Loan Boost

In July, the NAHB called on Congress to boost the loan limits of FHA multifamily mortgage insurance programs.

Testifying on behalf of the NAHB before the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services, Boston builder Gary Ruping, and Providence, R.I.-based Casimir Kolaski, a consultant for developers of affordable rental housing, cited the urgent need to enact H.R. 1985.

The bill, also known as the FHA Multifamily Loan Limit Adjustment Act of 2003, would increase the maximum mortgage amount limit for FHA-insured mortgages for multifamily housing in major metropolitan markets.

"H.R. 1985 would allow a number of high-cost urban markets that are currently unable to use FHA multifamily mortgage insurance programs--such as New York and Los Angeles--to be able to start increasing the supply of much-needed quality affordable housing for America's working families," says Kolaski.

Lofty Goals

Located in the luxury community of The Lakes at West Sahara, Las Vegas, The New American Home 2004 (TNAH) will showcase a distinctive loft design at the International Builders' Show, hosted by the NAHB, Jan. 19-22, 2004.

"TNAH features new architectural and design ideas that builders can take away and incorporate into the homes they build around the country," says John Ted Mahoney III, chair of the TNAH task force and president of Windjammer Construction Corp., in Bridgewater, Mass.

* "Floating roof" in master bedroom

* Home cinema with direct-light access

* 16-foot ceilings with skylights

* Mosaic flooring in living room and master suite

* 400-square-foot terrace with spa

Good Feeling

Builder confidence in the single-family home market remains solid, with the outlook for the remainder of the year particularly high, the NAHB reports. The Housing Market Index (HMI), a monthly measure of builder confidence, gained two points to 64 in July; a component index gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose three points, to a reading of 73.

"Builders remain confident as favorably low interest rates on home mortgages and solid price performance continue to stimulate home buying," says NAHB president Kent Conine.

Tree Cheers

Ten builders and developers who made tree preservation a priority in the design, production, development, and marketing of their new communities have been honored with 2003 Building With Trees Awards of Excellence by The National Arbor Day Foundation, Firewise Communities, and the NAHB.

"These award winners are at the forefront of a green building movement that can help home builders do something good for the environment," says NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard.

The awards will be presented at the National Arbor Day Foundation's Building for Greener Communities National Conference, held Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2003. For more information, visit

Builders Stephen and Bart Jones of Merlin Contracting and Developing collaborated with architect Lex van Straten of Food for Buildings to create the home. For more details, visit