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More Than 600 Builders Trek To Capitol To Tackle Housing Affordability Issue

Sarah Wolak
Jun 16, 2022

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is asking for Congress’ help in alleviating a nationwide affordability issue.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Over 600 members of the National Association of Home Builders met with members of Congress Wednesday demanding immediate action for affordable housing.
  • There is a record-high shortage of 449,000 workers in the construction industry, resulting in construction delays and higher material costs.

More than 600 members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday to urge Congress to take immediate action to ease the housing affordability crisis. 

The crisis threatens to derail the economy unless Congress implements policies to increase the production of quality, affordable housing. Building material prices are up 47% since the spring of 2020, and Fannie Mae estimates that the monthly principal and interest payment to purchase a median-priced home has risen by $500 since the beginning of the year.

“A growing shortage of affordable housing and rising housing costs stemming from historically high price levels for lumber and other building materials, supply chain bottlenecks, surging interest rates and excessive regulations are hurting families and communities nationwide,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga. “Builders from across the nation are sending a loud and clear message that Congress must act now to help improve affordability conditions by implementing policies that will help builders to construct more single-family homes and apartments to meet consumer demand.”

The association says there's also a labor crisis. The industry has 449,000 fewer workers resulting in construction delays and higher building costs. Additionally, builders brought up several other housing issues, including volatile building material prices and supply chain disruptions, diminishing housing affordability conditions and burdensome federal, state and local building regulations in more than 200 individual meetings with government representatives. 

The action from NAHB follows last week’s meeting with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge where they discussed the issue of affordability. 

At that meeting Fudge agreed with NAHB. 

“We need to rethink housing,” Fudge said. “If we do not address the housing crisis right now, we all will have failed.”

NAHB sent a letter on April 27 — signed by more than 10,000 of its members — to President Joe Biden, urging “immediate action” to address issues that “threaten to derail the current housing and economic expansion.” 

The letter cited several reasons for the downfall of housing affordability, including rising interest rates and soaring costs for rents and building materials. NAHB said that these problems are especially exacerbated for entry-level buyers.

The letter itself read as a plea for help from NAHB, saying “Keeping housing in the national forefront and addressing these critical housing affordability issues will reduce the risk of recession and help the residential construction industry to lead the economy forward.”

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