, protecting their homes against intruders (67 percent), and monitoring/controlling the safety of their home when they are away (52 percent) or from anywhere in the home (30 percent) are of primary concern. Protection against intruders is a stronger motivation for those installing smart security/safety features than those installing non-smart options (67 versus 51 percent, respectively). When it comes to smart entertainment devices, improving the entertainment experience (80 percent), the comfort of the home (55 percent) and the desire to have the latest technology or to change the mood or vibe of the home are paramount (27 percent each).

    Smart climate control features are selected to improve the comfort of the household (71 percent), reduce energy consumption (68 percent) and to monitor or control their device while away from home (41 percent). In terms of lighting, homeowners are motivated to include smart tech to reduce energy consumption (59 percent), improve the comfort of the household (54 percent) and have the ability to change the mood or vibe of the home (34 percent).

    Challenges and Barriers
    The top two challenges renovating homeowners face when it comes to incorporating smart home features are educating themselves about available options and finding the right products/technology. This is consistent for security/safety, lighting, climate control and entertainment features. Over half of renovating homeowners opted against adding smart technologies during their renovation projects (55 percent). Among those non-adopters, only a third gave the technologies some consideration (34 percent), but ultimately decided not to go the smart tech route due to a lack of interest (37 percent), cost concerns (31 percent), or privacy concerns (23 percent).

    A Helping Hand
    The majority of renovating homeowners rely on professional help for the installation of both smart and non-smart security, climate control and lighting products, though they are even more likely to turn to pros in the case of smart technology upgrades in these categories. This is especially true for the installation of smart alarms and fire/gas detectors (67 percent turn to pros versus 46 percent of those installing non-smart solutions), motion-sensing lighting (63 percent versus 45 percent) and cameras (42 percent versus 21 percent). However, renovators upgrading entertainment systems/devices enlist professional help to a lesser extent than those upgrading security or safety. TVs and music streaming devices with smart features are more likely to require professional installation (38 percent and 27 percent, respectively) than those without smart capabilities (26 percent and 17 percent, respectively).

    You can download the full 2016 U.S. Houzz Smart Home Trends Study at http://info.houzz.com/SmartHomeTrends.html.

    The “2016 U.S. Houzz Smart Home Trends Survey” is an online survey of U.S. Houzz users conducted in August 2016. n=987.

    Houzz and CEDIA will present the results of the 2016 U.S. Houzz Smart Home Trends Survey at the CEDIA 2016 trade show at noon CT on September 15, in booth #4710.

    Houzz has over 11 million photos of professional designed interiors and exteriors, including completed kitchen and bathroom projects, and more than 1 million active home remodeling and design professionals including architects, interior designers, general contractors and design-build firms.

    About Houzz

    Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

    About CEDIA
    CEDIA is the international trade association and central touch point for 3,700 member companies who design, manufacture, and install technology for the home. CEDIA is committed to helping members at every level set a pathway to prosperity by offering industry-leading education, training, and certification; delivering market intelligence through proprietary research; providing opportunities to foster community within the channel, and cultivating awareness with industry partners and consumers. CEDIA founded the largest annual residential technology show, now in its 27th year, and co-owns Integrated Systems Europe, the world's largest AV and systems integration exhibition. CEDIA members deliver technology solutions that allow people to have their best moments in life from the comfort of their own home. Life Lived Best at Home. To learn more about CEDIA, visit www.cedia.net.

  • 26 Oct 2016 3:04 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    The Capitol Club of the Volusia Building Industry Association recently announced their endorsements of the following candidates for the November 8, 2016 General Election:

    US Senate Florida—Marco Rubio

    US House of Representatives Florida District 6— Ron DeSantis

    US House of Representatives Florida District 7— John Mica

    State Senate District 7 – Travis Hutson

    State Senate District 14 – Dorothy Hukill

    State Representative District 25 – Tom Leek

    State Representative District 26 – Michael Cantu

    State Representative District 27 – David Santiago

    Volusia County Chair – Ed Kelley

    Volusia County Council, District 2 – Billie Wheeler

    Volusia County Council, District 4 – Heather Post

    City of Daytona Commissioner, Zone 2 – Aaron Delgado

    City of Daytona Commissioner, Zone 5 – Dannette M. Henry

    Congratulations! to these VBIA endorsed candidates

    who won their seats in the Primary Election:

    Ida Duncan Wright – School Board Member District 2

    Carl Persis – School Board Member District 4

    Derrick Henry, Mayor – City of Daytona Beach

    The Volusia Building Industry Association believes that the endorsed candidates will make a positive impact on the area’s economy and support the advancement of training for Volusia County’s future work force.


