Material Cause NAHB members who wish to donate materials or products to help the rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast are encouraged to join the NAHB's industrywide effort to make their donations through Gifts In Kind International.
Gifts In Kind's primary mission is to serve as the donation conduit between for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations. The charity works with companies to donate inventory, which is then matched to a network of more than 200,000 registered charities worldwide. For more information, go to www.giftsinkind.org.
Hoosier Homes For the third quarter of 2005, Indianapolis was the nation's most affordable housing market among major metros with populations over 500,000, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). In Indianapolis, 89.7 percent of new and existing homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $64,000; the median price of homes sold in Indiana's capital was $125,000. The next four major metro areas were Youngstown–Warren, Ohio/Boardman, Pa.; Detroit–Litonia–Dearborn, Mich.; Buffalo–Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Oklahoma City, in that order.
California once again dominated the HOI rankings for the least affordable major metros. In Los Angeles–Long Beach–Glendale, a mere 2.4 percent of homes sold were affordable to those earning the median income of $54,500; the median sales price was $495,000. Behind Los Angeles were Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine; San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos; and Stockton, in that order. New York–White Plains, N.Y./Wayne, N.J., at No. 5, was the only non-California entry on the list of the five least affordable major metros.
Fields of Brown In November, the EPA issued a final ruling that will provide crucial liability protection for those looking to rehabilitate and redevelop brownfields. The rule also establishes a new commercially accepted method for conducting due diligence in all real estate transactions.
The EPA's “all appropriate inquiries” rule spells out the necessary requirements to ensure that a property purchaser cannot be sued for environmental contamination that took place on a property prior to the purchaser's ownership. The new rule seeks to encourage the cleanup and redevelopment of approximately 500,000 abandoned, idled, or underused industrial sites where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/brownfields/regneg.htm.
Legal Action The NAHB has filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the petitioners in two wetlands cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Rapanos v. United States and Carabell v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The issue in both cases concerns whether and when a non-navigable and even man-made feature, such as a ditch or storm-sewer system, can be considered a “navigable water” under the Clean Water Act and thus be subject to federal permitting requirements. The cases will be argued at the high court on Feb. 21.