Jackson Says President Committed to Increasing Homeownership
Declaring a positive outlook for the housing sector, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson on Feb. 8 told NAHB board members in Orlando, Fla. that the “housing market is undergoing a correction and will return to its healthy level.”
Jackson said that the housing sector is still fundamentally strong, noting that income levels are growing, job growth is solid and mortgage interest rates remain near historical lows.
Commenting on housing starts, sales and permits, Jackson said that 2006 still ranks among the six best years in the history of the nation.
Stating that the nation’s home builders have “the full support of President Bush and myself,” Jackson said that the $35.2 billion fiscal 2008 budget for HUD released by the Administration this month reaffirms the “President’s commitment to increase homeownership, particularly among minorities.”
The budget request represents a $1.6 billion, or 4.5% increase, over the Administration’s request for fiscal 2007.
Among the initiatives Jackson highlighted in the budget:
- A $50 million increase in the HOME Investment Partnership program. Jackson said that approximately $2 billion would be provided to state and local grantees to assist home buyers and renters by helping to finance the costs of land acquisition and new construction rehabilitation.
- $45 million for HUD’s Housing Counseling Grant program, which the department says will “help hundreds of thousands of families manage their finances and improve their credit ratings in order to become home owners”
- $39 million to boost homeownership through HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program, which requires home owners to contribute “sweat equity” hours to construct their homes
- Modernizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
Further elaborating, Jackson said that the FHA has helped more than 34 million Americans to buy a home since its inception in 1930. “Modernizing the FHA would give HUD the tools it needs to offer hard-working, credit-worthy borrowers the opportunity to obtain financing at a cost they can afford,” he said. “American home buyers need FHA. Legislation to modernize it is critical.”
Proclaiming that home builders help lift families into the middle class, Jackson concluded his remarks by saying that he “looks forward to continuing our partnership. You are the builders of the American dream. If you lose the dream you lose everything. Please help me keep the dream alive for all Americans.”
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242.