Category Archives: News

Codes Group Meeting

A year has passed since adoption of the 2015 I.C.C. here in New York State.

While many home builders and trade partners have handled the change with ease, much still needs to be learned.

The BNBA Codes Group will hold a special two hour presentation featuring Joseph Hill, RA, Assistant Director for Code Administration, Division of Building Standards and Codes, on troublesome features of the Code. Planned topics will include plan requirements, framing issues and energy efficiency calculations. There will also be allotted time for you to ask your specific questions.

Please respond to Cheryl at if you plan on attending.

Dated: Wednesday October 25th
Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Where : Association Office, 2660 William Street, Cheektowaga, NY

Home Financing 101 for First-Time Home Buyers

As our nation’s housing and job markets continue to recover, many first-time home buyers are gearing up to become home owners. Yet, with stricter regulations put in place after the housing crash and the long list of paperwork that’s already required to buy a home, many prospective home buyers remain concerned about the home financing process.

Advance preparation is key when getting ready to buy a home. You need to decide how much to spend on your home and which type of mortgage will work best for you, as well as understand the settlement process.

Before you visit a sales office, model home or open house, you should take advantage of the many sources that can help you get prepared, and take some steps to ensure you’re in the best possible financial situation.

Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

Figure out what you can comfortably pay on a monthly basis. Write down all your monthly expenses including loan payments, utilities, insurance, credit cards and don’t forget food, clothing and entertainment expenditures.

When determining the monthly payment you can afford, remember that in addition to the monthly principal and interest, you will also be paying into escrows for property taxes, hazard insurance and possibly mortgage insurance or a home owners or condominium association assessment.

Many real estate-focused websites have mortgage calculators that are a great way to figure out what your monthly payments would be based on current interest rates and down payment amounts.

Pay Down Your Debts

Debt that you carry on your credit cards will limit the amount of a loan a lender will be willing to give you. Lenders typically want to see a total debt service ratio that is less than 40 percent of your monthly income.


Get Objective Advice

Attend a first-time home buying seminar or talk to a credit counselor who does not work for a lender. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free housing counseling and seminars; visit or call HUD’s interactive voice system at: (800) 569-4287 for more information.

Pre-Qualify for Your Home Mortgage

To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.

Pre-approval also enables you to quickly make an offer when you find a home, and is attractive to sellers who are considering multiple offers. A lender’s pre-approval would still be subject to a final verification of your credit and a satisfactory appraisal.

Qualifying for a mortgage and saving up for a downpayment remain primary obstacles to homeownership. Recently Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac attempted to address this issue by announcing new low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market.

These lenders will now offer mortgages with 3% downpayments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to obtain a home mortgage.

After taking these steps to get your financing in order, finding your first home will be a much more enjoyable experience. For more information to help ease the first-time home-buying stress, contact the Buffalo Niagara Builders Association at 716.601.7257 or visit

National Association of Home Builders



There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about Millennials delaying marriage, kids and homeownership. So it would be easy to think that perhaps the traditional American dream of owning home is slowly dying. In fact, the opposite is true: Research shows that homeownership remains a goal for the vast majority of American renters.

A recent survey by Freddie Mac revealed that 91% of renters believe homeownership is something of which to be proud. And, younger renters are making plans to buy homes in the near future. In fact, nearly half of renters in the 25-to-34 age bracket – and nearly 60% of renters ages 35 to 44 – indicate that they plan to buy a home in the next three years.

Benefits of Homeownership

These would-be buyers recognize the many benefits to homeownership, including the fact that homeownership is a primary source of net worth for many Americans, and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term.

In fact, 90% of the survey respondents said that being able to pass their home on to their children is one of the top three benefits of homeownership. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth.

Overcoming Obstacles to Homeownership

Qualifying for a mortgage and saving up for a downpayment remain primary obstacles to homeownership. To help address these concerns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – recently announced new low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market.

These lenders will now offer mortgages with 3% downpayments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to obtain a home mortgage.

To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.

