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NAHB Launches Fix Housing First (posted 1/12/09)

January 12, 2009
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“If we are going to successfully pull our nation out of recession, we must address housing first,” said Jerry Howard, NAHB president and CEO.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is spearheading Fix Housing First, one of the largest coalitions of housing advocates ever assembled in the U.S., to push for a housing recovery plan that will revive the economy. “If we are going to successfully pull our nation out of recession, we must address housing first,” said Jerry Howard, NAHB president and chief executive officer.

Fix Housing First, which consists of more than 600 organizations, home building companies and manufacturers, is pressing for a major stimulus package to stem the decline in home values, stabilize financial markets and reignite consumer demand. To get the economy moving again, the coalition is urging Congress to support enhancements to the home buyer tax credit and provide below-market 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for home purchases.

“If Congress enacts a meaningful tax credit, coupled with an aggressive interest rate buy-down program, we are confident that these measures will help to stabilize home prices, prevent future foreclosures, restore consumer confidence and start creating jobs,” said Howard.

The coalition cites a similar plan that worked in 1975, when the nation was also in the midst of a recession. Congress then passed a short-term $2000 tax credit for all new homes ($12,000 adjusted for today's median home prices), along with subsidized mortgage rates. The stimulus jump-started the depressed economy and the effects continued long after the measure expired.

“Entering this holiday season, we saw a sobering loss of more than half a million jobs in November, and major job cutbacks among the nation's top employers are being announced daily,” said Howard. “We need to put a stop to this dangerous erosion on Main Street before it grows out of control.”

Additional details are available at www.fixhousingfirst.com.

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