The National Association of Home Builders on Monday issued a formal call on Congress to act on four fronts, including extensions of the first-time home buyer tax credit and net-operating-loss tax carry backs, a rework of the FHA home appraisal guidelines and a freeing up of bank funds for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C loans).
Asserting that the economy is not likely to fully recover without improvement in the housing sector, which makes up 15% of Gross Domestic Product, NAHB chairman Joe Robson said, "At best, it looks like a jobless recovery once it gets underway. This is why Congress needs to take bold, meaningful action now."
The NAHB is asking Congress to:
* Extend the home buyer tax credit program through November 30, 2010 and make it available to all buyers of principal residences.
* Adopt and enforce clear, concise regulatory guidance that will allow appraisers to develop realistic valuations based on sales that are truly comparable and to require the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to establish an appeals process similar to the one used by the Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program, under the appraiser is required to seek more information when it appears the appraised value will fall short of the sales price.
* Urge regulators to allow and encourage lenders to give leeway to residential AD&C borrowers who have loans in good standing by providing flexibility on re-appraisals, loan modifications and perhaps forbearance to give builders time to complete and sell their lots and homes.
* Suppot net operating loss (NOL) relief legislation in the House and Senate, H.R. 2452 in the House and S. 823 in the Senate, would help all businesses by eliminating the current $15 million cap on average annual gross receipts and allowing 2009 losses to be eligible for the expanded carry back.
"If Congress acts to extend the tax credit program, it would spur 383,000 additional home sales, including 80,000 housing starts, creating nearly 350,000 jobs over the coming year," said Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. Robson said home builders will be meeting with their lawmakers in their home districts during the August congressional recess to push the housing agenda.