Multi-family builder testifies before Congress
An increase in multi-family mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs), part of the current administration’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal, will slow down construction of apartments in secondary markets, a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) representative told Congress on June 7.
Bob Nielsen, the immediate past chairman of NAHB and a multi-family home builder from Reno, Nev., testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity on the proposal to raise the MIPs in order to reduce defaults. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has failed to provide an analysis on how higher MIPs would affect borrowers, lenders or renters who live in properties insured under the programs.
"The proposed increases will not provide a buffer against future FHA losses because there is no segregated fund and excess income is simply returned to the U.S. Treasury each year," Nielsen said. "Increases will only add to property owners’ costs, thereby affecting rents and discouraging the production of rental housing."
Nielsen also pointed out that MIP increases would hurt market rate rental properties in the secondary markets where credit is limited because private capital currently is focusing lending activities in the strongest markets and for well-capitalized large developers.
Progressive Solutions purchased by U.K. firm
Progressive Solutions, a leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for producers, manufacturers and distributers in the lumber and building materials industry, has announced an agreement to be purchased by Solarsoft Business Systems, a London-based information technology firm. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Based in Vancouver, B.C., the privately held Progressive Solutions serves primarily sawmills, lumberyards and suppliers of building materials in North America and the U.K. with its bisTrack and lumberTrack software products.
Shawn McMorran, chief executive of Solarsoft Business Systems, said: "PSI is a great business and an excellent fit with Solarsoft. This acquisition will add significant strength to our offering for distribution and wholesale customers.”
Andy Hovancik, chief operating officer at Solarsoft, added: "Solarsoft has an established position in distribution and wholesale systems in the U.K. and Ireland. PSI’s strength in North America and in the specialist needs of the lumber and wood products sector are complementary to that. Bringing PSI’s market-leading applications into Solarsoft will allow us to accelerate our strategic expansion in this sector.”
Solarsoft Business Systems offers ERP software and IT services to manufacturers, distributors and wholesale businesses in North America, Europe and Asia. The company has grown organically and through acquisition since 1986 and employs more than 450 people and serves more than 2,500 companies. Worldwide revenues when combined with PSI will be in the order of $100 million. Solarsoft is backed by Marlin Equity Partners, an independent investment firm with more than $1billion of institutional assets under management.
Obit: founder of Ryan Homes, original partner in 84 Lumber
Edward Ryan, an early partner of 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy, and the founder of Ryan Homes, died from a stroke on June 1. He was 88 years old.
According to an obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ryan started building homes one at a time after World War II, where he served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. (Ryan was shot down over Germany and spent time as a POW, for which he received the Purple Heart.) As his home construction company grew, he teamed up with boyhood friend Joe Hardy and opened a lumberyard in Upper St. Clair, Pa., called Green Hills Lumber.
Ryan later decided to concentrate on the home-building business, and Ryan Homes became one of the nation’s largest production builders. Ryan Homes is now part of NVR, which operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, Hardy took over the lumber business and renamed 84 Lumber after its new location, according to the Post-Gazette. 84 Lumber is now a $1.43 billion company with 258 locations.
Before and after his retirement, Ryan was active in a number of charity and relief efforts, including the rebuilding efforts in Homestead, Fla., following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Once again, he teamed up with Hardy and opened an 84 Lumber store there to bring more jobs and building materials into the area.