July 2014
July 2014 Calendar of Events
All Events held at HBA office unless otherwise noted 

4) Independence Day - Office Closed
8) Education Committee Meeting @ 2:30pm
8) NOEL Board of Directors Meeting @ 3pm 
8) Executive Committee Meeting  @ 4pm
9-11) LHBA Summer Meetings, Perdido, FL
14) Home & Garden Show Board Meeting @ 4pm
15) HBA Board of Directors @ 4pm 
17) Parade of Homes Committee Meeting @ 1:30pm 
18) Associates Council & Membership Task Force Meeting, 8:30am
Cook Off Logo   
  
Kick-A$$ Cook Off
Saturday, August 2 
4 - 7pm
Thank you to our builders and sponsors for a very successful Parade of Homes!
POH Logo

Despite a few springtime drizzles, the recent annual Parade of Homes presented by the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans (HBAGNO) was one the best attended in recent memory. Newly constructed homes across Orleans, Jefferson, St. John, and Plaquemines Parish were kept full over both weekends of the Parade (May 31/June 1 and June 6 & 7), as eager attendees soaked up the latest trends in home design. While the housing market for historic homes in the city center has caused substantial price increases, attendance at the Parade is a strong indication that many potential home buyers are also considering custom built residences.

The homes were designed to exacting, modern standards, with state-of-the-art appliances and technology. Exteriors featured classic New Orleans front porches, and painted wood siding in light colors. Many interiors featured on-trend dark wood kitchens, bathrooms, and floors, giving even modest homes a regal appeal. Industrial lighting features were also found throughout the Parade, reflecting the tastes of younger homebuyers who may be relocating from trendy, downtown areas. Another theme across multiple homes was repurposing of antique or vintage materials - doors, kitchen islands or built-in shelving from reclaimed wood, or century-old brick used in exterior steps and patios. Homes were also built for long-term residence, with many featuring second-story laundry rooms and walk-in showers - small changes that make living more comfortable as homeowners age.

"We're thrilled at the continued strength of the local housing market," said Jon Luther, Executive Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans. "Home building not only creates jobs, but is a strong indicator of a growing economy. We're thrilled to show off the amazing work done by our local builders."

The St. Jude Dream Home, featured on the Parade Route, has raised $961,500, to date, to support St. Jude's Medical Center. The winner will be drawn, live on FOX 8, on June 29th. Valued at more than $515,000, tickets are still available online at www.stjudedh.org/dhneworleans.

The local Home Builders Association has further committed itself to charitable endeavors, and will be making a donation to Camp Challenge on July 12 at Children's Hospital. Camp Challenge offers a traditional summer camp experience to children with cancer, and their siblings, ages 5 to 14. Free for all campers, this year's local Camp Challenge will be held in late July.  
 
 
Fidelity Logo
 
 
       
Thank you to everyone who came out to the 
Wess Wyman Memorial Fishing Rodeo!
Door Prize Sponsors
Quality Home Repair of LA, LLC
Ronald L. Mills, Inc.
EnviroGreen Insulation
M&M Glass Company
Delgado Foundation Receives Two $25,000 Gifts from Louisiana Contractors 

The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors presented two $25,000 gifts from the Contractor's Educational Trust Fund to the Delgado Community College Foundation on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. The funds will be used for educational purposes in the Delgado Business and Technology Division. The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors supports Delgado's efforts to strengthen the construction industry workforce in all areas from design and construction management to delivery of projects.

Pictured with one of two $25,000 checks presented April 15, from left, architect/builder Ken Jones, Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors in Baton Rouge; New Orleans City Councilmember Jason Williams; former New Orleans City Councilmember Jacqueline Brechtel Clarkson; contractor/builder Peter Young,vice president, Louisiana Home Builders Association, and past president, Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans; Delgado Interim Chancellor Debbie Lea; Dean Warren Puneky Jr., Delgado Business and Technology Division; Professor P. Victor Mirzai, head, Delgado Architectural/Design Construction Technology Department.

About Delgado Community College
Delgado is Louisiana's oldest and largest community college, and has the second-highest student enrollment among all higher education institutions in Louisiana. There are 10 Delgado Community College locations in the New Orleans region, including the soon-to-open Delgado Sidney Collier Site on Louisa Street-a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility offering transferrable college credits as well as a variety of technical and workforce-oriented programs. All Delgado locations are now accepting applications and registration for fall classes at www.dcc.edu.

