June 2019 Building Connections

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T H E E - M AGAZ I N E O F T H E H B RA O F FA I R F I E L D CO U N TY - J U N E 2 0 1 9




HBRA Golf Outing Lifestyle Living Panel PWB Social

June GMM PWB Meeting Millennial Insights

mynpp.com NAHB Benefits MunnCo

T H E E - M AG A Z I N E O F T H E H B R A O F FA I R F I E L D CO U N TY Building Connections is a monthly digital magazine produced and published by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County. Inside you will find the latest association news, legislative updates, upcoming events, and featured articles about the industry.

Editorial Staff

Find Us On Social Media

Jackie Bertolone Executive Officer Sarah Iannarone Membership & Events Coordinator Clare Michalak Marketing & Graphics Coordinator

hbra@buildfairfieldcounty.com www.buildfairfieldcounty.com



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IN THIS ISSUE HBRA NEWS • Letter from the HBRA Board President p. 5 • Message from the Executive Officer p. 7 • HOBI Applications Available p. 8 • Upcoming Events p. 9 • June GMM p. 14 • Golf Registration and Sponsorships p. 10 • New England Home Lifestyle Living Panel p. 11 • Builder Roundtable p. 14 • NAHB Spike Awards p. 16 • PWB Meeting p. 16 • New Members p. 20 • HBRA Job Bank Update p. 22 • Advice Column p. 36 • Member Benefits p. 38

BUILDER NEWS • Safety Tips to Beat the HeaT • Gas Vs Electric • Attracting Young Talent to Construction

p. 24 p. 25 p. 25

NAHB NEWS • Statement on HUD Grant • Builders Call on Congress to Address Affordability • Builders Shine Spotlight on Affordability • NAHB Unveils Resources to Address OpioId Crisis • NAHB Fund Grants to Help Member Litigation • We Need More Housing. Local Governments In The Way • Rent Control Legislation Heats Up • Housing Starts Relatively Flat

p. 26 p. 26 p. 26 p. 27 p. 27 p. 28 p. 28 p. 28

MILLENNIAL INSIGHTS • Buying A Home May Finally Be In Reach • Millennials Net Worth Is Shockingly Low • 9 Facts that Shape the Millennial Housing Market

p. 30 p. 30 p. 30

STATE NEWS • Tough Session For Small Business • High Taxes Hurt Small Business Climate • Unenthusiastic Response to Tolls Reboot • A Connecticut Tax Story • Budget Relies on Tax Receipts Beyond Projections • Housing Permit Data 2018 • Updates from the State CEO • Make Connecticut More Accomodating

p. 32 p. 32 p. 33 p. 33 p. 33 p. 34 p. 35 p. 36

ON THE COVER Photography By: Lisa Valerie Photography https://www.lisavaleriephotography.com

Advertisers: Pella Windows and Doors DiMatteo Insurance Ridgefield Supply Ed’s Garage Door County TV & Appliance Interstate Lumber Fairfield County Bank CET Huber Engineered Woods Marlin Electric United Bank Acadia Insurance Tooher Ferraris CTC&G New England Home Ring’s End

p. 6 p. 12 p. 13 p. 17 p. 19 p. 21 p. 22 p. 23 p. 24 p. 25 p. 27 p. 29 p. 31 p. 37 p. 39 p. 41


2018-19 OFFICERS


President Anthony DeRosa DeRosa Builders

Sr. Vice-President Kim DiMatteo DiMatteo Insurance

Vice President John Hertz

Hertz Construction

Secretary Rob Michaud


The Michaud Group

Immediate Past President Chris Steiner Steiner, Inc.



Propane Pete Battaglio Hocon Gas

Max Bender Bender Supply

Steve Berko

Four Square Build & Design

Michael Church

William Pitt Sotheby’s


Ken DeLeo

Doherty & DeLeo

Brian Kurtz

Interstate Lumber

Steve LoParco

LoParco Associates, Inc.

Steven Roth

Elevator Service Company

Alex Shook


Pella Commercial

Michael Wood Wood Builders

LIFE DIRECTORS Joanne Carroll JMC Resources

Michael Palumbo ERI Building & Design

Jerry Effren The Greyrock Companies

Peter Gaboriault Bear Paw Builders

Gary Fanali City Carting

Terrence Beaty William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty

Peter Fusaro Preferred Builders


Thank you to the following VIP Associate Members for their support in 2019. Due to their generosity the Association greatly benefits - from developing new events and educational opportunities for the membership, to keeping our lights on!

