By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Tariff Roll-backs?

The NAHB hailed July 26's preliminary ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on imports of Canadian softwood lumber should be rescinded.

"This is good news for American consumers, who are bearing the brunt of duties averaging 27.2 percent on Canadian lumber and adding more than $1,000 to a home's price," says Bobby Rayburn, NAHB vice president/treasurer and a home builder from Jackson, Miss.

The official WTO decision is due this month but could be subject to three months of appeals.

Silent Crisis

Decent, Affordable Housing: It's the American Dream" is the NAHB's new report that focuses attention on the housing affordability crisis and cites specific steps needed to address the problem.

Some 28 million households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and nearly half of the nation's 11 million lowest-income families pay at least 50 percent of their income on rent.

Find the publication free at the NAHB's Web site, at Reentry Granted

On June 25, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) notified the NAHB that it had awarded the Home Builders Institute (HBI) a $1.5 million grant under its Young Offender Initiative: Reentry Grant Program. The grant will help implement Project CRAFT (Community Restitution and Apprenticeship- Focused Training), a model intervention technique in the rehabilitation and reduced recidivism of juvenile offenders, and a training and placement model in Nashville, Tenn. The DOL also acknowledged the home building industry's shortage of skilled workers and Project CRAFT's role in helping to address this need. The HBI also operates Project CRAFT training programs at five Florida sites in partnership with the state's Department of Juvenile Justice.

Stocks Up

The NAHB's Multifamily Stock Index (MFSI) reached a record high in June, moving up 23 points to 1,606--an increase of almost 1.5 percent for the month. Despite slowing rental demand in some local markets, that level is nearly 4.5 percent higher than it was at this time last year. The NAHB's MFSI tracks 29 U.S.-headquartered companies that derive at least half of their revenues from multifamily ownership and management activities and are traded on a major American stock exchange.

Bubble Not

Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's July 19 testimony before Congress refuted the existence of an alleged housing market "bubble."

"We've looked at the bubble question, and we've concluded that it is most unlikely," said Greenspan. He attributed recent "sizable gains" in home prices to "the effects on demand of low mortgage rates, immigration, and shortages of buildable land."