By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Stagnant Stance

In August, a new agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and environmental groups ended a year-long moratorium on new endangered species listings. The FWS moratorium was to have reassessed policies and inadequate funding issues. However, "severe environmental, economic, health, and safety issues remain undiscussed, unexamined, and unsolved," the NAHB says.

The new agreement calls for the FWS to: review three species for emergency listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), issue 14 final listing decisions and eight proposed listings, make decisions on four ESA petitions, map out critical habitat areas for the Gila Chub in New Mexico and Arizona and for four species of snails in New Mexico. Species covered range from beetles, to plants, frogs, and snails.

"Time that could have been spent improving the system has been squandered, and problems will become more numerous with additional listings," says NAHB president Bruce Smith.

Brown Afforded

On September 4th, the NAHB named Gregory S. Brown director of affordable housing for multifamily. Brown will be responsible for development, finance, and property management issues that impact affordable housing.

He will also direct the NAHB Multifamily's Housing Credit Group, the leading advocacy group dedicated to protecting, expanding, and improving federal housing credit and tax-exempt bond programs.

Policy Maven

Peggy K. Cullom, a 20-year veteran of the multifamily and mortgage banking industries, has been named NAHB vice president of multifamily policy. She will oversee legislative and regulatory multifamily activities as well as the development of strategic business services beneficial to multifamily developers, managers, and lenders.

The NAHB multifamily includes NAHB's Multifamily Council, the Housing Credit Group and the recently established Multifamily Executive Leadership Board, which represents the nation's largest and most prominent apartment developers and owners.

Rising Sales

New single-family home sales rose 4.9 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 950,000 units, according to the Commerce Department.

Long-term mortgages continued to hover just below 7 percent. The strong market is also helping boost the investment potential of homeownership, amid a shaky stock market. "A third factor supporting new-home sales is the solid demographic picture, with new household formations occurring at a faster pace than the Census Bureau previously expected," says Bruce Smith, NAHB president.