MESSAGE FROM THE HBRA PRESIDENT Welcome Summer: Summer is upon us and for most of those in our industry that means it’s time to get moving! Projects we had been planning for the past several months are in full swing. It was a great year to join our association and 60+ companies and counting have done just that. This past spring, we held a membership drive that brought in 53 members alone. Membership is on the rise at a significant rate and I for one am not surprised. Our association is providing a lot of value in many ways to members. This year we are averaging over 130 industry professionals at each event we hold. The events themselves are nothing short of fantastic: they include education, networking, great food and exciting venues. During these meetings, our members are discussing working together and improving our industry. Our members are pushing through and providing results and knowledge to their clients with the help of the resources obtained at HBRA events. Builders are attending more events as we are seeing added value to our membership with education and forums. Architect attendance is also on the rise as they continue to find value within this organization. The Professional Women in Building council has been a catalyst for many of our members and is getting noticed by the National Association of Home Builders. 59 women from different professions within the industry have joined the council and they are providing each other with insight and knowledge every month, which has helped many grow their respective businesses. This council will continue to grow, do not miss out on joining. Nicely stated, our state is not in the best of fiscal times but it does not mean we cannot prosper and grow. My mother always told me “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”--getting yourself and your company involved is the first step. By learning from one another we are finding new ways to success, new ways to achieve our goals and we are growing our network. In my eyes, the industry relationships developed through the HBRA are the best way to success. We are looking forward to the fall meetings and wish everyone a prosperous summer! Anthony DeRosa DeRosa Builders JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 5

6 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dear MembersHappy Summer! What a great first 6 months of 2019 for the HBRA of Fairfield County! Some highlights by the numbers: • 63 new companies joined the HBRA • 25 affiliate members joined • 59 total members of the Professional Women in Building Council We held 6 educational seminars and 5 GMM events with attendance ranging from 80 at our JM Wright Technical High School Breakfast to 165 at our Two Roads Brewery Member Mixer. The HBRA presented a brand new panel event, Beyond the Blueprint, as a way to celebrate HOBI Award winning builder members. And our most recent event at Ring’s End in Darien featured a perfect summer night with great vendors and delicious food trucks. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors and members who dedicate their time to keep this association growing and evolving. We look forward to another six months with new events, new faces and providing our members with education and valuable business networking. And get out your calendars to save the important dates for fall: -September 11th -October 2nd -November 6th -December 11th - AWARDS DINNER See you at the Golf Classic on July 22! All the best, Jackie L. Bertolone

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2019 Connecticut HOBI Awards Application The prestigious HOBIs or Home Building Industry Awards showcase the best products and services offered by all Connecticut HBRA members in many categories. With over 800 attendees last year, the HOBI Awards night recognizes the best in building in Connecticut.

November 20, 2019

Aqua Turf Club 556 Mulberry Street, Plantsville, CT 06479 5:30 pm - 9:30pm

Eligibility In order to be eligible for state-wide recognition, you must be a current member of one of the local HBRA’s. Please make sure your membership is up to date and finalize any past due invoices. If you have any questions please contact Joanne Carroll at (203) 453-5420 or joanne@jmcresources.com

Click here for application

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Luxury Living Panel July 10, 2019 Click here to register

HBRA Annual Golf Classic July 22, 2019 Click Here to Register Click Here for Sponsorships

September GMM September 11, 2019 Penfield Pavilion at Fairfield Beach Save the Date




The annual awards night celebrating and recognizing members of the HBRA of Fairfield County. Previously held in June.

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Tashua Knolls Golf Course 40 Tashua Knolls Lane Trumbull CT 06611

Available Sponsorships Caddy Shack Station: $2,000 Closest to the Line (9-Hole): $250 Tee Sponsors: $250 Tee Sponsors 9 Hole: $150 Pin Sponsor - $100 Add on for tee sponsor

Raffle Prizes Two Tournaments:

18 Hole – SOLD OUT 9 Hole – OPEN Cocktail Hour – 4:00 - 5:00PM Dinner – 5:00PM Golfer Registration - 9 Hole $150 each - $600 foursome Dinner Only Registrations $60 per person includes cocktail hour, dinner, awards, and raffles.

Click here to register for golf Click for Dinner - Only

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Don’t miss an opportunity to showcase your products and business by donating an exciting raffle prize. Donate your own Raffle Prize Craft Beer Basket Raffle Prize: $250 Wine Basket Raffle Prize: $250

Click here for sponsorship information

Volunteers The HBRA is looking for volunteers on July 22nd. Please contact us if you are willing to help.

New England Home Connecticut’s Luxury Living Talks Presents: Redefining the Luxury Lifestyle: Can Connecticut Adapt

Wednesday, July 10 | 6:00–8:00 PM “Luxury home” used to mean a secluded estate with a sprawling lawn and tons of square footage. But for today’s high-income homebuyers, a desirable lifestyle increasingly means a hassle-free commute, easy access to activities, minimal maintenance, and innovative technologies designed to enhance a life on the go. Developers are responding to this demand with exclusive communities across the country. But is Connecticut ready for this trend? Join New England Home and Connecticut Stone in partnership with HBRA of Fairfield County and AIA Connecticut in a conversation with the region’s top building and design professionals to learn where and how high-end residential is being redefined— and realized—right here at home.

