In his State of the Union Speech last Tuesday, President Obama referred to housing twice – once in the introduction, “Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before” and again during the domestic portion of his speech, “...and since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.”
As is customary, many of our countries leaders have provided commentary on the President’s address, including the housing industry.
Rick Judson, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), issued the following statement:
“NAHB agrees with President Obama that ‘the most important investment many families make is their home.’ Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream, but too many creditworthy borrowers are still unable to purchase a home of their own.
“Nothing packs a bigger economic punch than home building. Building 100,000 homes creates more than 300,000 full-time jobs and $8.9 billion in tax revenues that are essential to help local communities build schools, hire police and firefighters, and fix roads.
“With the right policies in place, housing can lead the economy to higher ground. Tonight, the President called on Congress to send him legislation that will avoid another housing crisis and ‘keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations.’
“NAHB looks forward to working with the Administration and members of Congress in a bipartisan spirit to enact meaningful housing finance reform that will ensure a consistent flow of credit for qualified home buyers and offer affordable rental housing opportunities. Such a plan must provide proper federal support that will protect 30-year mortgages, limit taxpayer exposure, encourage increased participation from the private sector, and ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing.”
Similarly, David H. Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) added:
“Just as the President mentioned tonight, we believe that the time is now for Washington to take a more active role in housing reform. Be it through legislation as President Obama suggested, or other measures that don't require Congressional action, strengthening the real estate finance system is good for borrowers and will only improve our recovering economy."
Providing an even broader view of housing’s role in the recovering economy, Robert Ivy, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said:
“The President's focus on economic mobility is timely, considering that the architecture profession is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. That's why we are encouraged to hear the President talk about energy and college affordability in such an explicit way. We urge the White House and Congress to make such initiatives a top priority in this session of Congress, and to adopt the AIA's list of legislative priorities (among the group's top legislative priorities is reinstating an expired tax deduction that helps make commercial and federal buildings more energy efficient) as a way to ignite the construction economy by spurring much needed improvements in energy efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency, and create jobs for small business.”
While housing preferences change over time for lifestyle and financial reasons, millions of Americans realize a dream-come-true moment when they choose homeownership. Our country’s leaders are now working together to keep the dream alive.