David Clark

With the fledgling economic recov-ery hanging in the balance and our industry’s future on the line, the NAHB played a leading role in convincing Congress to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit and expand it to include repeat home buyers.

Not only has the first-time home buyer tax credit been extended to sales occurring on or before April 30, 2010, but eligibility for a tax credit has been expanded to include repeat buyers and income limits have been increased. These changes should substantially increase the tax credit’s ability to stimulate buyer demand, and it is expected to create 211,000 jobs throughout the economy to get Americans working again.

The legislation also includes expanded Net Operating Loss (NOL) measures that will provide relief to businesses of all sizes, including many home builders.

Enactment of this legislation was an extraordinary achievement. With Congress focused on health care, and countless other issues competing for legislators’ attention, keeping housing front and center was a formidable task.

Members and HBAs answered our call to action by meeting with their members of Congress and staying involved at the grassroots level. Our lobbyists spent countless hours on Capitol Hill making our case with legislators and key staffers. We took our message to Congress and the public via the media. Basically, we did everything in our power to get Congress to act on our priorities.

Our hard work came to fruition in early November when Congress voted overwhelmingly to approve the legislation, which was signed into law less than 24 hours after it won House approval.

Now our efforts have turned to ensuring that as many people as possible know about the tax credits and take advantage of them. Among other things, we will be promoting the tax credits via the national media, NAHB.org, and FederalHousingTaxCredit.com, the website we created for this purpose. It is widely acknowledged as the Internet’s most authoritative source of information about the home buyer tax credits.

And we haven’t forgotten our other priorities—freeing up AD&C money and fixing the deep flaws in the nation’s appraisal process. Working with regulators, members of Congress, and other stakeholders, we are making progress on these complex issues.

More than any other event in recent memory, enactment of the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 demonstrates the true value of membership in the NAHB. At a time when many builders and associates are struggling just to survive, the NAHB has come through for its members against overwhelming odds in a way that promises to improve the economic environment and to strengthen our individual businesses.

Finally, be sure to take a look at the International Builders’ Show pre-show planner in this issue so you can prepare for the housing event of the year. Of particular note, we will be introducing a unique new feature, The Partnership Pavilion, to help members obtain financing for land development, residential construction, and light-commercial projects. At the Pavilion, representatives from Wall Street, banking interests, and private equity lenders will be on site to meet with builders, explore funding options, and discuss the deals that will help move the market forward.