As of July 2016, thirty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, have seen rising construction employment growth rates, as of July 2016, according to a National Association of Home Builders analysis. The highest growth rates were reported from Iowa (16.52%), Hawaii (12.89%), Idaho (12.63%) and Colorado (10.88%), all scoring far above the national average growth rate of 4.55%.
On Aug. 1, monetary penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for regulation infractions are slated to rise by up to 150% depending on the type of violation.
This marks the first time in 25 years that OSHA fines have gone up. Previously, OSHA was one of few federal agencies with civil penalties that do not increase with inflation.
OSHA intends to provide guidance on the implementation of the new penalties by Aug. 1. Additionally, to address the impact they may have on small businesses, the agency plans to continue providing penalty reductions based on employer size and other factors.
States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as federal OSHA’s.
The Baby Boom–the original pig-in-a-python generational cohort–is frequently associated with the birth years 1946 to 1964. As Pew Research shows us here, those years account for about 76 million births in the United States, and now, estimates are that that number has shrunk to just under 75 million.
This shows that the Baby Boom–now ages 69 down to 51–is almost fully expressed in the 55+ housing market, which, in turn, exposes the flaws in characterizing the market as 55+.
As we’ve seen in earlier work, the trajectory among the 75 million Baby Boomers is toward working longer, and the economics of uncertainty, costs of healthcare, and longevity trends are likely to add rocket fuel to that trajectory.
We’ve also noted that homeownership rates for the age ranges that encompass Baby Boom generation households are high. Very high, ranging from 70% among the trailing edge of the cohort, and close to 80% for the leading edge 69-year-olds.
This is all by way of saying that newish data from Freddie Mac, entitled “Over Five Million Baby Boomers Expect to Rent Next Home by 2020” is helpful, but not for reasons it necessarily intended.
Its headline infers that a flood of Baby Boomer movers will pick renting rather than owning as they move into their retirement house. The data doesn’t back that up. Essentially, the data suggests that 7% of Baby Boom age respondents (projectable to 5 million people), both homeowners and renters plan to move into a rental in the next four years. Mostly, renters plan to rent; and a small share of homeowners plan to rent at some point in the future as well. That’s not particularly telling.
The really important insights in the Freddie data focus on motivations and preferences, which are meaningful to both for-sale developers as well as for-rend community builders.
Here are the three motivational areas that jump out in the data:
Their top attractions are affordability, amenities
Among the top “very important” factors influencing their next move, respondents picked affordability (60 percent), amenities needed for retirement (47 percent), living in a community where they are no longer responsible for caring for the property (44 percent) and being in a walkable community (43 percent).
They don’t want to move far
Among those who plan to move again, 55+ renters would like to relocate to a different neighborhood in the same city (31 percent) or a different property in the same neighborhood (23 percent) compared to those who would like to move to a different city in the same state (18 percent) or move to a different state (24 percent).
They want family near (or in) their next home
When asked to predict their retirement housing situation nearly six out of ten 55+ renters prefer to either move closer to their families or in with them. Hispanic single-family renters (44 percent) were most likely to predict they will move closer to family, while multifamily Asian-American renters (40 percent) were most likely to predict they will move in with their children.
Here are the take-aways we can glean from this and other data on retiring Boomers.
- In 10 years or less, 55+ will be a meaningless segment as regards housing market positioning, as it will refer less and less to life-stage change, nearing retirement, etc.
- Affordability is and will be increasingly a trump-card factor in housing choices among those nearing or reaching retirement ages
- Proximity and connectedness will outweigh autonomy and sunny climes as must-haves for movers.
We are all incredibly relieved that the darkest days for housing triggered by the Great Recession are over. In the past few years, our industry has gradually picked up speed. Recent government data show that single-family production has increased 120% from the market low in 2009.
But as far as we’ve come, there’s still a long way to go. Housing production, while improving, remains at only 58% of normal. Several obstacles are preventing a complete recovery, including overregulation of the housing industry.
Overly burdensome regulations complicate our businesses while providing little of their intended benefits. But even more important, they add to the cost of the house—making it more difficult or even impossible for many deserving families to achieve the American dream of homeownership.
A recently published NAHB study shows that government regulations account for 24.3% of the final price of a new single-family home. Three-fifths of this total—or 14.6% of the final house price—is due to regulations imposed during the lot’s development. The other two-fifths—or 9.7% of the home price—are regulatory costs incurred by the builder after purchasing the finished lot.
In this study, our economists also report that regulatory costs imposed on an average single-family home increased almost 30% in the past five years, rising from $65,224 in 2011 to $84,671 in 2016. This trend is likely to continue, as there are a number of regulations in the pipeline. These include OSHA’s new rules on reducing silica exposure, fire sprinkler mandates, and the Department of Labor’s recently finalized regulation on overtime pay.
Equally troubling, the cost of regulations in the price of a new home is rising more than twice as fast as our buyers’ ability to pay for it. Disposable income per capita increased by only 14.4% in this same five-year time span. NAHB economists estimate that 14 million American households are “priced out” of the market for a typical newly built home by government regulations.