Recent analysis by the National Association of Home Builders reveals that financial concerns remain front of mind for many first-time home buyers. In fact, Millennial home buyers – those in the 18-to-33 age bracket – are more likely to let financial reasons influence their house choice, while older generations consider the right size most often. And the homes Millennials buy are smaller, older and less expensive than homes bought by older generations.

That’s not surprising, since Millennials also are more likely than older generations to finance home purchases through current income than accumulated wealth, according to the NAHB analysis of the 2013 American Housing Survey.

So, while Millennials may be taking a little longer than previous generations to reach some of these traditional milestones, their goal of building their own American Dream remains strong.

Learn more about the benefits of homeownership at the Buffalo Niagara Builders Association at 716.601.7257 or

Article from NAHB

NAHB Updates - Housing Starts Rise as Construction underpins US Economy

New-home construction in the U.S. climbed in September, a sign residential real estate will bolster the world’s largest economy.

Housing starts increased 6.5 percent to a 1.21 million annualized rate, more than forecast and the second-highest level in eight years, figures from the Commerce Department showed Tuesday in Washington. A drop in building permits indicates the rebound will be slow to materialize.

American consumers, powered by an improving job market, are keeping the U.S. afloat as they continue to spend on big-ticket items such as homes and cars. A pickup in wage gains would give even more households the ability to save for a down payment, helping to sustain momentum in the housing industry.

“The trend in housing should remain relatively strong,” said Thomas Costerg, a senior U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, who is among the top forecasters of housing starts data according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s a steady grind higher. It’s quite a steady, healthy trend.”

Estimates for housing starts in the Bloomberg survey of 78 economists ranged from 1.09 million to 1.2 million. The August figure was 1.13 million, little changed from the prior estimate.

The increase in starts was mainly propelled by gains in work on multifamily homes, such as apartment buildings, which rose 18.3 percent to a 466,000 pace. The advance highlights increasing demand for rentals.

Construction of single-family houses climbed 0.3 percent to a 740,000 rate, the report showed.

Fewer Permits

Building permits declined 5 percent to a 1.1 million pace, the fewest since March. The decrease was also concentrated in multifamily, showing that these data can be volatile.

Applications for single-family projects fell 0.3 percent to a 697,000 pace, suggesting this part of the market will plateau in coming months. Those for multifamily developments dropped 12.1 percent to a 406,000 rate.

Three of four regions had an increase in starts in September, paced by an 25.4 percent jump in the West, according to the report. Construction declined 12.2 percent in the Midwest, the biggest drop since February.

The starts data are consistent with a report Monday that showed builders are increasingly confident in the outlook for their industry. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo said its sentiment gauge rose in October to the highest level in a decade, lifted by stronger confidence about the six-month sales outlook.

Mortgage Rates

The continued expectation of low interest rates may be part of those prospects. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was

3.82 percent in the week ended Oct. 15, compared to an average of 6.15 percent in the previous expansion.

Borrowing costs may rise as the Federal Reserve comes closer to deciding whether they will increase interest rates this year for the first time since 2006. While policy makers delayed a hike at their meeting last month, they’ll have another opportunity at meetings next week and in December.

Central bankers have been weighing data on the labor market as part of their consideration. Payrolls have added an average 198,000 workers each month this year, getting many consumers closer to the ability of purchasing a home.

However those gains have started to moderate, with increases in August and September coming in lower than economists projected. It’ll take stronger wage growth than the 2 percent average the recovery has posted to help pick up the slack.


Keep Your Family Home Safe with Smoke Detectors

It is important to know how to best protect your family in the event of a fire in your home. It only takes a few simple steps to ensure your family stays safe:

  • Make sure that your smoke alarm system is in working order.
    You should test all of your smoke alarms every month by simply pressing the test button. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends putting a smoke alarm inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, as well as installing alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Devise an escape plan and practice it.
    Every family needs to have a fire safety action plan. The plan should include multiple ways for family members to escape the home and a designated meeting place. Make sure that every family member knows the plan by practicing it during the day and at night.
  • Never go back into a burning building.
    Once you have escaped, do not return to your home for other people or pets. Call the fire department after you have safely left the house.

