This article appeared in the March edition of the Home Building News.
by David DeHarpport, President, Four D Construction & Oregon NAHB State Rep.
When we join the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland we also become members of the Oregon Home Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). As your NAHB representative for the state of Oregon, I thought I would take the opportunity this month to provide members with an update on recent NAHB activities. I am excited to report that while in Las Vegas for the Winter Board Meetings/ IBS we learned that housing starts hit the one million mark in 2014 for the first time since 2007. Home building is back!
Add up the dollar value of NAHB’s advocacy victories and you’re talking real money, an average of $6,882 per housing start for a typical home builder in 2014. This includes NAHB services and programs and victories in the legislative, legal and regulatory arenas.
Here are a few of the ways that you saved:
- Thanks to the comments NAHB filed in protest, EPA dropped its post-construction stormwater rule. The rule would have set measurable, numeric pollution limits on stormwater that involved expensive monitoring and record keeping. This saves builders money, time and hassle, and lowers the cost of a new home for consumers
- An extension of the tax deduction for mortgage insurance preserves new home sales by helping home buyers afford to buy.
- Energy tax credits were extended, stimulating new construction and remodeling.
Victories on the legislative and regulatory fronts
- Thanks to three years of NAHB advocacy, the final definition of a Qualified Residential Mortgage, or QRM, will enable more credit-worthy households to quality for a mortgage than the original 20 percent down payment requirement sought by regulators, among other onerous criteria.
- The Federal Housing Administration announced a half percent cut in FHA mortgage insurance premiums that will enable 250,000 new home owners to buy a home over the next three years after consistent calls for action by NAHB.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also make homeownership more affordable by agreeing to purchase mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent. Combined with safeguards put in place to ensure creditworthiness, this is a positive move that should bring more first-time buyers into the market.
- NAHB also made progress on making it easier for remodelers to get recertified under the Lead Paint Rule, continued the fight against abusive patent trolls and threaten legal action against home builders, racked up successes on 57 of the 58 proposals ranked as important during the 2014 ICC code development cycle.
Issue on the horizon that could cost you
From the expiration of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement to a host of proposals from EPA, the Labor Department, DOE and OSHA, we need to stay vigilant to keep onerous rules and red tape from hurting our industry. Now more than ever in Congress, it is critical to find champions on Capitol Hill who will continue to promote and protect housing industry priorities as issues like tax reform are debated.
I urge you to join our advocacy efforts by participating in “Bringing Housing Home” in-district legislative meetings, March 9-13. Bringing Housing Home was an overwhelming success in 2014, with more than 2,000 meetings conducted with elected officials in all 50 states. Visit bringinghousinghome.com for details.
In a major shift, NAHB will begin requiring two board meetings rather than three in 2016.
The required meetings will take place at IBS and in July, the latter at dates to be determined, and the Executive Board will meet in person in the fall to review and recommend the annual budget. Other in-person meetings may be requested should special circumstances arise.
I hope that you can see how your membership in NAHB saves you money, helps you stay competitive, helps NAHB challenge regulations that do more harm than good, and levels the playing field against powerful interests that could do lasting damage to the housing industry.