The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
As part of its continuing grassroots, legislative and media efforts to reinstate the higher loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration that expired on Sept. 30 — as well as to put housing front and center during the election season — NAHB issued press releases, hosted media teleconferences and participated in interviews with various television, radio, newspaper, magazine and Internet news outlets.
The following were media highlights resulting from these efforts during the past two weeks:
- To discuss the need for Congress to reinstate the higher conforming loan limits for another two years, NAHB Chief Lobbyist Jim Tobin and senior tax economist Rob Dietz hosted a media teleconference on Nov. 8 that drew 30 participants — including reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CQ and The Washington Post.
- A Business Insider article on the teleconference quoted Tobin on the need for higher loan limits. “It’s important for us to get these loan limits restored so that we can provide certainty for a housing market that is struggling to regain its footing,” Tobin said, adding that the lower loan limits are “putting enormous downward pressure on prices across the country” and making it difficult for home buyers to sell or purchase homes.
- In an American Banker article on the teleconference, Tobin said members of Congress were resisting, "but we think we have a good case to make, and we're making it on a representative-by-representative and district-by-district and county-by-county basis.”
- The State in South Carolina published a story highlighting the problems builders are having getting construction loans and the negative impact this is having on jobs. In the story, NAHB Chairman-elect Barry Rutenberg said that every new home built creates three jobs and urged Congress to pass H.R. 1755, the Home Construction Lending Improvement Act of 2011, which would help to restore the flow of credit to home builders.
- In a letter to the editors of the Las Vegas Sun and Reno Gazette Journal applauding a recent column by Warren Hardy calling for policymakers to protect the mortgage interest deduction, make credit more easily available to home buyers and home builders and preserve access to affordable 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said the column “should be required reading for President Obama and the Republican presidential contenders.”
- “It’s a fight to keep the housing market strong in this downturn, and we think it's a fight for the future role of the federal government in housing," he said.
The story also reported that NAHB is using its website to urge its members to set up meetings with members of Congress.
The Wall Street Journal Online, Market News International, KOSA-TV in Texas, the San Antonio Express, Home Channel News, the Amarillo Globe News, Loan Rate Update, Toledo Blade, Huntington News and other news and industry outlets reported the latest NAHB/ First American Improving Markets Index showing that the number of improving housing markets continued to expand for a third consecutive month, rising from 23 to 30.
- NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe on Oct. 31 conducted an interview with USA Today to discuss his housing and economic forecast.
- NAHB CEO Jerry Howard conducted a television interview with CNC World Channel on the Obama Administration’s efforts to get the housing market back on track.
- Tobin spoke with American Banker magazine on the need to raise the conforming loan limits.
- Crowe and NAHB senior economist Bob Denk were quoted in a Chicago Tribune story on how the Illinois housing recovery will hinge on jobs.
“Folks aren’t going to go out and spend a lot of money on a large purchase unless they feel comfortable about their job and economic future," said Crowe.
“The closer you are affiliated to Michigan and the auto industry and the industrial Midwest in general, the rougher time you’ve had in economic terms,” added Denk.
- In a Housing Zone story on how to avoid low appraisals, Steve Linville, NAHB’s director of single-family finance, said lenders are not required to select appraisers at random. “You can go to a lender and say, ‘I need an appraiser who understands new construction in this county,’” said Linville.
In a Dayton Business Journal report on President Obama’s plan to help underwater home owners to refinance their mortgages, NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said the Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will "give a badly needed boost” to consumer confidence.
“However, for the many families who have fallen behind in their payments because of the weak job market, the changes to HARP will have no benefit. Clearly additional policy initiatives are urgently needed to prevent foreclosures and deal with the inventory of foreclosed homes," he said.
- Commenting in a Finance & Commerce story on drywall manufacturers planning to raise prices by up to 35% next year, NAHB economist Peter Grist said such a price hike would add about $4,000 to the cost of a typical single-family home.
Grist said the expected drywall increase is “quite concerning,” especially at a time when most builders are struggling to get sales and “their margins are very thin.”
- The naming of the former president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association, John A. Courson, as the new president and chief executive officer of the Home Builders Institute was reported in Marketwatch, Building News Online and Home Channel News, as well as other media and trade outlets.