Thanks to smoke alarms, Americans are safer than they’ve ever been. According to NFPA, deaths from home fires dropped to a new low in 2012, when the estimated home fire death toll of 2,380 was 54% lower than 5,200 in 1980.

And the design of smoke alarms continues to improve, with new innovations including wireless technology and alternate signal noises that are easier for children and seniors to hear.

Fire Sprinklers in Homes

Many state and local governments have decided to remove mandatory requirements for residential sprinklers in all new homes and to leave them as a choice for the home owner. Still, residential sprinkler advocates and other coalition groups continue to pressure officials to create mandatory fire sprinkler requirements.

If you’re building a new home, your builder can arrange for the installation of sprinkler systems. But it’s important to note that installing these systems cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. And maintaining these systems, especially for home owners in cold climates, can be costly and time-consuming.

It’s important for every household to have a fire safety action plan, and to have the right to choose for themselves which type of preventative device they want to use.

Key Housing Issues for Consumers

Key Housing Issues for Consumers

Homeownership is an essential American value. It is a primary source of wealth and financial security for many households, helping to provide for education, retirement and more.

Yet, policy proposals in Congress could negatively impact Americans’ ability to buy a first home, keep their current home or enter into the move-up market.

Just as each home is important to the family that owns it, housing is vitally important to local, state and national economies. It is critical that homeownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent and affordable housing remains a national priority.

If you believe homeownership should continue to be an essential American value, tell Congress to address these key issues:

Keep America’s Housing Affordable

As the housing market continues its recovery, several financial issues are making it more difficult for creditworthy, financially responsible families to buy a home. This threatens to prevent millions of families from ever becoming home owners. Policymakers and regulators need to address several issue to keep homeownership affordable:

  • Reforming the home appraisal system to promote accuracy and consistency
  • Removing financing obstacles to creditworthy families who can afford a mortgage
  • Restoring a normal flow of credit to home builders with viable projects
  • Providing a consistent and affordable supply of mortgage credit for single-family and multifamily housing

To learn more, visit

Protect the Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage interest deduction has been a cornerstone of American housing policy since the inception of the tax code more than 100 years ago. It supports the aspirations of families at all income levels to become home owners.

Yet, many lawmakers have expressed a willingness to eliminate or curtail the mortgage interest deduction.

Eliminating or limiting the mortgage interest deduction would impose a huge tax increase on millions of middle-class home owners and discourage prospective buyers. Changing the deduction would cause after-tax housing costs to increase, and housing demand to decrease.

Reduced demand would depress home prices, producing a sizable loss for existing home owners, leave more home owners underwater and fuel even more foreclosures. Such a change in home values could weaken the economic recovery and perhaps drive the nation’s economy back into recession.

To learn more, visit

Referenced from NAHB

Buffalo - A Great Place to Live

Buffalo – A Great Place to Live

A City of Good Neighbors
Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York State, a population of more than two million people. It is a big city with a hometown feel. Located in the Buffalo-Niagara region of New York State, Buffalo is a thriving city situated in a region that offers a world of opportunity.

World-class art galleries and museums, a comprehensive city-wide system of parks and green space designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and major and minor league sports teams are just a few of the wide array of cultural and recreational elements that make Buffalo such a great place to study, work, and live.

The Buffalo-Niagara Region – A World of Opportunity
Outstanding in Education
Western New York has outstanding high schools, including Buffalo’s City Honors School, which Newsweek ranked as the fourth-best in the nation. Many other local schools rank within the top 100.

Arts and Culture
Places Rated Almanac ranks Buffalo among the top 25 cities nationwide for our rich array of cultural activities including: a lively Theater District in the heart of downtown, a world class symphony – the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the acoustically perfect Kleinhans Music Hall, extraordinary architecture designed by world-renowned architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, and a resurgent nightlife along Chippewa Street.

Buffalo has American roots that run as deep as the War of 1812, the founding of the Erie Canal and the Underground Railroad. And Buffalo boasts one of the world’s finest collections of modern art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and an impressive collection of regional art at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.