  • 26 Oct 2016 3:03 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    From Jerry Linder - Our homes are a substantial investment. Most homeowners go to great lengths before they ever sign on the dotted line. They save money, research comparable prices and floor plans, and identify preferable school and work zones.

    If so much prep work is involved in building a new home or purchasing a fixer-upper, why would anyone risk doing business with an unlicensed contractor?

    As a licensed contractor myself, I understand the anxiety that can accompany deadlines surrounding construction or remodel projects. However, whatever the scenario, whether it’s not knowing where to start or being hurried, hiring an unlicensed contractor may provide a quick fix but will always result in serious and lasting consequences to your wallet and property.

    • ·         Just last week, the Tallahassee Democrat reported a man posing as a contractor who scammed $50,000 for home repairs. He, along with other violators, target uniformed and rushed homeowners.
    • ·         Earlier this month, the Sarasota Sherriff’s office published a press release stating that seven people were arrested on multiple charges during an investigation to protect citizens from unlicensed contractors.
    • ·         Also earlier this month, Local 10 News reported over 12 people were netted in a two-day undercover operation targeting unlicensed contractors who preyed on uniformed and rushed homeowners.
    • ·         Just last year over 2,100 legal actions were taken against unlicensed subjects, including contractors, according to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the agency that licenses and regulates businesses and professionals in the State of Florida.

    The Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) understands how important it is to be a licensed contractor and how large a threat unlicensed activity is among unsuspecting homeowners. Every year the FHBA, representing 7,500 builders and trade partners in Florida, requests the state to fully fund DBPR enforcement actions against unlicensed contractors.

    Jerry Linder is a custom home builder and owner of JL Linder Group in St. Augustine and Vintage Homes in Tallahassee, a Past President of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, and 2015 President of the Florida Home Builders Association.


  • 26 Oct 2016 2:55 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    A home builder needs to maintain a strong communications network in order to be truly successful. As a result, it is important to build a relationship and regularly keep in touch with past and current clients, as well as plan to create ties with clients in the future. This personal bond with each client will make them more likely to remember you and your excellent services, rely on you in the future, and recommend you to their family and friends.

    The key to keeping in touch with clients is to determine if they want a relationship and then to contact them in a way that they prefer that still manages to be memorable. 

    1. Provide Memorable Gifts to Past Clients 

    These gifts can be very small and unobtrusive, but also useful. They ought to have your contact information on them and be designed to be used in a prominent place. This way, if a client needs you, they will have your number close at hand to call. Some examples of unusual gifts that still manage to be completely useful are magnets that label the dishwasher as dirty and clean, thereby stopping anyone from putting away dirty dishes or rewashing clean ones. Sending small gifts of food that have a clever slogan is also an excellent way to keep yourself in the forefront of a past client’s mind and make him or her more likely to recommend you to family and friends. 

      Sending free movie passes, packets of seeds for flowers that are easy to grow, and entertaining stickers are all great, easy gifts to send to maintain contact with clients. 

    2. Personal Cards 

    Many home builders send cards to their clients around the holidays, but there is a better way to stand out in the crowd. Remembering important dates in the lives of the clients, such as when they first signed the to the house, their birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and graduations. By sending cards that commemorate one of these days, it will show the client that you care about their lives. Handwriting the cards is a nice touch that is well worth the time and effort. 

    3. Use Customer Feedback Surveys 

    Another excellent way to maintain contact is to use customer feedback surveys that assess how satisfied customers were with the services and show that their input is important. Most people recommend that the surveys be sent to the customers about two or three weeks after the sale of the home has been closed. This also allows you to solidify contact information with past clients.

     By using some of these methods, it will be possible for you to keep in contact with your clients and build relationships that will last for years and produce referrals regularly.


  • 26 Oct 2016 2:54 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    From NAHB - For the past several months, we have been waiting with baited breath for the final decision by Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) regarding the pending worker’s compensation increase. Last week, we finally got our answer, and not one that works best for our industry.