2014 Legislative Recap
 
Plumbing:
HB 1048 by Rep. Ponti was signed by the governor. The International codes for both commercial and residential plumbing are effective January 1, 2016. The review process starts October 1, 2014 and shall be completed by June 15, 2015.
Position: Lobby Support
Status: Signed by the Governor and now Act 836

Licensing:
HB 919 by Rep. Ponti permits any person or firm licensed for municipal and public works utility construction pursuant to the requirements of the State Licensing Board for Contractors to perform limited main-line utility construction on private property or undedicated rights-of-way or servitudes, but no work on any service lines or gas mains within that same area.
Position: Lobby Support
Status: Signed by the Governor and now Act 561

Settlement Providers/Title Attorney:
SB 426 by Sen. LaFleur creates an unfair trade practice cause of action against a seller who offers to real estate consumers a coupon, discount or incentive to use a particular provider of settlement services.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Failed Senate Passage

Fraud:
HB 417 by Rep. Lopinto creates the crime of residential contractor fraud. HB 417 defines the fraud as the misappropriation or intentional taking of anything of value which belongs to another either without the consent of the other or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations by a person who has contracted or subcontracted to perform any home improvement or residential construction.
Position: Lobby Support
Status: Signed by the Governor and now Act 62

Underground Utilities:
HB 868 by Rep. Ponti makes changes to the LA Underground Utilities and Facilities Damage Prevention Law. HB 868 allows for a warning on first violations and allows for off-set markings.
Position: Lobby Support
Status: Signed by the Governor and now Act 203

Expropriation:
HB 656 by Rep. Miller prohibits the expropriation of mortgages.
Position: Lobby Support
Status: Signed by the Governor and now Act 632

Worker's Compensation:
HB 1190 by Rep. Gaines provides for the procedure for determining disputes and appeals of the medical director's decision. HB 1106 states that any request for authorization that is not specifically denied within the five business days as required in present law shall be authorized and paid by the payor.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Never heard in House Labor

Remodeling/Home Improvement:
SB 627 by Sen. Murray provides that a home improvement contractor who is licensed pursuant and who meets certain criteria shall be exempt from the requirements of workers' compensation coverage.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Failed House Labor

HB by Rep. Pugh requires contractors to offer third party backed warranties for elevation, re-elevation, or restoration work made necessary following a flood or a hurricane.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Failed House Commerce

Real Estate Discrimination:
SB 233 by Sen. Broome prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental or to otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to any buyer or renter because that person is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Failed House Floor

Landlord-Tenant:
SB 298 by Sen. Dorsey makes changes to landlord-tenant laws. Time is shortened for returning deposits, making repairs and mandates escrow account.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Failed Senate Judiciary A

Elevators:
SB 602 by Sen. Nevers provides for the regulation and inspection of elevators.
Position: Lobby Oppose
Status: Turned into a study resolution, bill did not pass as law. 
 
Elliot Eisenberg
Economic Forecast for 2nd Half of 2014: Increasing Momentum, Reduced Headwinds  
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. 
 
   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.



From Last Month...
17) Cyber Security: An Escalating Problem.  Presented by the Federal Bureau of Investigations
Hear from the FBI experts in the field concerning your vulnerability and learn how to take proactive action that can reduce your risk. 
 
 
2014 Education Sponsor
Cox Communications Bldg
2121 Airline Drive
Metairie, LA 70001
Please park in the back parking lot
 
Tuesday, June 17th
Breakfast begins at 8:15
Presentation: 8:45am - 11:00am
Earn 2 Hours of LSLBC Continuing Education Credits
Cost: $10.00 per person in advance - $20 at the door
  

24) New Member Reception & General Membership Meeting 
   
4:30pm - New Member Reception
5-6pm - Networking & Happy Hour
Location: Mellow Mushroom, 3131 Veterans Memorial Blvd
Cost: $20 per person, No charge for new members attending reception!
1st Annual Wine & Rum Tasting PAC Fundraiser
 
   

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of our first annual Wine and Rum Tasting PAC Fundraiser.  Thanks to your support we were able to add over $800 to the PAC fund.  Jo Ann and Norm Kostik were the lucky winners of an excellent bottle of Ron Zacappa XO rum in our raffle.  Keep a look out this summer for our next event which will give our members the chance to mingle with local politicians.

 

The HBAGNO Political Action Committee is dedicated to supporting office holders who support the integral role played by home construction, both to

our community, and our economy. The HBAGNO PAC seeks to promote quality, affordable housing; promote ethical and professional standards for the industry; and act as a responsible citizen through active community involvement.

 
 
Louisiana Housing Corporation Announces $11 Million Available for Homeowner Rehab

