The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
An NAHB-led homeownership rally in Columbia, S.C., and NAHB-commissioned national and South Carolina telephones polls showing strong voter support for homeownership and the mortgage interest rate deduction gained widespread news coverage as the Republican presidential nominating process moved to South Carolina.
NAHB also issued press releases, met with editors and participated in interviews with various television, radio, newspaper, magazine and Internet news outlets on several housing issues.
The following were media highlights resulting from these efforts during the past several weeks:
- Fox News, CSPAN, National Public Radio, The State and other media reported on the NAHB-led Rally for Homeownership held in Columbia, S.C., held on Jan. 12. The stories hammered home the point that measures to reduce federal support for housing and homeownership were not good for America.
- The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, the National Journal, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Housing Wire and the San Diego Source reported on an NAHB-commissioned telephone poll indicating that voters across party lines support homeownership and oppose efforts to cut the mortgage interest deduction or make it more difficult to get a home loan.
In The Wall Street Journal report, NAHB's chief lobbyist, Jim Tobin, said politicians shouldn’t ignore the public’s broad support for housing. “It’s at their own political peril if they continue down this road.”
- The San Angelo Standard Times published a column by Eric von Rosenberg, president of the Home Builders Association of San Angelo in Texas, warning that threats to undermine the mortgage interest deduction would harm millions of young families and middle-class home owners.
- The Wall Street Journal, Time, Denver Post, Cincinnati Business Courier, Fox 19 Cincinnati, the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, the Tulsa World, Nashville Public Radio, Housing Wire, the San Antonio Express, the Journal and Courier, and the Oxford Press reported on the latest results of the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), which was released on Jan. 9. The IMI boasts 76 improving markets, up from 41 in December.
- NAHB CEO Jerry Howard was interviewed by the National Journal and Dow Jones/Marketwatch on NAHB’s position on the use of guaranty fees (g-fees), which are charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a move strongly opposed by NAHB, Congress recently raised g-fees in order to raise revenues to help pay for the extension of the payroll tax cut.
- Howard was also interviewed by USA Today on what needs to be done in Washington to fix housing.
- An article in The Hill on record-low mortgage rates cited NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, who said that he is confident that the housing market has hit bottom and will trend upward this year, albeit at a slow pace.
- Crowe was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article noting an uptick in construction jobs. While Crowe said it was a positive development that the jobless rate fell for cabinet makers, electricians and carpenters, he recommended caution when viewing the data. “It’s conceivable that the improvement we’re looking at [in the unemployment rates] is loaded in the last quarter,” he said.
- Crowe was also quoted in a Maui News article about home prices bottoming out in Maui, Hawaii. "While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list of improving housing markets, it's important to note that several major metros in diverse parts of the country have now joined the field as well — including such metros as Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia,” he said. “This is an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America."
- LoanSafe.org on Jan. 9 reported on NAHB praising the Federal Reserve for releasing a report on housing that said restoring the health of the housing market is a necessary part of a broader strategy for economic recovery. The Fed paper also said that mortgage lending standards have become “extraordinarily tight” and threaten to hold back the housing and economic recovery.
- The New York Times on Dec. 30 published a letter to the editor from NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen responding to an article that insinuated further declines are in store for the weak housing market.
“In scores of communities across the nation where the inventory of new homes has been nearly depleted and employment is gaining, builders should be responding to meet emerging housing demand. Unfortunately, credit conditions are so tight for builders and home buyers alike that many lenders are refusing to make loans for sound projects and creditworthy borrowers are unable to obtain mortgages.” Nielsen wrote.
“To keep the economic expansion on track in 2012, policymakers must understand the critical role that housing plays and work to resolve this ongoing credit crunch. Stabilizing the housing market will be a shot in the arm for employment, consumer confidence and the economy,” he added.
- Howard discussed key legislative and mortgage finance issues facing the housing sector in 2012 in an interview with syndicated housing columnist Ken Harney.
- Howard was quoted in a Dec. 27 Washington Post article about how GOP candidates are offering few new ideas on how to revive the housing market. “So far, none of [the GOP candidates] have said what the American people want to hear — that there is a federal commitment to housing,” he said.
- Crowe gave an interview to Investor’s Business Daily on the housing and economic forecast for 2012 and discussed the construction industry employment outlook with NPR. He also provided data to Mortgage Banking magazine on normal inventory levels and provided NAHB’s housing forecast for starts and sales.
- Crowe was cited in a Washington Post article on what to expect for housing in 2012. He said that NAHB expects housing starts to increase 15% over last year.
- NAHB senior economist Robert Denk was quoted in a Dec. 31 New Jersey.com article about a slow housing recovery. Denk said that demographics will play an important role as the market gradually picks up steam in 2012 and beyond and noted that builders will only build about 40% of what’s needed to keep up with population growth in 2012.
"Kids can choose to stay in their parents' houses longer, or young adults can live with roommates longer, but at some point, something's got to give," Denk said. "To be in your 30s or 40s and still living in your parents' basement, that's just not going to work."
- NAHB posted responses to two stories on CNBC.com and HousingWire.com about a Trulia study suggesting that voters want policymakers to fix the economy, not the housing market, when obviously you can’t have one without the other.