Backing AHPs In February, association health plan (AHP) legislation was introduced by Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), and Albert Wynn (D-Md.). This new bill, H.R. 525, would help alleviate the rising number of uninsured and the high cost of health care, according to the NAHB.

“The NAHB has been a strong advocate of AHPs as a solution for the skyrocketing health care costs over the past decade that have driven many small businesses out of the health insurance market entirely, forcing them to abandon coverage for their employees,” says Dave Wilson, NAHB president.

The measure, The Small Business Health Fairness Act, would allow small business owners to band together across state lines through membership in a local, state, or national trade association to leverage their size, just as large businesses do, to negotiate lower insurance costs and more options.

The legislation has the strong backing of the Bush administration and more than 160 trade associations.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is an important issue to home builders and America's small businesses,” says Wilson. “H.R. 525 would enable America's working families to receive the cost-effective, high-quality health care coverage they deserve."

Record High Sales of new single-family homes for 2004 topped one million and set a new annual sales record for the fourth consecutive year, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released in January.

“Sales were up nearly 9 percent for the year,” says Dave Wilson, NAHB president. “The record-breaking pace can be attributed to strong demographic demand, low mortgage rates, and rising employment and household income, and we expect this pattern to continue into early 2005.”

Total new single-family home sales for the year reached 1.183 million, an 8.9 percent increase from the previous annual record of 1.086 million set in 2003.

All four regions recorded solid annual sales increases for 2004. Sales in the Northeast topped 83,000, the Midwest had 209,000 sales, the South posted 546,000 sales, and the West registered 345,000 sales.

The median sales price of new single-family homes increased 12.2 percent to $218,000 for the year, up from $195,000 in 2003.