Connecticut Stone 138 Woodmont Road Milford, CT 06460 Panelists:

Arnold Karp Builder

Beth Krupa Designer

Rich Granoff Architect

Seth Greenwald Real Estate Developer

JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 11



12 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

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For more information, visit andersenwindows.com

29 Prospect Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877-0519

203-438-2626 www.ridgefieldsupply.com


June General Membership Meeting The HBRA’s Elite VIP Partner, Ring’s End, hosted our June GMM at their Darien location with food trucks and vendors. Members were able to enjoy a summer night outside networking and learning about new products. The first 100 guests also received custom YETI wine tumblers. The Green Pizza Truck and Lobster Cousin’s lobster rolls were a huge hit with the 150 person crowd and Bumskis provided everyone a fun selection of beverages. Multiple vendors were on display including the Prove It Truck by Huber Engineered Woods, Marvin, Benjamin Moore, Upstate Door, Fiberon Composite Decking and INTEX Millwork Solutions. At this meeting the HBRA Board of Directors were also sworn in for another term and Anthony DeRosa, of DeRosa Builders, was sworn in for his second and final year as president of this association. The program ended with Ring’s End raffling off two YETI coolers and a Weber Grill. Congratulations to the winners: Doug Horn, Catalina Redwood & Robin Carroll. Thanks to all the members and guests who attended our June GMM and to Ring’s End for their continued partnership with our association.

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NAHB SPIKE AWARDS The June GMM featured a presentation of our latest SPIKE Award winners who were in attendance. The full is of June Spike winners are below: • Mindy Gerhardt – 1st Spike • Bob Sprouls – 1st Spike • Peter Sciarretta – 1st Spike • Ed Rekos - 1st spike • Richard Rosano- 1st spike • Chris Steiner – Gold Spike (28 points) • Anthony DeRosa – Green Spike (50 points) • Tony Calistro – Green Spike (50 points) • Peter Gaboriault – Life Spike Spike points are given to members who recruit others to join our association and more points for their longevity when those same members renew. NAHB provides Spike winners with VIP access at the Spike Concert at the conclusion of IBS. Credits • 1 credit for Builder or Associate recruitment • 1 retention credit for 1st year renewal • ½ retention credit for each year thereafter • ½ credit for Council member recruitment & retention • ½ credit for Affiliate member recruitment & retention Top Spike Points from Current Members OverallCarroll, Joanne

JMC Resources LLC


DiMatteo, Kim Marie

DiMatteo Insurance


Steiner, Richard

Steiner Inc


Effren, Jerry

The Greyrock Companies


Tatangelo, Glenn R

Love Where You Live Homes LLC


Fanali, Gary

Complete Dismantling


Redniss, Richard

Redniss & Mead


Palumbo, Michael

ERI Building & Design, LLC


Calistro, Tony

Ring's End, Inc


DeRosa, Anthony



Battaglio, Peter

Hocon Gas, Inc.


Gaboriault, Peter

Bear Paw Builders Inc


Sweeney, James B

Hometronics Lifestyles


Kahan, Sheldon

Interstate + Lakeland Lumber


Bradbury, Karen

Closet and Storage Concepts


Rogers, Jonathan

JD Rogers Development, LLC


Steiner, Chris

Steiner Inc


16 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019


12.11.19 H B R A A N N U A L AWA R D S Honoring HBRA of Fairfield County Members

B E A U T Y. ELEGANCE. STRENGTH. Our Aluminum Doors Will Surprise You. Ed’s Garage Doors offers a broad selection of aluminum doors that are the perfect complement to your home. Visit our showroom to see many exclusive aluminum doors on display, and talk with a design expert about our countless in-stock and custom options.

Showroom Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Saturday: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Evenings: Sunday:

By appointment Closed 136 Water Street, Norwalk, CT 06854 203-847-1284 edsgaragedoors.com


JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 17

HBRA NEWS Professional Women in Building Council Meeting The June 20th PWB meeting was held at TORRCO Design Center in Fairfield, CT. Thirty-six women attended this meeting to see the beautiful showroom, network and listen to an insightful presentation from Susan B. Vogel. Her message was focused around implementing difficult change and getting “unstuck�. After a Q&A, PWB members were able to talk over refreshments and breakfast courtesy of our gracious hosts. There are currently 59 Professional Women in Building Council members. If you are interested in attending a PWB meeting or joining, please contact the office. Visit our website for more information. www.buildfairfieldcounty.com/ pwb The group is also hosting an informal summer social on July 11.

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From From Kitchen Kitchen Appliances Appliances to Home to Home Automation... Automation... WE WE HAVE HAVE IT ALL! IT ALL!


www.countytv.com www.countytv.com

27702770 Summer Summer Street Street • Stamford, • Stamford, CT 06905 CT 06905 • 203-327-2630 • 203-327-2630

JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 19



Paige Baldwin

The Real Estate Collaborative (TREC) is a privately-held real estate investment group based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Founded in 2011 by Jennifer Roach as Indian Chase Partners, LLC., the mission of the company was to create value and long-term growth with each acquisition. TREC’s diverse portfolio ranges from rental units to farmland, and the company’s conservative yet aggressive, no-leverage approach has seen 50%–80% market value growth... READ MORE

Affordable Handyman of Greenwich Jobson Chrisostomo

Servicing Westchester and Fairfield counties since 2010, Affordable Handyman of Greenwich LLC provides a wide scope of handyman, carpentry and paint services. We are licensed and fully insured in NY and CT.... READ MORE

