The National Association of Home Builders said it was encouraged to hear President Barack Obama say he supported a continued role for the federal government in the home mortgage industry.
"NAHB applauds President Obama for affirming the importance of maintaining a federal backstop as part of efforts to revamp the housing finance system and protect the 30-year mortgage,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “This will preserve financial stability, promote investor confidence and limit taxpayer exposure.”
In an Aug. 6 speech, the president said he wanted to “wind down” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government entities that provide much of the financing of American mortgages. The U.S. government took over the operations of the two companies five years ago when the mortgage crisis threatened their existence.
"The president also stressed that a healthy housing market is critical to create jobs, build a strong middle class and maintain a vibrant economy,” Judson said. “In normal economic times, housing accounts for more than 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Constructing 100 homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and generates $8.9 million in tax revenues that help local governments to provide essential services such as schools, roads, and police and firefighter protection.
"Among other reforms, the nation's home builders also support strengthening the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) to facilitate the flow of mortgage credit to qualified home buyers, cutting red tape and easing tight credit conditions that are preventing creditworthy borrowers from obtaining home loans, and supporting the low income housing tax credit to ensure the availability of safe and affordable rental housing,” Judson added. “This will help spur job growth, provide home ownership and rental opportunities for all Americans and boost the economic expansion.”
"NAHB looks forward to working in a bipartisan manner with the White House and Congress to achieve these goals in the weeks and months ahead."