Cost of Living During June, as part of National Homeownership Month, the NAHB worked to make owning a home an achievable goal for more Americans by informing the public about the problems associated with workforce housing and sharing with them possible solutions.

Innovative builders, access to capital, and industry programs have helped propel American home-ownership to a record 68 percent. But a recent study by the National Housing Conference found that service profession salaries, such as those of police officers and nurses, are below the $50,000 needed to qualify for a $156,000 home, the median price of a home in the United States.

For the rest of the year, the NAHB and home builders will be actively working with housing consumer education organizations and government officials, among others, to advance affordable home-ownership.

The NAHB recently joined Fannie Mae and other partners to launch a workforce initiative that will rejuvenate some 1,000 communities across the nation by expanding the stock of affordable housing for working families. The agency also is participating in a new Congressional initiative called “Saving America's Cities,” an effort to revitalize urban areas and alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in major metropolitan areas.

Healthy Habitats Home builders and developers are preserving thousands of acres of critical habitat for endangered species as part of the federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).

Under the HCP program, property owners work with conservationists to identify and preserve land essential to endangered species' survival. To ensure that threatened and endangered species will be protected, property owners develop specific HCPs with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologists before building on their land.

The NAHB's HCP analysis found that the program is successful—HCPs cover more than 33 million acres of land across the country and protect the most vulnerable habitats. But its study also found that developing plans can be time-consuming, taking nearly two years, on average, from the consultation phase to approval. The time gap can significantly impact construction costs—and the cost of housing. The NAHB believes, however, that setting deadlines for plan approval will improve the program.

The NAHB also recommends that the FWS not impose additional conservation and mitigation measures on property owners once an HCP is approved. This will enable them to continue their conservation efforts uninterrupted.

Sneak Peek A new study prepared by the NAHB gives home builders a rare glimpse at other builders' books. “The Cost of Doing Business Study” lets building industry professionals examine the statistics of home building companies from across the country.

Builders can view data concerning companies' profitability, expenses, and costs of sales. The report analyzes various categories, such as volume, operation type, and land costs. It also offers supplemental information on developing cost control systems and cutting cycle time and provides a complete picture of the state of the home building industry that includes information on material usage, features in new homes, new-home cost components, and trade contracting trends.

The study is available at or by calling 800-223-2665.