Homeownership is a Key Issue for Fall Elections
By Ben Booth, President
Northwest Arkansas Home Builders Association
If you are among the more than 75 million Americans who own their home or the millions more who hopes to someday achieve the American dream of home-ownership, then you will want to tell your candidates where you stand on critical housing issues before casting your ballot this fall.
National policy has acknowledged the importance of the home in American family life for almost a century, yet today, home-ownership is under attack.
Legislative and regulatory proposals that would greatly harm home owners, home buyers, the housing market and the nation’s economy are under consideration by government policymakers. These include ongoing threats to the mortgage interest deduction, instituting a standard 20 percent down payment on home loans, and ending the federal backstop for housing, which would make the 30-year mortgage less accessible and more expensive.
The stakes are enormous. The decisions the politicians who are elected to office this year make on these proposals could not only strip away home-ownership priority status and obstruct the economy’s ability to recover, but also reverse the housing policies that created a thriving middle class and contributed to a century of economic progress.
Home-ownership contributes significantly to the nation’s economy, and can help provide millions of jobs to get the economy back on its feet. Currently, housing accounts for about 15 percent of the nation’s total economic output, including new construction of single-family and multifamily homes, remodeling and   services provided by existing homes. Building 100 average single-family homes generates 305 jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income, and $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.
But persistently tight lending standards are making it difficult for creditworthy, financially responsible families to buy a home and threaten to ultimately prevent millions of families from ever becoming home owners.
Home-ownership has always been – and continues to be – the single best long-term investment for most Americans. It is a primary source of wealth and financial security for many households, helping to provide for education, retirement and more.
Current and aspiring home owners need to choose carefully before voting for political candidates this fall. Your vote could ultimately determine whether policies are enacted in the next Congress that impact your ability to buy a first home, keep your current home or enter into the move-up market.
As the debate over housing policy unfolds, it is crucial to ensure that home-ownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent and affordable housing remains a national priority. Make sure that politicians know where you stand on home-ownership issues by signing NAHB’s online petition to members of Congress at www.protecthomeownership.com/petition.
For more information on the impact of housing and home-ownership, go to: www.protecthomeownership.com.