BATON ROUGE, LA. - Funding is available for nonprofit groups, developers and local governments wishing to rehabilitate housing damaged in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Housing Corporation and the Office of Community Development's Disaster Recovery Unit announced Tuesday.
The LHC published a Notice of Funding Availability for $11 million worth of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the Homeowner Rehabilitation Program (HRP). These funds will be competitively awarded to nonprofit groups, developers and local governments helping homeowners finish rebuilding their storm-damaged homes.
LHC Executive Director Fred Tombar said, "While thousands of families have completely rebuilt their homes and lives following the devastating hurricanes in 2005, some families still need assistance. The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program will help families who need a final push to get their homes rebuilt."
OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes said, "The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program continues our goal of helping impacted families get back into their homes, and it is another demonstration of public and private, state and local partners working together to serve the people of Louisiana."
HRP was created to assist owner occupied households that have continued with unmet needs preventing them from rebuilding their homes or who are living in homes with substandard conditions or code violations. HRP program will be open both to homeowners who did participate in the Road Home program and those who did not.
The LHC will award funds to organizations, which will be responsible for carrying out all phases of owner-occupied housing rehabilitation, including applicant intake, case management and/or construction work. The LHC is not awarding funds directly to homeowners.
Groups have until June 20, 2014, to submit applications for funds to the LHC. Interested applicants are encouraged to attend a NOFA Orientation Workshop on May 29, 2014, at the LHC's headquarters, which is located at 2415 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The LHC plans to award grant funds at its scheduled Board of Directors Meeting on July 9, 2014.
The program requires that construction be complete by April 15, 2015, with participants completing all grant close-out work before June 15, 2015. For complete information about the competitively-awarded HRP funding, click here.
Elliot Eisenberg
Beijing Balancing 
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Much has recently been made of the notion that China has enough serious structural problems with its economy that chances are good it will experience a "hard landing," defined as economic growth quickly slowing from 7.5% today to the low single digits. This slowdown would weaken commodity prices, hurting developing nations, and reduce Chinese imports of high-quality finished goods from developed nations, also hurting the US, Europe and Japan. While the Chinese economy has problems, many are chronic and I believe the government has sufficient resources to manage the acute ones and avoid a hard landing.

The key problems the Chinese economy suffers from are threefold; a profound overreliance on large trade surpluses, massive government overinvestment in infrastructure and a weak financial system that has resulted in both bad loans made by irresponsible local and regional governments and a highly leveraged and lightly regulated shadow banking system (sound familiar?) that may well implode.

The first problem is fading away. After running trade surpluses in the $45 billion/year range through 2003, they skyrocketed to $400 billion/year by the end of 2008. However, that highpoint coincided with the Great Recession which resulted in a huge contraction in trade and simultaneously an effort by many nations to boost exports to help their domestic economies. As a result, Chinese trade surpluses have averaged about $300 billion/year (about two-thirds of that with the US) since early 2009 and show no discernable upward trend. Moreover, as the Chinese economy is about twice as big today as it was in 2005, the economic impact of the now smaller trade surpluses on the overall economy is much smaller.

The second problem of roads to nowhere, massive over building of plant leading to ruinous excess capacity along with the construction of uninhabited ghost towns is being rectified. And rectified they can be, because these destructive outcomes are the direct result of policies pursued by the central government that are now being overhauled. GDP growth targets are being reduced, artificially low interest rates earned by savers are likely to rise in the near future and the currency, which has been profoundly undervalued, is slowly appreciating. Collectively these policies will curb wasteful overinvestment and slowly replace it with increased domestic consumption and reduced exports.

As for the substantial dodgy debt on the books of local and regional governments and shadow banks due to weakening housing prices and raw land values that act as collateral for many loans, here the problem is serious. That said China's debt is about 25% of GDP, giving the central government ample room to borrow should it be necessary. Moreover, the central government is beginning to force local and regional governments to sell some of the $7 trillion in assets they own in an effort to shore up their financial condition.

Moreover, with $4 trillion in foreign reserves and the ability to weaken the Chinese currency at will to boost exports, China has tools other nations don't have. Lastly, expect Beijing to re-stimulate sagging housing markets by relaxing home-purchase requirements, and local governments to augment this policy by giving residency benefits to out-of-towners to further boost demand. Combining the above with looser monetary policy makes me think that those making key policy decisions, the brightest minds in the nation, will see to it that China comes through this relatively unscathed.

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.

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In This Issue:
Parade of Homes
Fishing Rodeo
Delgado Foundation
Legislative Recap
From Last Month
Online Education Available
Put Your Membership To Work
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Thank You to our E-News Sponsors!    

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HBAGNO offers our members the opportunity to list homes for sale for FREE on the Consumers Page of the HBA website.  

 

Click Here to list your new homes.


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2014 Senior Officers of the Board

President, Brian Mills
Vice President, Roy Olsen
Treasurer, Floyd Simeon
Secretary, Mike LeCorgne
Immediate Past President, Scott Morse

2014 Board of Directors

Steve Albert
John Arms
Fernando Arriola
Stacy Blair
Nick Castjohn
Ric Darling
Charlie Fontenelle
Phil Hoffman
Jo Ann Kostik
Michael Kraft
Pierre "Peter" Lanaux
Ben Laws
Bruce Layburn
Frank Morse
Helmut Mundt
Lynda Nugent Smith
Rolf Parelius
Kimberly Rooney
Zach Tyson
Kirk Williamson
Steve Wobbema
Wes Wyman
Peter Young
HBA Staff Contacts

Jon Luther, Executive Vice President
Lauren Galliano, Director of Membership & Industry Relations   lauren@home-builders.org
Shane Gray, Accountant  shane@home-builders.org
Philip Thomas, Education Director & NOEL Program Director  philip@home-builders.org   

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