March, 2006
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



ASHI and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Form Small Business Alliance

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

The American Society of Home Inspectors and the United States Chamber of Commerce have partnered to provide you with an individual membership in both organizations. Now, your association membership brings more benefits and services than ever before. By maintaining your ASHI membership, you also obtain an individual Federation membership in the U.S. Chamber, the world’s largest business federation.

In this new partnership, ASHI and the U.S. Chamber join together to provide you information on priority issues and industry news. Through this unique opportunity, your interests are protected by two effective organizations at home and in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the ASHI programs and resources you value, the U.S. Chamber offers your business the following:

  • Small business resources: The U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Center provides access to business tools and information, as well as a directory of local, state and federal elected officials. Whether you need a financial toolkit or want to view your representative’s voting record, this is where you’ll find it.

  • uschamber.com Weekly: This e-newsletter, delivered weekly, gives you exclusive access to current news, commentary, tips and tools, and legislative updates specific to your region.

  • uschamber.com Magazine: This monthly publication keeps you alert and up-to-date on legislation that will affect your industry. Whether it’s taxes, energy or transportation, the magazine will tell you what you need to know.

  • Discounts and services: Receive deep discounts from market leaders on a variety of services, from shipping to job posting. The U.S. Chamber and its partners help you save money and increase profits.
ASHI and the U.S. Chamber fight for your interests every day... but we can’t do it alone. Your voice has power on Capitol Hill. On occasion, you will be asked to raise your voice on behalf of small businesses everywhere.

— Rob Paterkiewicz, IOM, CAE, ASHI Executive Director
Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


NAHB Sees Nation's Strong Housing Market 'Simmering Down' in 2006

Following strong growth over the past three years, home sales and housing production will ease back in 2006 to around 2004’s historically healthy levels, according to economists participating in a teleconference hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Striking an overall positive tone, NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders and JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist James Glassman were largely in agreement in their forecasts for 2006 in terms of the outlook for housing and the overall economy.

“We’re looking for a good economy through 2006, with GDP growth remaining strong and with job creation running at roughly the same pace as in 2005—key positive factors in the housing outlook,” said NAHB’s Seiders.

“For housing, it will be a systematic simmering down process toward more sustainable levels of sales, production and price appreciation as opposed to a full-blown cyclical contraction. In terms of single-family sales and starts, we’ll basically be retracing the increases we saw in 2005, heading back to 2004’s very healthy levels.”

Seiders’ forecast envisions overall housing starts reaching 1.94 million units in 2006, which is down from an estimated 2.06 million units in 2005 and very close to 2004’s 1.95 million units. Single-family starts will decline to 1.59 million next year from this year’s 1.71 million units, while sales of new single-family homes will ease to about 1.19 million units from this year’s record-breaking 1.27 million. Likewise, multifamily starts will slip to 350,000 in 2006 from about 354,000 in 2005.

“Multifamily is doing well, with the condo share of the market up to about 50 percent at this point,” Seiders noted. “We think multifamily starts will be pretty stable, with condos losing some market share in the year ahead and the rental side regaining some ground.” Meanwhile, manufactured or “HUD-code” homes can be expected to see a temporary surge, due in part to orders for affordable housing in areas hit by the 2005 hurricanes.

“The remodeling sector in NAHB’s forecast is also showing persistent positive growth during 2006, partly reflecting hurricane-related expenditures. There’s also a huge amount of home equity available for owners to borrow against for home improvements across the country,” said Seiders.

Seiders foresees only a bit more tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve in the coming year, thanks to the expectation that inflationary pressures will be kept in check. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage, recently around 6.3 percent, should inch up gradually to about 6.75 percent by the third quarter of 2006 and average about 6.6 percent for the year as a whole.

The pace of home price appreciation will be cut about in half over the next year, from an estimated average of 10.7 percent for 2005 as a whole (according to the OFHEO house price index for home purchases) to 6.5 percent in 2006 and about 4.4 percent
in 2007.

— National Association of Homebuilders , www.nahb.org



ASHI Business Operations Study Statistic of the Month

Commercial inspections seem to be hotter in some parts of the country than in others. The average inspector conducts 189.6 commercial inspections. The low is U.S. South Central with 157.2 and the high is U.S. Eastern with 221.6. (See chart 15 on page 3 of the Business Operations Study.)

If you don’t have  a copy of the study, click here to order. The cost is $89.95 for ASHI members and $139.95 for non-members, plus shipping. (Illinois
residents pay applicable tax.)

Results based on responses of 2,483 inspectors throughout North America.The margin of error is +/- 5%. Survey conducted on behalf of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in partnership with Pillar to Post, HORIZON by Carson Dunlop, HomeGauge and 3D Inspection System.