More than 200 years have passed since the United States broke from Great Britain in a little thing called the American Revolution, but news reports from across the Atlantic suggest we still share at least one thing with our British counterparts: a seriously ailing housing market.

This week, the U.K. government announced a package of housing-related help that sounds quite similar to the U.S. legislation signed by President Bush earlier this summer. The plan includes a temporary lifting of the “stamp-tax duty” (um, weren’t such taxes what led to the Boston Tea Party?) on home purchases of no more than £175,000 ($315,315), help to financially strapped U.K. homeowners, incentives for first-time buyers, and low-income households.

Of course, just like here, no one thinks the U.K. housing rescue plan goes far enough to make a difference in that country’s housing meltdown.

Back in the States, politics have dominated conversations, both public and private, for the past two weeks as the Democrats and then the Republicans held their national nominating conventions. Wondering where the two presidential candidates stand on housing issues? Builder Editorial Director Boyce Thompson gives his take on McCain versus Obama in his blog.

(And once you’ve read those two blog entries, could you take a few minutes to answer BUILDER’s poll on the upcoming presidential election and the issues that matter the most to you as a builder? Thanks much.)

Still, the news from the GOP convention floor (what’s the housing market like in Alaska, Sarah?) couldn’t hide the fact that this week was a tough one, especially for public builders. Toll and Hovnanian both reported quarterly losses, now-bankrupt WCI lost its interim CEO, and job losses climbed while construction spending sagged.

But New Orleans escaped Gustav, so perhaps there’s hope for us all yet.—Alison Rice

Boyce on Building: McCain onHousing
With the Republican National Convention going full steam, and the housing industry still very much in the news, let’s take a look at what a McCain administration might offer in the way of a housing policy.

Boyce on Building: Obama on Housing
It’s been a while since housing policy figured prominently in a presidential debate.

Builder Bankruptcy Tracker
In an unfortunate sign of the times, builders of all sizes are closing their doors. Get the latest headlines on this difficult industry trend at the Builder Bankruptcy Tracker. Have you seen a story we should post? Let us know.

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Please e-mail any comments, questions, suggestions, and news tips to BUILDER Editor in Chief Denise Dersin at


Learn more about markets featured in this article: New Orleans, LA.