Center for EcoTechnology Freya Bromwich

The Center for EcoTechnology helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste. We work with partners throughout the country to address climate change by transforming the way we live and work – for a better community, economy, and environment. For more than 40 years, our innovative non-profit organization has offered practical solutions to save money, increase the health and comfort of our homes, and help businesses perform better. We make green make sense.... READ MORE

Green Home Solutions Frank Egan

Russ Weldon founded Green Home Solutions and serves as the Chief Cultural Officer and Visionary of our indoor air quality company. With an entrepreneurial drive, Russ has been starting successful businesses since his teens. After selling his 450-store franchise in 2012, he was looking for a new opportunity. Green Home Solutions grew out of his desire to provide products that keep homes free from mold.... READ MORE

Culligan Water John G. Brosz

We have been Culligan Men and Women serving the New England Region for over 80 years. So whether you are looking for a water softener in New England or a drinking water system anywhere in the New England Region, give us a call at (855) 439-2855... READ MORE

20 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

HBRA NEW MEMBERS Total Household Inc. Jeffrey LaCava

At TotalHousehold PRO we know digital marketing - and we know how much time you need to do it right. Whether you’re a general contractor, home builder, HVAC professional, painter, landscaper or pool specialist, providing top quality services for customers often leaves little time for day-to-day business management... READ MORE


Zebra Plumbing Christopher Busk

Welcome our new affiliates

First County Bank Justyna Nurczyk

JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 21


NOW HIRING Glegate is hiring for the following positions: Landscape Designer Landscape Project Manager Property Care Account Manager Property Care Production Manager


Financing some of the top builders in Fairfield County.

People you trust, service you expect, and products to fit your financial needs. • Construction Financing • Commercial Mortgages • Term Loans • Revolving Lines of Credit

877.431.7431 • www.fairfieldcountybank.com 22 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

NMLS ID #516624






DONATE FOR REUSE! NOW HIRING DJA Imports is hiring for the following positions: Full Time/Part Time/Flex Customer Care Representative – Order Management Social Media/Brand Associate Office Assistant


Free Site Visit & Pick Up Tax-Deductible Receipt Personalized Donor Support For more information contact:


Freya Bromwich | 718.635.1312 freya.bromwich@cetonline.org Recovery & Donations Specialist

REDUCE DISPOSAL COSTS! Free Site Visit & Pick Up Tax-Deductible Receipt Personalized Donor Support

EcoBuilding Bargains


BARGAINS 83 Warwick Street, Springfield, MA Serving Southern New England

JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 23

BUILDER NEWS 3 Summer Worker Safety Tips to Beat the Heat According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more injuries occur during the summer months than at other times of the year. Seasonal factors ranging from more direct sunlight to higher temperatures can—and usually do—impact the working conditions in industrial settings. Just consider the potential effects of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety goggles, and dehydration. Yet many heat-related illnesses and injuries that lead to workers’ compensation claims are preventable. Here are some tips to keep your workers and workplace safe: Read More

IT’S NOT A TREND. IT’S A REVOLUTION. Visit ZIPRevolution.com to learn how easy it is to make the switch.

© 2017-2019 Huber Engineered Woods LLC. ZIP System, the accompanying ZIP System logo and design are trademarks of Huber Engineered Woods LLC. Huber Engineered Woods’ ZIP System® products are covered by various patents. Please see ZIPSystem.com/patents for details. HUB 81860 REV 1/19

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BUILDER NEWS The Battle Of The Home Energy Sources: Gas Vs. Electric In homes designed for those on modest budgets, the choice of electric or gas cooktops, heating systems, hot water heaters, and other appliances is typically driven by cost, availability, and reliability, but efficiency, sustainability, and customer preference are other considerations. While production builders usually rely on subcontractors or local market conditions to determine the best choice of fuel for their new homes, consumer demand is changing and more buyers are voicing a preference. This makes it important for builders and their salespeople to stay on top of the new technologies and developments in both gas- and electric-fueled appliances and HVAC systems. (Click here for a sampling of these new developments.) On a practical, functional level, there are pros and cons to each energy source. From a cost standpoint, the price of natural gas is generally lower than electricity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2019,” natural gas prices will be low through 2050, and power plants will continue take advantage of these historically low prices to switch from coal to natural gas for generating electricity. available in rural parts of the country.

Attracting Young Fresh Talent to Construction Guilherme Alves Jr. has a serious problem. While the 47-yearold owner and operator of Lakeside Concrete Enterprise in Williamsburg, Virginia, has plenty of work (his phone rings nonstop), he can’t find enough help. “The hardest part of my business is finding laborers,” said Alves. “I’ll get some guys who show up on the first day and quit after a few hours because it’s too tough.” Read More

Read More

JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 25

NAHB NEWS Statement from NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde on Association Receiving HUD Grant Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn., issued the following statement after NAHB received a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fight housing discrimination:

Nearly 700 Builders Shine a Spotlight on Housing Affordability in Hill Visits

Nearly 700 builders from across the nation converged on Capitol Hill today for the “NAHB is pleased to be working with HUD to fight accessibility National Association of Home discrimination against persons with disabilities under the federal Fair Builders (NAHB) 2019 Legislative Housing Act. The $110,000 grant awarded to our association will be used Conference to urge their to educate developers and multifamily building owners and managers lawmakers to support policies on the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements. Specifically, we will that will increase the production develop educational tools to help reduce the number of non-compliant of quality, affordable housing and structures and enhance accessibility for those in need.” keep the housing recovery moving Read More forward.

