Sealing the Deal The NAHB and Wells Fargo & Co. are embarking on a three-year relationship that extends and expands an initial package begun in 2004 with title sponsorship of the Housing Market Index and the Housing Opportunity Index.

Among the highlights of the deal:

  • The Housing Market Index—the NAHB's monthly member survey that rates general national economic and housing market conditions—will be expanded to include indexes for each of the four U.S. Census regions and will be named the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
  • Wells Fargo will sponsor and participate in nine NAHB public events each year, including the International Builders' Show, the spring and fall construction forecast conferences, and the NAHB Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Conference.
  • Information from Wells Fargo aimed at helping builders improve their business will appear in the “Business Management Tools” section of the NAHB Web site,
  • Good Habitats In July testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water, Paul Campos, Northern California HBA general counsel and vice president of government affairs, called on Congress to update the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Speaking on behalf of the NAHB, Campos said that Congress should expand landowner incentives under the ESA and provide certainty that Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) and other voluntary species management programs will be excluded from critical habitat designations.

    “Congress can help to further promote HCPs ... by exempting these plans from the duplicative regulations of critical habitat designations. Any incentive to enter into an HCP is lost if the area at issue is also subject to [critical habitat] regulation,” said Campos.

    Campos also said that Congress must codify the “no surprises” rule in order to give “the necessary certainty to continue and even expand [conservation efforts]. ... [T]he ‘no surprises' rule has been subject to litigation in the past, leaving public and private landowners fearful that the federal government can [make] never-ending regulatory and conservation requirements.”

    House Work In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed four bills introduced by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) aimed at easing OSHA burdens on small businesses. The NAHB supports all four bills but highlights two in particular as having a positive impact on the housing industry:

  • H.R. 739, the Occupational Safety and Health Small Business Day in Court Act, allows OSHA to give businesses more than 15 days to respond to a citation.
  • H.R. 742, the Occupational Safety and Health Small Employer Access to Justice Act, makes it easier for companies to recover attorney fees when they successfully defend themselves against a citation.
  • Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) have committed to introducing companion reform measures in the Senate later this year.