March 4, 2012

"The Value of NAHB Membership"

Association Maximization is honored to have as today's guest blogger NAHB's  Jerry Howard. During the recent NAHB board of directors meeting, held at the 2012 International Builders Show in Orlando, Jerry gave an overview of the monies saved by NAHB builder members. If builders can save money, it helps them become more profitable which in turn leads to more homes being built or renovated, giving associates more opportunities to gain business. We talk about the value of advocacy in helping our industry and now we look at the value of membership as it pertains to overall business.This is yet another example of the meaning of the statement "if it affects builders it will affect associates." 

"The Value of NAHB Membership"
by Jerry Howard,
Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Home Builders

As CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, I am often asked by NAHB members and non-members alike to explain the value of membership. I like to go right to the numbers on the bottom line of the ledger to explain how NAHB’s advocacy efforts save money for its builder members.

Of course, membership in NAHB is about a lot more than just dollars and cents. It’s about networking and industry-specific education programs that are not available anywhere else. It’s difficult to put a dollar value on benefits like that.

But we can put a dollar value on advocacy. And it’s a very big number: $5.7 billion. That’s billion, with a “B.”

NAHB’s advocacy efforts in 2011 on Capitol Hill and with regulatory agencies will provide members with $5.7 billion in either reduced costs or increased revenues this year. Those savings fall into eight broad categories:

·         FHA loan limits
·         Environmental Protection Agency actions
·         Building codes
·         OSHA
·         Building materials
·         The tax code
·         HUD multifamily programs
·         Fish and Wildlife Service

Below are a few examples of these savings.

Restoration of Higher FHA Loan Limits. The best example is the reinstatement of FHA loan limits. This represents the largest share of savings for builders – $1.9 billion. In late 2011, Congress allowed higher FHA loan limits that were in effect in 2010 and 2011 to expire. Later, after an intense campaign by NAHB, the higher FHA loan limits were reinstated. Home builders would have lost more than 6,000 new home sales this year if the higher loan limits had not been reinstated. From this and other aspects of the reinstated loan limits, NAHB’s efforts saved builders just over $1.9 billion.

Environmental Protection Agency. The next largest savings – $1.4 billion – are the result of NAHB’s actions related to regulations and requirements imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Following regulatory and legal challenges by NAHB, the Environmental Protection Agency admitted that the government did not have sufficient data to support a numeric limit for stormwater discharges. EPA then withdrew its proposed numeric limit, an action that will save builders $1.2 billion this year.

A different EPA action affecting remodeling will save $240 million this year. EPA proposed a requirement that a third-party test for lead be conducted following professional remodeling of homes built before 1978. NAHB argued that EPA had already imposed a regulation that all professional remodelers must be trained in lead abatement procedures, so the “swipe test” requirement was unnecessary. Moreover, the higher costs associated with the test would cause some people who would otherwise use the services of a professional trained in lead paint remediation to do the work themselves or hire an UNcertified contractor. In response to NAHB’s concerns, EPA later withdrew the proposal. At $260 per room, requiring the test would have cost professional remodelers $240 million this year.

Tax Code. The expanded 1099 reporting requirement in the tax code would have required companies to file a 1099 form for every corporate purchase over $600. NAHB strongly objected to the reporting requirement, and it was removed, saving members $140 million. 

Advocacy and Other Benefits

The examples above represent just three out of the many ways that NAHB’s advocacy efforts provided tangible savings for members.

There’s no question that $5.7 billion is a very impressive number. But that really is just a fraction of the value that NAHB provides. Members tell us time and again that the three things they value most from NAHB are advocacy, education and networking opportunities.

NAHB’s wide array of local, state and national events provide excellent networking opportunities for builder members and associate members. Likewise, our highly-regarded educational programs are offered by local associations, at events like the Green Building Conference, at the International Builders’ Show and – increasingly – on the Internet. And then there is the value of being able to call the EO at our local or state association – or talking to staff in Washington – to get answers to the questions that keep us awake at night.

The bottom line is that NAHB membership is an excellent value for builders and associates alike. At every level – from the local HBA to the state HBA to NAHB headquarters in Washington – helping members stay in business and thrive is our top priority.

We have 240 staff working on members’ behalf developing educational programs, creating networking opportunities and representing members’ interests in very challenging legislative and regulatory arenas.  NAHB’s 80-person advocacy staff includes lobbyists, lawyers, regulatory professionals, economists and public affairs specialists delivering value to members every day.

The $150 of membership dues that goes to NAHB purchases $5.7 billion for the housing industry.

That’s good for your bottom line, and a nice return on your investment.

Note: Jerry Howard has over 25 years of association experience and a lifetime in the housing industry.  Jerry began his association career at the National Association of Realtors, where he served as a Legislative Analyst for tax issues. Prior to joining NAHB, Jerry served as the Chief Lobbyist for the National Council of State Housing Agencies where he was instrumental in the development of the low-income housing tax credit as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Jerry came to NAHB as tax counsel in 1988 and served in a variety of roles, including Chief Lobbyist. Jerry was promoted to Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer in February 2001. Before embarking on his association career, Jerry practiced real estate law in his home state of South Carolina. His exposure to the housing industry has literally encompassed a lifetime; Jerry grew up working in a variety of roles for his father, a developer.Jerry earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He, his wife Christina and their children Eirann, Meaghan and Sean live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C

Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

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