By Kent Conine. Building the American Dream --the homes that are the foundation of so much that we cherish--is our industry's most important priority. And it's a priority that requires not only individual effort, but the dedication and hard work of every member of our federation.

Goals set

For 2003, the NAHB has set a number of goals to help promote homeownership, housing affordability, housing production, and rental housing opportunity. Working together, we can achieve them.

First, and most important, the housing industry will continue to be a driving force in the nation's economy, although the pace of housing production and home sales may slow slightly from peak levels as we progress through the year.

Increasing homeownership rate, particularly among minorities, is one of the Administration's domestic priorities, and we intend to support this effort to our best ability.

New secondary market

Additionally, we will be looking for ways to improve the nation's housing finance system. One of the NAHB's top priorities in 2003 will be to work toward the creation of a secondary market for acquisition, development, and construction loans.

As it has done for home mortgages, the creation of such a secondary market would help ensure a steady, reliable flow of funds for new-home construction and would lower the cost of construction loans. Ultimately, this would help builders contain costs and would promote housing affordability and homeownership.

Leading the charge

On Capitol Hill, the NAHB will work toward expanding homeownership opportunities through a tax credit similar to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit that has proven so beneficial to rental housing. We will also turn our attention to implementing the recommendations of the Millennial Housing Commission, which focuses on producing and preserving more sustainable, affordable housing.

Also on the 2003 agenda are liability insurance and mold.

Many builders are confronting a serious liability insurance crisis. Due to adverse insurance market conditions, liability coverage for builders is increasingly hard to find, more expensive, and more restrictive. The NAHB will continue supporting state legislation requiring consumers to notify builders and trade contractors of alleged construction defects and give them the opportunity to cure the alleged defects before they initiate litigation against the builder or contractor.

And some of that litigation is now about mold. Mold has emerged as a significant problem for the home building industry, and numerous lawsuits for personal injury and property damage related to problems with mold have been brought against builders, building component manufacturers, and building owners/managers. Our efforts will focus on continued consumer and builder education about mold.

Call to action

Accomplishing these and other goals won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight. But with the grassroots support of the NAHB's 205,000 members, our industry can, and will, ensure that we build the homes that America needs.

Together, we represent an entire industry more than eight million strong. Together, we can speak with a single voice that resounds far and wide. Together, we are building the American Dream!

Kent Conine

president, nahb