Builders Call on Congress to Address Housing Affordability Challenges As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, builders are urging Congress to address America’s housing affordability challenges. “Removing regulatory barriers that contribute to the increased costs of housing will pave the way to homeownership,” said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Greg Ugalde, a builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Home builders and the residential construction community are committed to working with Congress to ensure homeownership is within reach of hard working families.” Rising costs from excessive regulation, a shortage of construction workers, tariffs on $10 billion worth of building materials, and housing finance concerns have detrimental effects on housing affordability. NAHB analysis shows that regulatory requirements alone account for 25 percent of the price of a single-family home, and 30 percent of the cost of a multifamily development. Even with lower mortgage interest rates, housing affordability is relatively the same as it was a year ago. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index found only 61% of new and existing homes were affordable to a typical household. The current homeownership rate (64.2 percent) remains below the 25-year average rate (66.3 percent), according to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS). More than half (53 percent) of buyers actively searching for a home in the first quarter of 2019 have been looking for three months or longer, according to NAHB’s Housing Trends Report (HTR). Read More 26 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

“With housing affordability near a 10-year low, we are sending a loud and clear message to members of Congress that there is an urgent need to implement innovative solutions to ease the nation’s affordability woes and enable more families to achieve homeownership or have access to suitable rental housing,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. In nearly 300 individual meetings with their representatives and senators, builders discussed the following key housing issues: Read More

NAHB NEWS NAHB Unveils Resources for Home Builders to Address Opioid Crisis

NAHB Legal Action Fund Awards Grants to Help Member Litigation

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) rolled new resources, “Opioids in the Home Building Industry: Making it Your Business,” to help residential construction companies address the opioid crisis facing the home building industry. People who work in construction are significantly more likely to become addicted to opioids, like prescription painkillers, than other workers in the general population and are six times more likely to die as a result of overdose. In addition to the health and well-being of the employee, the impact on a business can be significant and includes loss of productivity, healthcare expenses, absenteeism, turnover and much more. “Opioid addiction is our nation’s leading public health crisis, and it affects people across all socioeconomic classes, races, genders and jobs, and the home building industry is no exception,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “NAHB is pleased to provide resources and possible solutions to this issue affecting so many lives.” Read More

The Legal Action Committee announced the recipients of its latest round of legal aid grants at the NAHB Spring Leadership Meeting earlier this month in Washington, D.C.. For more than 40 years, the NAHB Legal Action Committee, formerly the Legal Defense Study Committee, has helped builder and developer members, as well as local and state HBAs, defray litigation costs on issues that are common to the industry and that may carry nationwide impact. Read More

Personal Banking Mortgages Commercial Banking Personal and business solutions for your life. As a community bank, United Bank is dedicated to helping you reach your goals. So whether you’re looking to save money, manage your business finances, buy a new home, or save for retirement, you can count on us to provide the solutions and service you need. To learn more about our full line of personal, mortgage, and commercial banking services, talk to us today.


Call 866.959.BANK (2265)

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JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 27

NAHB NEWS We need more housing. Local governments are Housing Starts standing in the way. Relatively Flat More than a decade ago, the United States experienced what many Off of Strength in economists consider the most serious financial and economic crisis Multifamily Sector since the Great Depression. The bursting of the housing bubble in 2007 exacerbated the already rising default rates on subprime and adjustable-rate mortgages and ushered in a collapse of the financial markets in 2008. Some people lost their homes, their life savings or their livelihoods; some lost everything. Despite our country’s slow emergence from the Great Recession’s hangover, we remain in the midst of a dire housing crisis. The crisis of today is one of relative simplicity compared with 2008, but, despite its simplicity, it has become so entrenched in our nation’s “housing culture” that it has persisted unaddressed, but not unnoticed, for decades and could arguably have greater short-term and long-term impacts on our local, regional, state and national economies, if left alone: Over the past several decades, locally enacted barriers to the construction of for-sale and rental housing have intensified to the point that our communities continue to have a drastic shortage of housing at a diversity of price points. Read More

Rent Control Legislation Heats Up Amid Affordability Concerns Rents for apartments and single-family homes are rising nearly as fast as home prices. As already high rents climb higher, frustrated renters may move further away from employment centers or look for smaller apartments. But that doesn’t solve the larger problems of low supply for a growing number of renters and would-be renters choosing to remain in their parents’ homes. Exacerbating the issue is increased legislative interest in rent control — which, rather than addressing affordable housing issues, often creates more challenges, including reduced supply of available units and reduced income to states and municipalities because of slowed or halted development. Last year in California, a statewide rent control initiative was narrowly defeated, but the issue remains on the legislative agenda. And many additional cities and states are exploring legislation in this arena as an intended affordable housing solution. Read More