    OIR unofficially announced a 14.5% increase to workers’ compensation insurance. However, after considering the filing and testimony from affected parties, such as FHBA President-Elect Jeremy Stewart, Florida Insurance Commissioner, David Altmaier, modified the originally proposed 19.6% increase in multiple ways to ease the burden on construction and other small businesses.

    Three key items that you should know regarding the increase:

    • The 14.5% increase is a 5% reduction from the original proposal;
    • The increase will not be effective until December 1, 2016, two months later than the original proposal; and
    • The increase will only apply to renewing and new policies, not retroactive to existing policies.

    The ball is now back in the court of the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI), where they will resubmit its rate filing based upon the criteria outlined by OIR. For business planning purposes, you should prepare for a 14.5% increase on renewing and new policies on December 1, 2016.

    The increase is daunting and will require a concerted legislative effort to change the underlying fabric of the recent misguided State Supreme Court decisions. Former FHBA President, Jay Carlson, will head a worker’s compensation task force to help guide FHBA’s policies through this upcoming Legislative Session.

    We must collectively get prepared to go to war! Our intelligence tells us that trial lawyers, labor unions and other anti-business forces are gearing up to challenge even more of the successful reforms that were established in 2003. We expect these challenges to come judicially and legislatively.

    The workers’ compensation insurance increase could have been worse, but may become horrible unless we stand together and fight!

    For more information, email Rusty Payton (rpayton@fhba.com), CEO/Chief Legislative Lobbyist, or Douglas Buck (dbuck@fhba.com), Director of Governmental Affairs.


  • 03 Jun 2015 4:20 PM | Sandy Bishop (Administrator)

    Sales of newly built homes rebounded and prices rose briskly in April, signs of rising demand in a housing market constrained by tight supplies.

    New-home sales climbed 6.8% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The median price of a new home sold in April stood at $297,300, up 8.3% from a year earlier.

    A separate measure of home prices rose for the 35th straight month. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 4.1% in the 12 months ended in March.

    Steady job growth, historically low interest rates and rising rental costs have been pushing potential home buyers into the market. But with home prices rising faster than incomes, some buyers may be squeezed out of the market. Supplies of existing homes are tight and home builders have been slow to start construction.

    The crosscurrents have been reflected in other recent housing data, which showed a drop in existing-home sales last month alongside more strong price gains.

    “Seeing new homes become more affordable for new buyers is a really important part of getting the housing market back to normal,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist at real-estate firm Zillow.

    Mr. Humphries and other economists believe the U.S. needs construction of at least 1.5 million new homes a year to keep pace with a growing population and the normal loss of existing stock due to age.

    So far this year, builders are averaging just over 1 million starts, not much different from 2014. The pace picked up some in April, hitting the best level since November 2007.

    Woodside Homes, a closely held builder operating in five western and southern states, sold 453 homes in the first quarter, up 30% from a year earlier. Woodside Chief ExecutiveJoel Shine described spring sales as “reasonably strong” rather than spectacular. He noted that job growth has remained strong and interest rates remain below 4%, with the expectation of an interest-rate increase later this year providing some buyers with extra motivation to buy now.

    “It’s sort of been the recovery that never has gotten spectacular but doesn’t go away either,” Mr. Shine said. “Little by little, the economic trends and demographics trends are going our way.”

    So far this year, monthly sales of new homes have averaged 515,000, a pace that if continued would mark the best since the first half of 2008. Over the past year, new-home purchases are up 26.1%.

    The market in April had 4.8 months of supply of new homes, reflecting how long it would take to exhaust existing inventory at the April sales pace. That was well short of the 6-month mark many analysts consider a balanced market.

    New-home sales reflect about one-tenth of all home purchases, and monthly estimates are often heavily revised as more data become available. The April figure has a margin for error of plus or minus 15.8%.

    While the Case-Shiller index also showed prices rising, the pace has slowed since last year. That trend may continue.

    “Home prices are currently rising more quickly than either per capita personal income…or wages…narrowing the pool of future home-buyers,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All of this suggests that some future moderation in home prices gains is likely.”

    New-home sales peaked in July 2005, when they hit an annual pace of nearly 1.4 million. Sales bottomed out at 270,000 in February 2011 as the housing market crashed.

    Figures so far from 2015 put sales closer to—but still short of—historical averages. From 1990 to 2000, for example, monthly new-home sales averaged 711,000.

    - The Wall Street Journal 

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