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NAHB implores Congress to make responsible homeownership a legislative centerpiece06/08/2012
Less than two weeks removed from the National Association of Realtors calling on lawmakers to make homeownership a national priority, another housing advocacy group recently visited Capitol Hill to make similar sentiments.
On June 6, 700 home builders from the National Association of Home Builders journeyed to Washington, D.C., to inform congressional leaders that they need to take more proactive steps to get housing back on track by encouraging responsible homeownership.
Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB, indicated that while there have been a number of positive developments, improvements could be much quicker with Congress' help.
“Though we are seeing some hopeful signs of recovery in many markets throughout the nation, our industry still faces stiff headwinds," said Rutenberg.
He added that while NAHB representatives were in the Beltway, many of them met with their representatives and senators, reminding them that an economic recovery can't happen without one occurring in housing first.
NAHB notes that there are a variety of pending legislative actions that could expedite the sector's return to normalcy. For example, House Resolution 1755, otherwise known as the Home Construction Lending Regulatory Improvement Act, would remove some of the most significant barriers to lending without compromising regulators' ability to ensure financial institutions don't make irresponsible decisions regarding who should and should not be permitted to borrow. At present, H.R. 1755 has 96 co-sponsors. The Senate's versions of the bill, the Home Building Lending Improvement Act, has been drawn up and is sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
Something else NAHB representatives encouraged lawmakers to pass was comprehensive legislation to reform mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are government-sponsored entities. Effective changes would help improve the reliability and flow of affordable credit for individuals with varying financial circumstances.
While many polls suggest homeownership is valued because people like the idea of having a place they can call their own, some people are drawn to it not by its financial appeal. As a result, NAHB says lawmakers should make the preservation of tax incentives a priority, especially the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit. These reforms should be given prime consideration in the ongoing tax reform debate.
Other legislative initiatives NAHB met with legislators about included the Preserve the Waters of the United States Act and the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Repair Renovation and Painting rule.