Total housing starts declined 0.9% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.27 million units from an upwardly revised reading in April, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department. The May reading of 1.27 million is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts fell 6.4% to 820,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 10.9% to a 449,000 pace. “The rise in single-family permits echoes the stabilization we are seeing in our builder confidence survey,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde. “While the increase in permits is a positive sign for the housing market, there are still affordability concerns throughout the country, especially in high-cost areas.” “The decline in single-family starts is off a solid upward revision in April,” said Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington, NAHB associate vice president of forecasting and analysis. “This is another indicator that ongoing builder supply-side concerns are making it more difficult to build homes at affordable price points. We expect single-family housing starts to remain flat through 2019.” Read More

28 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

Connecticut Home Builders & Remodelers Program

AN INSURANCE PROGRAM CUSTOM DESIGNED FOR YOUR BUSINESS Acadia Insurance is proud to be the endorsed property and casualty insurance carrier for the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut. As a leading provider of insurance for contractors throughout New England, Acadia Insurance understands the insurance and service needs of contractors from small to large. With a local office in Rocky Hill, Acadia Insurance has professionals that handle underwriting, claim, loss control and premium audit for its Connecticut customers. Acadia is working with a select number of its Independent Agents in offering this program to Connecticut’s Home Builders and Remodelers.

The Right Policy for Your Business Acadia Insurance offers qualifying contractors a full array of necessary coverages including property, general liability, workers’ compensation, business automobile and umbrella. In addition, we can provide builders’ risk coverage, installation floater and equipment coverage.

✓ We have designed special coverage options just for home builders: Liability Coverage Enhancements:

Property Coverage Enhancements:

• Waiver of subrogation clause

• Coverage for newly acquired property

• Limited pollution coverage

• Coverage for property while in-transit

• Extended property damage coverage

• Debris removal coverage

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JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 29

M I L L E N N I A L I N S I G H TS Many millennials say buying a home may finally be within reach Samantha Suckno says she knew she wanted to start to build a life with her soon-to-be husband in a home they owned. So she and her fiance, Jason Ortiz, came up with a plan: move into a rental property together, pay down their bills and start saving. The couple also cut back on traveling. “The money I was using to pay for my own rent was basically going into paying off credit card debt,” the 31-year-old said, noting that when she was on her own she “had been living paycheck to paycheck.” Suckno and Ortiz, 37, were married in February 2018. In July, they bought their first home together in Rockaway, New Jersey. Their decision to make the leap into homeownership may be part of a growing trend. A new study by Chase Home Lending found 52% of millennial firsttime homebuyers feel financially ready to buy a home. And 70% said they are willing to cut back on extra-curricular activities, like shopping, movie-going and a spa visit, once a month to make it happen. The bank surveyed 1,000 first-time U.S. homebuyers, ages 22 to 38, in March. Read More

The Average Millennial’s Net Worth Is Shockingly Low When we think of millennials, we often picture flannel-clad hipsters sipping overpriced coffee, bemoaning their overly difficult lives. In reality, though, millennials do have it rough, and their net worth reflects that struggle. The average net worth of Americans aged 18 to 35 is less than $8,000, according to a new Deloitte study. The reason, however, very much boils down to increased costs over the past decade. Take college, for example. Higher-education costs rose 65% over the last 10 years, and as such, student debt levels increased by 160% between 2004 and 2017. Millennials, of course, were hit hardest by this trend, as they were the ones attending college during that time. But it’s not just higher education that’s gone up. Housing, healthcare, and many other essential expenses have also increased, effectively forcing millennials to spend more and save less. Another reason millennials are having a hard time building wealth? They’re putting off homeownership, partly because of rising property costs, and partly because they’re so saddled with student debt they can’t imagine swinging their monthly loan payments and a mortgage simultaneously. Read More 30 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

9 Facts That Shape The Millennial Housing Market The housing market has changed tremendously in the years since the Baby Boomers and Generation X bought their first homes, Business Insider’s Steven John reports, and millennial home buyers have responded with shifts in their buying habits. In general, buyers between the ages of 23 and 38 are buying different types of homes than their parents did in different types of locations, and often waiting longer or living at home to save money. To put this shift into perspective, Business Insider has collected nine facts about today’s market: Average housing prices have risen by 39% since the 1980s, far outpacing wage increases. Average rents have risen by 46% since the 1960s. Many millennials are becoming “super commuters”, accepting commutes of an hour or more in order to afford a home. Birmingham, Ala. has experienced the highest millennial home ownership growth, from 11.9% in 2016 to 18% in 2017. Thirty-one of the nation’s top 50 housing markets saw increases in millennial homeownership in recent years. In some markets, big, spacious homes built before 2012 are selling at close to 50% discounts because millennials aren’t interested in them. Read More

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STATE LEGISLATIVE NEWS Report: High Taxes, Mandates Hurt State’s Small Business Climate Connecticut’s small business climate ranks seventh worst in the country according to a new national study released this week.

