Setting Goals In an effort to boost the homeownership rate among underserved populations, the NAHB is endorsing measures to strengthen Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's housing goals. The agency wants to ensure that the financial lenders work assiduously to house the country's working-class families and other overlooked communities.

Along with HUD, the NAHB is working to increase mortgage financing for home buyers and rental housing and to enact challenging housing goals without jeopardizing or hampering Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's ability to service the broader housing finance market. The NAHB is “in complete agreement with HUD on the need to enact vigorous housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” but agreeing on and outlining those goals may not be as easy.

Policy makers suggest removing both companies' status as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to bring about reform, but home builders believe such a step would prevent GSEs from financing affordable housing at the lowest possible cost to the nation's households. The NAHB hopes HUD will establish a goal system for the GSEs while enabling them to provide liquidity to the housing finance system.

Popular Demand Suburban areas proximate to metropolitan markets are where 55- to 74-year-olds are most likely to buy a home, according to a recent analysis of 2000 U.S. Census data by the NAHB, and these residential districts are the center of building activity for new active adult communities.

About three-fourths of active adult communities are built in close-in suburbs and outer suburbs, and nine of the top 10 counties in the nation for recent active adult construction are located in suburbs. These numbers indicate older buyers' tendency to settle on the outskirts of a bustling metropolis. Case in point, almost 62 percent of the 55- to 74-year-old population (9,718) in Sumter County, Fla., which has the most active adult buyers in the nation—attracting buyers from Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, and Ocala metro areas—purchased their homes there since 1995. Other counties with high active adult home buyer numbers include Nye County just outside of Las Vegas and Pinal County just outside of Phoenix.

Bonnie Solomon, the NAHB Seniors Housing Council chairperson, says builders recognize the trend and are responding to market demand.

Easy Money The NAHB Women's Council, in conjunction with the National Housing Endowment, awarded scholarships to three college students committed to the building industry and their academics. The scholarships encourage young people to continue their education in housing-related programs and to pursue careers in the field. This year's grants were given to construction majors from Indiana State University and the University of Washington and an architecture major from the University of Utah.

Each year, the Council confers scholarships on students enrolled in construction technology, architecture, and similar programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocation programs. Each scholarship provides up to $2,000 to be used for tuition, fees, and books.