A new generation of NAHB communications begins today
with this edition of the Monday Morning Briefing Letter. Regular readers will certainly notice our new look and style -- we hope you like it, because there's much more to come.

Of course, there's more than a facelift at work here. One of Gary's first directives as NAHB President was to improve association-wide communications in order to better align our messages, develop a recognizable NAHB brand and maximize our ability to reach intended audiences. After months of work behind the scenes, this report gives you an idea of where we're headed. Our new web-based format should automatically conform to your browser's specifications. If your Internet browser does not support the new format, you'll be receiving a text-only version. The new system will allow us to vastly expand this report's readership and make it much easier for you to access other free NAHB publications. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for Gary's communications update at the Fall Board meeting in Anchorage.

At the President's Economic Forum
in Waco, Texas, last week, Gary participated in a special session led by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and personally attended by President Bush. Representing the only housing association invited to the forum, Gary welcomed the President's acknowledgment of housing's essential role in the economy. We also agreed with the President's assertion that the death tax should be permanently rescinded, and were glad that Bush focused attention on the ongoing insurance crisis. In remarks covered by C-SPAN, Gary highlighted the positive contributions housing continues to make to the emerging economic recovery and job growth. To get more on NAHB's involvement in the President's Economic Forum, call Kevin Schwalbe at 800-368-5242, ext. 8486. [return to top]

Getting more builders on state housing finance agency boards
is a major goal of NAHB because these agencies are charged with administering many federal housing programs, including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. In a meeting attended by NAHB First Vice President C. Kent Conine and members last week in Montana, builders focused on ways to ensure that the for-profit sector has a seat, or seats, at the table. The meeting occurred just prior to an annual gathering of state housing finance agency (HFA) directors, in which Kent, as chairman of the Texas HFA, was to participate. For more, contact David Ledford at 800-368-5242, ext. 8265. [return to top]

Home builders are adjusting their expectations a bit lower
on the heels of record-breaking home sales this summer. NAHB's monthly gauge of builder confidence, known as the Housing Market Index (HMI), declined four points to 57 in August. This was the lowest index reading since the end of 2001. But it's important to keep things in perspective here. The fact is that builders remain justifiably confident in a market in which buyer demand is being bolstered by historically low interest rates on home mortgages. But rather than going gangbusters, market conditions are simply healthy and stable at this time. Keep in mind that we fully expect new-home sales to surpass all previous records this year. [return to top]

Housing starts slipped, but permits stayed steady
in July, according to government numbers released Aug. 16. In line with expectations, starts slowed 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million units. But don't worry. This is exactly on pace with the number of starts that NAHB is forecasting for all of 2002, and if we're right, it would be the best year for housing production since 1986! On the single-family side, starts fell 2.2 percent to a rate of 1.32 million, while multifamily starts declined 4.7 percent to 328,000. A sign of strength: building permits held steady last month at 1.7 million units, with three out of four regions posting gains. [return to top]

Coming up... Leadership Training Conference, Builders' Show

  • NAHB has upped the ante for the upcoming Leadership Training and Development Conference in Nashua, N.H. on Sept. 12-13. Call it the "3 for 2" deal. In other words: sign up with two friends, and your registration is free! Call Jeff Lambert at ext. 8417.

  • Looking forward to the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas this January? Go online first to get information about educational seminars or committee meeting schedules. Don't forget to register and book hotel accommodations before Oct. 18 to be housed with your state/local HBA. Go to www.BuildersShow.com or call NAHB Conventions and Meetings at ext. 8111.

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August 19, 2002

By F. Gary Garczynski
NAHB President and
Jerry Howard
NAHB Executive VP and CEO
 
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