Tough Legislative Session for Small Business The 2019 Connecticut legislative session was an extremely challenging one for businesses, particularly small business. “We expected a difficult session given that many progressive legislators ran on platforms that conflicted with a number of the business community’s goals,” Brennan said. Progressive legislators championed numerous workplace mandate proposals this session, and were successful with two priority issues—raising the minimum wage and paid family and medical leave. Those two bills stand out for their huge potential impact on the state’s smallest companies. Paid FMLA was crafted in a way that makes it the most expansive program of its type in the country. Mandates ‘Erode Competitiveness’ Among other things, it applies to businesses with as few as one employee, something no other state dictates, allowing up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to care for themselves or an extended family member. Beginning next year, all private sector workers will be taxed 0.5%, regardless of whether they use the program or if their employer already offers leave. Most public sector workers are exempt. The following year, employees who take leave receive up to 95% of pay, capped at 60 times the minimum wage—$900 per week when the hourly wage hits $15 in 2023. Hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years will also make life more difficult for small businesses, the state’s engine for job growth. Read More 32 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council ranked Connecticut 44th in its annual Small Business Policy Index, one spot worse than in 2018. The index ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including taxes, regulatory burdens, state spending, and government debt. High taxes and fees and government red tape, which the council’s report said “drain enterprises of vital resources, distort decision-making and incentives, and redirect energies,” were key elements in the rankings. Connecticut fared poorly across a number of those metrics, with bottom 10 rankings for per capita government debt, state and local spending, energy costs, workers’ compensation premium costs, state and local tax rates, and business taxes. “Most small business owners have firsthand knowledge of the costs and burdens imposed by government,” the SBE Council report said.” Read More

STATE LEGISLATIVE NEWS An unenthusiastic response to Lamont’s tolls reboot The administration of Gov. Ned Lamont relaunched its campaign for highway tolls in a private two-pronged pitch to wary legislative leaders Wednesday, setting Connecticut’s growing transportation infrastructure needs against a special transportation fund on the verge of insolvency. Its reboot of a plan originally rolled out in February offers sweeteners to lawmakers concerned about the financial impact on constituents, primarily by lowering the income tax on the first $10,000 of taxable income from 3 percent to 2 percent, providing a savings of between $90 and $180. The plan also would offer discounts on tolls and lower fares on bus transit. But the legislature appears no closer to returning in special session to address the governor’s proposal to raise funds and alleviate congestion with variably priced tolls on the Merritt Parkway and Interstates 84, 91 and 95. Republican leaders said they were invited only because Democrats cannot pass a tolls bill on their own, and no GOP support is forthcoming. “No, we don’t support tolls, period,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. He added that he believes Senate Democrats would not call a vote on tolls without some Republican support, an assertion Senate Democratic leaders would not confirm or dispute. Read More

A Connecticut Tax Story

State budget relies on $180 M in tax receipts beyond projections Connecticut legislators and governors banned what critics called “wishful budgeting” nearly a decade ago. After Gov. M. Jodi Rell proposed a budget in 2009 that massively downplayed the coming recession — and was an unprecedented $2.7 billion out of balance according to one report — lawmakers overhauled the budget-making process. Simply put, if analysts weren’t ready to project revenue growth in writing, elected officials couldn’t gamble and spend it anyway. But that was then. The new $43.4 billion, twoyear plan awaiting Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature assumes $180 million in income tax receipts that neither Lamont’s analysts — nor the legislature’s — projected in their last joint forecast.

United Technologies last week announced plans as part of its Read More merger with Raytheon to relocate its headquarters to Boston from Farmington, Connecticut. CEO Greg Hayes says the move isn’t motivated by taxes. But as a new study documents, more businesses are leaving Connecticut as they get walloped with higher taxes that are bleeding the state. Democrats in 2015 imposed a 20% surtax on top of the state’s 7.5% corporate rate, effectively raising the tax rate to 9%. They also increased the top income tax rate to 6.99% from 6.7%... Read More

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FINAL 2018 ANNUAL HOUSING PERMIT DATA The 2018 housing permit data numbers are now final. The state authorized a total of 4,815 new housing units in 2018 which is an increase of 5.9% compared to 4,547 in 2017. These numbers reflect a 12.5% decrease compared to 5,504 housing units in 2016. The chart below breaks down the type of permit issued by county and number of units CONNECTICUT NEW HOUSING AUTHORIZATIONS IN 2018 PERMIT ISSUING PLACE Connecticut Fairfield Hartford Litchfield Middlesex New Haven New London Tolland Windham

Total Units 4,815

1 Unit 2,553

1,097 1,134 126 164 1,166 666 289 173

753 502 117 160 406 297 145 173

2 Unit 3 & 4 Units 108 59

30 6 4 4 48 12 4 0

27 14 0 0 18 0 0 0

5 + Units 2,095

Demolitions 1,225

Net Gain 3,590

287 612 5 0 694 357 140 0

701 86 37 84 222 49 29 17

396 1,048 89 80 944 617 260 156

Through May of 2019, Connecticut shows 1,772 permits pulled thus far. Single units make up 791 of the 1,772 and 941 permits were for 5 or more unit dwellings. May numbers for Connecticut show a 31.89% YTD increase in single family housing permits compared to May 2018. The chart below shows total authorizations in Connecticut on an annual basis from 2000-2018. Click here to read more about the most recent housing permit data for 2019.