Regulations come in many forms and can be imposed by local, state, or federal governments. For instance, local jurisdictions may charge permit, hook-up, and impact fees and establish development and construction standards. State governments may be involved in these processes directly or indirectly. Meanwhile, the federal government can require certain permits for land development, among other measures.
There is a need for sensible regulations in our industry, but we must put a stop to excessive mandates that do little else besides increase the cost of housing. That is why the NAHB devotes a great deal of time and effort to fighting regulatory overreach on behalf of its members. NAHB battles overregulation head-on, engaging with legislators and regulators and using legal measures when necessary.
We are not alone. More and more people are waking up to the fact that housing affordability has become a real problem, with lasting effects on consumers and the overall economy. Our government should be part of the solution to make homeownership accessible to hardworking Americans.
Instagram has introduced new and valuable features for businesses, aimed in particular at small- to medium-sized companies that don’t yet advertise on the social media platform.
Here’s more info on these features, and tips on how to use them to better engage with your customers on Instagram.
- Business Profiles: Much like Facebook profiles are different from business Facebook Pages, Instagram’s Business Profiles now offer you the chance to distinguish your company from all the individual users on the site. Instagram Business Profiles allow you to provide directions to your business, choose a way followers can contact you with one click, and more. Business profiles also unlock access to Instagram’s new Insights analytics feature and give you the ability to promote your posts, similar to Facebook. While free to obtain, only those who have a business page on Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) can set up an Instagram Business Profile and these new features.
- Insights: Until now, the only quantifiable ways to measure the success of an Instagram post were the number of likes, comments and video views. Instagram’s new in-app Insights feature provides businesses with a dashboard of info on post engagement. Using the Insights feature, you can see what time of day the post did best, the kinds of people who engaged with the post, and more. There is no charge for this service, and it’s open to non-advertising businesses.
- Promote: Businesses can now turn well-performing posts into ads, right from the Instagram app. Add a call-to-action button and pay to promote the post. While more robust Instagram advertising options are available through your Facebook Business account, this feature is built for speed and convenience.
For many small business owners, the most valuable resource is time, but there are never enough hours in the day.
“As a small business owner, we play many roles: president, VP of marketing, head of sales, CFO and janitor,” said Lori Dernavich, a New York-based growth stage leadership advisor. “We can’t add more time to the clock as more tasks get added to our to-do list, so what can we do?”
The best place to start, Dernavich said, is to track how you use your time. Start logging how many hours you spend on different tasks for a week or two. “We think we know what we spend our time doing, but more often than not the results will surprise you,” she said.
Once you have a few weeks recorded, review your time log and look for tasks you can eliminate, delegate or automate. You can also look for ways to work more efficiently by creating blocks of time to accomplish certain tasks—but it all starts with your time log.
To learn more about running a successful small business, attend the Manta Expert webinar
When you’re thinking about buying your first home, it might seem like it’s all about the down payment. You save for years to have it, and you base a good portion of your home-buying budget on it.
Next comes the mortgage. How much will you owe each month in principal, interest, taxes, and insurance? How does that compare with how much you currently pay as a renter?
If you’ve figured out how to tackle those two huge expenses, you might think you have it made in the shade. With lemonade! But the hard truth is that those are far from the only expenses you’ll incur when you buy a house.
In fact, there are lots of hidden costs to anticipate. These fees might affect your overall budget, timeline for buying, and what kind of home you want to buy. It’s important to consider them early in the process, before you fall in love with a place you can’t afford.
Expenses you’ll learn about while home shopping
1. Closing costs and other fees
The house has to be appraised to find its fair market value, the property records must be checked to make sure the seller has full rights to sell you the home, the real estate agent has to be paid for her work, and so on.
The seller might pick up some of these costs, but you’ll have to shoulder some of the burden. We’re talking about fees that, all together, can add up to a few thousand dollars. And you can expect closing costs to run from 2% to 5% of your home’s value.
Your mortgage lender must explain all the fees to you, so if anything confuses you, ask for more information.
2. Home inspection
This is a must to make sure you’re not buying a home with major structural issues. Ahome inspection will take a few hours and cost up to $500, but it can save you a lot of grief in the future.
3. Home warranty
If you’re buying an older home with appliances that are no longer covered by manufacturer warranties, getting a home warranty could be a good call. They generally cost a few hundred dollars per year and protect things such as kitchen appliances, ceiling and exhaust fans, plumbing, the furnace, and the sump pump. Inevitably, you’ll face a major repair on your new home, so consider whether a home warranty will save you from that expense.
Expenses you’ll encounter after you move in
Owning a home is full of hidden costs. Some cost you actual money, while others cost you time, energy, and happiness (which, let’s face it, also have an equivalent in money!). So even though you might not have to deal with these expenses until after you move in, you should definitely factor them into your decision.
1. HOA and condo fees
If your new home is a condo, or part of a community with a homeowners association, you’ll pay a monthly fee toward maintenance of shared community features. The more amenities you get (e.g., a pool, doorman, roof deck, or community center), the more you’ll pay.