Great Outdoors
An extensive parks system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and our four robust seasons allow for an endless range of outdoor pursuits, from sailing to skiing, while a range of professional sports teams keep the city fired up year-round.

Accessible, Affordable
Buffalo offers all of the amenities of a major urban area—without the headaches. The average workday commute is less than 20 minutes, which is the lowest out of fifty major U.S. cities. Affordable housing is widely accessible throughout the region, and reasonable costs of living make the good life possible on any budget. Most neighborhoods offer easy access to shopping, recreation, dining, and excellent schools.

The cost of living in Buffalo remains low, while the quality of life here is second to none. Live a stone’s throw from downtown in a beautiful old home; or if you prefer the country, our suburbs and rural communities are mostly within a 25 minute commute from downtown. The Buffalo-Niagara Region affords you both an exceptional quality of life and excellent professional opportunities.



The Buffalo-Niagara Region
You Might Not Realize: Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York State, a population of more than two million people. It is a big city with a hometown feel. Located in the Buffalo-Niagara region of New York State, Buffalo is a thriving city situated in a region that offers a world of opportunity.

Buffalo has the largest concentration of theaters in New York State outside of New York City

  • Frederick Law Olmsted, a world renowned landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York City, also designed Buffalo’s parks system
  • Buffalo is one of only a handful of cities in the United States to boast five Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes
  • USA Today named Buffalo “The City With Heart” in a nationwide search for America’s most caring city conducted in 2001
  • Buffalo has been recognized by the National Civic League as an “All America City” since 1996, a designation that honors exemplary civic spirit in a select number of U. S. communities
  • American Style magazine named Buffalo one of the Top Ten Arts Destinations in the United States
  • Buffalo is within 500 miles of 41% of the US population
  • Buffalo is within 500 miles of 62% of the Canadian population
  • Fortune magazine ranked this region in the top 20% of 60 areas in the nation for quality of its public education
  • The University at Buffalo’s three campuses are located within three diverse and robust communities of the Buffalo area



Maximize Your Home Storage

As summer approaches and people shed their layers of clothing from the cooler months, many want to also lighten the load their homes are carrying—or at least make it look neater. Before you toss the tools in a garage corner or stuff the down jackets into a box and toss it in the attic, why not evaluate your needs and make your storage both effective and attractive?

The first thing you should do is make a list of everything you want to store. This list will both help you determine how much storage space you need and ensure that nothing gets lost once you start putting things away.

Shelving is one of the easiest ways to create more storage. It can be portable in the form of free-standing units, or permanent that is attached to your walls. Easy-to-install, heavy-duty shelving can be purchased at just about any major home supply store. Many of these units are designed so that you can leave as much room between the shelves as you like, making it easy to get larger and smaller items onto the same unit and saving you space.

Heavy winter clothing can take up lots of closet space, leaving you with little room for your entire four-season wardrobe. One solution for storing out-of-season clothing is under the bed.    Under-the-bed storage containers come in a variety of sizes and styles, including ones with wheels for easy access and to protect hardwood floors from scratches when you pull them out. You can also buy simple risers that elevate your bed off the floor additional inches to create even more space.

Garage storage has also gotten much more efficient. You can get built-in storage cabinets with doors so the space looks clean and orderly. There are also modular systems that enable you to choose what features are best for your needs; including hanging racks for sports equipment, hooks for tools, and more.

Most garages have pitched roofs to keep rainwater or snow from collecting on top, and this space is ideal for items you don’t use on a daily or weekly basis. Store these things on platforms or racks that lower and raise either electronically at the touch of a button, or with an easy-to-use pulley system.

In newer or renovated homes, a mudroom or drop zone is a popular feature. This area often has built-in benches, hooks and bins to neatly tuck away boots, jackets, gardening equipment and other items your family uses frequently.

Finally, if your family is as tied to their portable internet and communications devices as many modern families, get rid of the tangle of charger cords on your counters by buying or building a home charging station with multiple outlets and pockets for storing and charging cell phones, tablets, laptops and more.

For more information about home maintenance or design trends, or contact the BNBA at 716.636.9655.