Herman Farrer

As my year as NAHB chairman begins, I look forward to building on the association’s accomplishments to help more Americans obtain housing that meets their needs at a price they can afford.

Housing affordability is my highest priority, and NAHB will work with the Trump administration and Congress to overcome regulatory hurdles. We will also keep housing top of mind through NAHB town hall events and the related “Building the Dream” video series, engaging housing advocates, the public, and the policy community in conversation during this critical election year.

We will continue to educate policymakers about how regulatory barriers affect the price of housing and, in turn, burden low- and moderate-income households. Over 18 million severely burdened households are paying more than 50% of their income on housing.

By cutting through red tape in the development process, addressing outdated zoning policies, and reducing excessively burdensome regulations, we can start to combat the nation’s affordability crisis. Government regulations at all levels account for about 25% of the cost of a new home, and nearly one-third of a multifamily project’s development.

Fighting back against NIMBYism, the “not in my backyard” philosophy that counters affordable housing development, must be a key component of any solution. Smarter growth strategies that include anticipating and planning for economic growth, building more compactly and creatively, preserving meaningful open space, and protecting environmentally sensitive areas can help ease the concerns of area residents.

We also must develop the workforce to address the more than 300,000 unfilled jobs in the construction sector. The Home Builders Institute, NAHB’s workforce development arm, is expanding its efforts to build tomorrow’s skilled workforce through its programs.

A good example is the new construction trades training facility near Fort Campbell in Clarksville, Tenn., which works with active duty service members within six months of separation to connect, assess, train, certify, and place graduates in high-growth construction careers. Our student chapters help, too, by offering exposure to the building industry through educational programming, networking opportunities, and mentoring from members at NAHB’s local affiliates. With a concentrated effort, we can help young people and the public at large see that construction offers good paying, rewarding jobs that are a viable alternative to a college degree.

In 1949, Congress set forth the national goal of “providing a decent home in a suitable living environment for every American family.” Since then, our industry has played a key role in sustaining the nation’s economy and raising the nation’s standard of living. Keeping the home building industry strong means supporting millions of jobs that extend beyond the construction sector into a broad range of manufacturing and service industries.

It’s an ambitious agenda, and there is no single solution to the challenges that face our industry. As NAHB chairman, I will work to ensure our businesses and our federation continue to grow along with the economy.