The upside: Your HOA might care for things that save you money and time, like maintaining the landscaping around your townhouse.
If you’re considering a condo, ask for information about the HOA’s budget and cash reserves. If it decides to make a repair to the building that’s not part of its annual budget, you and your neighbors could be slapped with a special assessment to raise money for the unanticipated project—and this could cost you a few thousand bucks!
2. Maintenance, repairs, renovations, and redecorating
Maintaining your home—e.g., cleaning windows and gutters, keeping up the landscaping, and making small updates—typically costs about 1% of your home’s value each year. And that’s not including large unexpected repairs, which can get pricey.
Plus, once you move into your new home, you’re going to want to put your stamp on it.
“People always buy new furniture when they move. The apartment furniture isn’t good enough for the new house,” says Sophia Bera, a financial planner and founder of Gen Y Planning. “This can be really expensive, and I’ve known a few people who’ve financed the furniture, but then they spend more than they were planning on.”
You might also opt to renovate part of the house right when you move in; if that’s the case, make sure to take that into account when considering what home you can afford.
Those first few utility bills might shock you. For one thing, renters often don’t pay separately for water, trash pickup, and sewer. And if your new home is larger than your previous rental, you’ll pay considerably more for electricity and gas.
If your daily commute changes, you might need to buy a new car, or pay more to maintain and fuel the car you have.
A longer commute also bleeds into your free time. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll be affected by “just” another 15 minutes each way.
Sometimes finding a home that has the amenities you want for the price you can afford means moving to a totally different part of town—and leaving your neighborhood friends behind.
A developer’s nearly three-decade regulatory nightmare of attempts to obtain a Clean Water Act permit shows why Congress must take action to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‘ final “Waters of the U.S.” rule from being implemented.
During a hearing today before the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, lawmakers heard how The ESG Companies, based in Virginia Beach, Va., has been denied a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit to develop its property for close to 30 years, even though the company has repeatedly gone through proper channels and put forth state-approved plans that would result in no net loss of wetlands.
Virginia Developer Trapped in Permitting Limbo
More than 50% of Americans own a small business or work for one, and small business owners create two-thirds of all new jobs in this country. You’re not just the backbone of the U.S. economy, you’re also the feet and legs that keep it moving along.
That’s why the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) set aside this week, May 1-7, to recognize small business owners. National Small Business Week celebrates the critical contributions you make every day to grow the economy, create jobs and drive innovation.
So take some time to pat yourself on the back this week. Here’s how you can join the celebration:
Social Media: Share your success stories and goals with Small Business Week participants using the hashtag#DreamSmallBiz. The SBA has also provided a fill-in-the-blank graphic, “Entrepreneurs Are,” you can use to capture your big dreams.
Events: In-person events across the country include a panel of entrepreneurs discussing marketing and growth challenges on May 5 in Phoenix, Arizona; and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo discussing business trends and startup resources on May 6 in San Jose, California. If you can’t attend in person, the events will be livestreamed on the SBA’s website.
Webinars: The SBA is hosting a series of educational webinars this week. Today’s presentation covers digital services that can help your business grow with mobile and social media; the webinar tomorrow, May 4, includes best practices for business loans; and the presentation on May 5 features tips for getting your business financially fit.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index released Tuesday morning, price appreciation of existing single-family homes continued in February, but at a slower rate than seen in recent months.
The national index, covering all nine census divisions, was relatively unchanged in February, posting a 5.3% annual gain, while the 20-City Composite and 10-City Composite posted slower home price growth than seen in January, increasing 5.4% and 4.6%, respectively, compared to January’s 5.7% and 5.0%. Seasonally adjusted, all three portions of the index posted insignificant gains from January levels, and 10 of 20 cities reported increases (compared to 14 of the 20 before seasonal adjustment).
“The year-over-year figures for the 10-City and 20-City Composites both slowed [in February], and 13 of the 20 cities saw slower year-over-year numbers compared to last month,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The slower growth rate is evident in the monthly seasonally adjusted numbers: six cities experienced smaller monthly gains in February compared to January, when no city saw growth. Among the six were Seattle, Portland OR, and San Diego, all of which were very strong last time.”
Seattle, and Portland were still among the top metros for growth month-over-month however (seasonally adjusted):
1. Denver: 1.5% up M-o-M
1. San Francisco: 1.5% up M-o-M
3. Seattle: 1.3% up M-o-M
4. Atlanta: 1.2% up M-o-M
4. Detroit: 1.2% up M-o-M
6. Los Angeles: 1.1% up M-o-M
7. Portland: 1.0% up M-o-M
7. Las Vegas: 1.0% up M-o-M
7. Tampa: 1.0% up M-o-M
10. Chicago: 0.9% up M-o-M
The index is based on single-family dwellings with two or more sales transactions, and excludes new construction. However, February’s growth in the total value of existing single-family housing stock continues the growth seen over the past 12 months, and is a promising sign for home builders in the coming months, as rising homes values encourage new construction. The ability to provide affordable product to first-time and low-income buyers at a good margin remains to be a challenge for builders, however.
Read the full release from S&P Dow Jones Indices here >>