Mortgage Trade Groups Back Obama's Housing Market Goals

Mortgage Trade Groups Back Obama's Housing Market Goals

January 25, 2012

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has commended President Barack Obama for offering proposals in Tuesday's State of the Union Address to help families stay in their homes and stanch foreclosures, and is urging policymakers to take additional actions to mend the housing market and boost the economy.
"President Obama's refinancing plan offers an opportunity for continued exploration of ways to aid struggling homeowners and tackle the foreclosure crisis," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. "We look forward to working with the White House and Congress to tackle this issue and continue to make progress on foreclosures that are hampering the housing market."
Also supporting NAHB's opinion of the measures the White House is taking to kick-start the housing industry are the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
"Like the President, we believe it is time to move forward with rebuilding this nation's housing market and that lenders and borrowers alike contributed to the housing crisis we are currently in," said David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the MBA. "Let there also be no mistake, those who committed illegal acts ought to face the consequences, if they haven't already."
In order to create jobs and further stabilize housing and the economy, Nielsen added that the Administration, Congress and federal regulators need to reopen the lines of credit for builders ready to embark upon viable projects in markets where new housing stock is needed and to ease overly restrictive mortgage lending requirements for qualified homebuyers.
“We know that the President is concerned about the plight of low income renters and trust he will include proposals to assist them as well when he releases his FY13 budget,” said Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of the NLIHC. “The National Low Income Housing Coalition will work with the White House to advance these ideas.”
The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index shows that scores of metro areas across the nation are beginning to see signs of recovery, but in order to meet this emerging housing demand, builders need access to credit to break ground on sound projects and generate new jobs and sorely needed tax revenues in these communities.
"President Obama was absolutely right when he said that 'there has never been a better time to build,' and the nation's home builders are eager to do their part to contribute to economic growth and job creation," said Nielsen, who noted that housing normally accounts for more than 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.
Building 100 single-family homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenues that help fund local schools, police and firefighters in markets across the land. Sixty percent of voters say that resolving the foreclosure mess is essential to get the economy back on track and there is broad support for government policies that encourage homeownership, according to a new nationwide survey on housing commissioned by NAHB from the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies and Lake Research Partners. More than seven in 10 voters representing all political parties believe that tax incentives to promote homeownership are reasonable and appropriate and nearly six in 10 voters say the federal government should make it a high priority to restore the nation's housing market.
"The most important step that policymakers can take is to articulate a clear national housing policy that establishes certainty for lenders and borrowers alike," said Stevens. "Finalize the Risk Retention/Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule in a way that ensures access to credit for all qualified borrowers. Establish workable national servicing standards that will provide clear rules of the road so that borrowers know how they will be treated by their loan servicers. Develop a legal safe-harbor for the Qualified Mortgage/Ability to Repay requirements under Dodd-Frank so that lenders have an unambiguous, bright line standard to govern who should get a mortgage. Move quickly to determine the proper role of the federal government in the mortgage market in order to ensure sufficient mortgage liquidity through all markets, good and bad."

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