The Great Recession hit housing particularly hard, and as a result the NAHB is addressing many serious issues that will have long-term effects on the home building business environment.
To deal with these concerns, many of which are related to the broad issue of housing finance, the NAHB leadership team created several focused working groups late last year. I’m pleased to report that they are making significant progress.
The Housing Finance Policy Working Group is tackling restructuring of the housing finance system. Early this year, with the approval of the NAHB board of directors, the working group issued a detailed white paper (www.NAHB.org/GSEwhitepaper) setting out a comprehensive framework for reform. NAHB will be working with the administration, Congress, and regulators to promote the priorities set forth in the white paper. We are particularly concerned with the need to revive the secondary mortgage market and retain the viability of the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. It also is essential that there continues to be a federal backstop to the nation’s housing finance system.
The Appraisal Working Group, which includes not just builders, but also experts from the appraisal, lending, and investment communities, is developing a white paper that will serve as a blueprint for reforms within the nation’s appraisal system. Primarily because of the large number of foreclosures that have flooded the market, builders in most communities nationwide are coping daily with appraisals that do not accurately reflect the cost of new construction. In many instances, builders have reported that appraisals came in at less than the actual cost of construction. To improve the appraisal process, the white paper recommendations are focused on providing uniform standards, better data, and consistent, effective oversight.
With builders throughout the nation experiencing a severe and prolonged credit crunch for acquisition, development, and construction (AD&C) financing, the Housing Capital Working Group is exploring alternative funding mechanisms and sources of financing. It has compiled a list of potential financing sources for builder members, which is posted online at www.NAHB.org/FinancingSources. A toolkit for members seeking AD&C funds from local and nontraditional investors such as family, friends, and other individuals, is online at www.NAHB.org/FundingToolkit.
To build on the momentum created with these products, the working group is now discussing a new program to help members get funding by identifying private entities as selected or preferred “Builder Funding Resources.”
The NAHB is focused on looking to the future and ensuring that its members have the tools necessary to compete and thrive in the rapidly evolving home building environment. There’s no question that electronic communications will be increasingly important to our members in the coming years. The Digital Communications Working Group has reviewed NAHB’s current electronic communications and set the wheels in motion for a major upgrade of NAHB.org. Other electronic communications also are being reviewed to help members stay on the cutting edge of technology.
All of NAHB’s actions, whether they focus on the regulatory climate, legislation, internal efficiencies, or other issues, are about just one thing: helping members to succeed. Our members have entrusted us with this very important responsibility, and we strive every day to fulfill that trust.