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NAHB and the International Housing Association (IHA) worked to include principles of housing affordability in the agenda at the recent meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) countries. Housing ministers from the G7 countries met in Japan in July to discuss a common framework and principles for urban development and rural housing. The United States was represented by Marcia Fudge, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As a result of the meeting, the G7 countries agreed to include housing affordability as a key principle when discussing urban development.

“We stress that issues surrounding housing affordability, namely the availability of affordable and adequate quality housing, need to be addressed through targeted investments from all levels of government, particularly through the provision of public and private housing for lower and middle income households,” the official language in the meeting’s communique read.

The NAHB and IHA celebrated the statement as a “huge achievement,” recognizing the importance and significance of housing leaders from the G7 highlighting the crisis level of housing affordability. BUILDER spoke with the NAHB CEO Jim Tobin to gauge the significance of its international actions as well as expected next steps after addressing housing affordability on a global stage.

BUILDER: Has the NAHB taken similar international actions previously to ensure the prioritization of housing affordability?

Tobin: NAHB has long served as the secretariat of the IHA. In this role, NAHB works collaboratively with housing groups from around the world to explore and address common issues related to housing and home building, and most recently this includes housing affordability. We have not taken an advocacy action like this before on the international level, so having housing affordability discussed at the G7 meeting is quite significant for NAHB and IHA.

BUILDER: Why does the NAHB feel it is important to encourage and advocate for this topic on an international level?

Tobin: Housing is a global issue, and there is much to learn from one another being a part of IHA. We can share winning tools and techniques to address issues common to all of us. Housing affordability is a growing challenge for citizens all over the world and is key to all members of IHA.

BUILDER: What actions, outcomes, and next steps are expected?

Tobin: Having the G7 countries include housing affordability as a key principle when discussing urban development was a huge achievement for NAHB and IHA. We will keep pushing for solutions to address housing affordability with our international housing partners. We feel like this is just the beginning of taking the issue of housing affordability to the next level internationally.

BUILDER: What further actions has the NAHB taken or does the association plan to take in regard to the issue of housing affordability?

Tobin: Housing affordability has been, and continues to be, a top priority for NAHB. There’s no “silver bullet” solution to this crisis. The effort requires comprehensive strategies at the federal, state, and local levels to reduce building costs, boost supply, and empower home buyers with a mix of housing choices.