It is a great honor to serve as NAHB’s 2019 chairman, and I am looking forward to leading our federation this year as we work to strengthen and improve the business environment for home building.

Addressing ongoing housing affordability concerns will be at the top of our agenda, and we will be looking to Congress to play a constructive role in crafting practical solutions to problems contributing to the nation’s housing affordability crisis.

One of the most pressing problems for our industry is excessive regulation. On average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for nearly 25% of the price of building a single-family home and over 30% of the cost of a typical multifamily home. The NAHB is working with the Trump administration to identify opportunities for regulatory reform, and we have made a lot of progress pushing back against specific regulations imposed by federal agencies. NAHB believes Congress must reassert its oversight authority over rulemaking agencies and that efforts to further regulate the housing industry must be subject to greater public scrutiny and based on sound data.

Another major concern for home builders is a chronic labor shortage that is resulting in higher construction costs, increased home prices, and lower economic growth. The NAHB is promoting industry careers and trades education at the state and local levels, through extensive HBI programs and a variety of programs conducted by state and local home builder associations. We are also urging Congress and the administration to promote job training programs to prepare people for careers in home building. Additionally, policymakers should pursue immigration policies that complement vocational training efforts and help fill labor gaps while protecting the nation’s borders.

Ensuring that single-family and multifamily housing credit remains readily available and affordable is also necessary. Congress should enact comprehensive housing finance reform that maintains a limited federal backstop to the nation’s housing finance system. This is needed to ensure the continued availability of the affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that has enabled millions of American families to build wealth and financial security through homeownership.

On the rental side of the housing affordability equation, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is the premier program to help builders produce affordable rental housing units. Legislation to improve and enhance the LIHTC would promote the construction of much needed rental apartments.

The trade war on lumber, steel, aluminum and other imported materials and equipment is needlessly pushing up housing costs. NAHB urges the administration to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada and to resolve the trade dispute with China. Since the U.S. must import about one-third of the lumber it needs, lawmakers should also address ways to increase the supply of timber from public lands to meet domestic needs.

To continue the stability and growth of the housing market, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) must remain available, affordable, predictable, and financially stable. NAHB urges Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization before the NFIP expires on May 31.

That’s a big agenda with important goals, and I am confident that, together, we can make real progress on behalf of NAHB’s members and the customers they serve.