Source: Census, DECD Compiled by DECD Research

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Many local pundits have pointed to the passage of Paid Family Medical Leave, $15-dollar minimum wage and a reduction in the business entity pass through credit as proof of an all-out assault by the state legislature on the business community. However, with regard outcomes specific to our industry, the consensus is that it could have been worse. We successfully fended off an expansion of the sales tax proposed by the Governor that would have included services pertaining to the renovation and repair of residential properties as well as broker and realtor services. We also successfully fought efforts to impose: • Statewide Property Tax • Mandatory Sprinklers in New Town Homes • Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning • Various Rent Control Bills • Municipal Conveyance Tax Dedication to Open Space • Elimination of the Use of Wetlands in Cluster Development Open Space Calculations • New Business Killing Mandates on Home Improvement Contractors • Mandatory Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in New Homes (and much more) That’s not to say that our industry walked away from this legislative session completely unscathed. Despite the best efforts of the HBRACT and the Connecticut Realtors, the budget passed in the final days of session included a provision that is commonly referred to as the ‘Mansion Tax’. On or after July 1, 2020, this so called ‘Mansion Tax’ will increase the conveyance tax rate from 1.25 percent to 2.25 percent on sales over $2.5 million. For example, the seller of a $3 million home would pay 0.75 percent conveyance tax on the first $800,000 of the sales price, 1.25 percent on the next $1.7 million and 2.25 percent conveyance tax on the final $500,000 under the new three-tier system. However, starting January 1, 2021, sellers who maintain a primary residence in Connecticut can claim a credit against their income tax of one third of the cost of the conveyance fee for three years, totaling the entire cost of the conveyance fee. While the Mansion Tax is not ideal and will likely exacerbate the sluggishness that we’re currently seeing with the higher end market, a little context might be helpful to the reader to put things into perspective. It’s expected that this new conveyance will yield $5 million in revenues a year to the state. Alternatively, increases in income taxes and capitol gains for high earners proposed by progressive democrats, if passed, would have yielded well over $450 million combined, negatively impacting the buying power of Connecticut residents in a position to purchase higher end homes which arguably could have been much more detrimental to the Fairfield County housing market. During the summer and fall we will be going through the annual exercise of meeting with policy makers and developing a legislative agenda for 2020 legislative session. I encourage you to call or e-mail me If you have any thoughts about how we can improve our laws and regulations to grow our industry. JUNE 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 35

STATE LEGISLATIVE NEWS Make CT More Accommodating To Housing And Businesses With the legislature’s failure to pass House Bill 6749: An Act to Reorganize the Zoning Enabling Act and to Promote Municipal Compliance, Connecticut missed a great opportunity to spur economic development and address glaring issues of housing affordability, diversity and accessibility. In general, passage of HB 6749 would have made Connecticut a more accommodating place to live and do business. I encourage legislative leadership and the governor to consider bringing the bill back this summer when it’s expected that a special session on issues pertaining to economic development will take place. This bill would have rewritten the Connecticut Zoning Enabling Act (CGS 8-2) which currently reads like a multi-page run-on sentence. The Act is very challenging to read and understand, even for experienced attorneys. Consequently, the statutory requirements and limitations of the Zoning Enabling Act are mostly lost on laypersons who typically makeup local zoning commissions which are charged with the act’s implementation. This lack of clarity and understanding of the law leads to less predictability and creates a gray area in which the private sector does not excel. This murkiness in the law results in guess work by local planning and wetland commissions and, in turn, 36 HBRA of Fairfield County | JUNE 2019

over-burdens the appeals process and increases the use of litigation to determine the success of a development application. There’s a reason why Connecticut has more law firms that selfidentify as land-use experts than any other state as reported by the Brookings Institution and highlighted in an excellent article recently published by the Connecticut Mirror, titled, Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing.”. HB 6749 would have also eliminated the ability of a local planning and zoning commission to reject an affordable housing application based on the current “character of the district.” The “character of a district” or community is entirely too subjective and vague a term upon which to base zoning decisions and lends itself to misuse by local planning and zoning commissions. This critically important change would have brought more certainty to the permit application process. Current law requires cities and towns to complete affordable housing plans. However, the law gives little direction to municipalities as to how to complete these plans or what the plans should contain or how compliance is to be determined. The law, as it is currently written, sets our towns up for failure and as such, many towns are currently non-compliant. HB 6749 would have compelled the Department of Housing (DOH) in conjunction with a newly formed working group to develop a format and provide guidance to towns with the plan

drafting process. This would have been particularly helpful to small towns with limited resources and staff to put together a plan of this sort. Rarely does a piece of legislation receive such wide support from a diverse array of interest groups including the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut, The Connecticut Chapter of the American Planners Association, and housing advocacy groups including, but not limited to, the Partnership for Strong Communities, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center and the Connecticut Housing Coalition. Passage of this bill is just sound public policy and the right thing to do. It will create private sector construction jobs and encourage economic growth in our state, but more importantly, it will afford more Connecticut residents the opportunity to work where they live by making it easier to address issues of housing diversity, affordability and accessibility. Please contact the governor and your legislators and ask that they pass this bill in special session. Jim Perras is CEO of Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut. Read More

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