With National Homeownership Month falling in June, it’s an ideal time to reflect on and celebrate the many benefits of owning a home.
It’s also an opportunity to examine challenges to homeownership and determine how we can eliminate them or minimize their impact to ensure that Americans can continue to fulfill their dream of owning a home.
We know that homeownership offers many advantages to families and communities.
For families, a home provides a strong sense of belonging. It’s also a pathway to creating wealth and ensuring financial strength. Once people buy a home, they are invested—both financially and emotionally—in their communities. Oftentimes, they work hard to enhance all aspects of their neighborhoods, including schools, parks, local businesses, and charitable and civic endeavors.
In addition, homeownership benefits the local and national economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for governments. Every 1,000 new homes built translates into almost 3,000 jobs. And at approximately 40%, property taxes make up the highest share of local and state tax revenues. NAHB analysis of government data shows that hundreds of billions in taxes were paid by property owners over the course of a year ending in the third quarter of 2015.
Not only does the NAHB celebrate homeownership, but it also addresses headwinds that can prevent many deserving families from buying a home.
One major impediment is overregulation. Regulations affect virtually every aspect of home building, from lot development to the builder’s choice of construction materials. Typically, regulations account for about 25% of the cost of a new home. There’s no question that regulations have a place in the home building process, but we want them to be reasonable, rational, and cost effective. In light of this, the NAHB works with regulators to fend off a wide range of unnecessary regulations.
I recently testified before Congress to discuss how a regulation that reduces the permissible worker exposure limit for crystalline silica—a substance found in many construction materials—can harm the home building sector.
Other important regulatory issues include the EPA’s newly revised definition of the waters of the U.S., endangered species requirements, housing finance, and changes to overtime pay rules.
We also monitor the model codes closely. Members and staff routinely review proposed changes and work hard to prevent the adoption of measures that provide no real benefit while advocating for those that will. We advocate for legislation that would stop harmful regulations from going into effect by encouraging members nationwide to urge their lawmakers to support the bill. And when all else fails, we take the issue to court.
The NAHB takes this multipronged approach to protecting homeownership from regulatory impediments because we know the benefits that homeownership offers families, communities, and our entire country.
We want as many deserving individuals as possible to achieve the American dream, but first we need policies in place that foster the ability to own a home.