Homebuilder Groups Say Fix Housing First

February 11, 2009

From The Business Journal of McHenry, Illinois

The National Association of Home Builders has devised its own housing recovery plan dubbed “Fix Housing First.” It calls for Congress to support enhancements to the homebuyer tax credit, to provide below-market interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and to continue foreclosure prevention measures.

The coalition of more than 600 organizations, home building companies and manufacturers recommends a homebuyer tax credit equal to 10 percent of the home’s value – ranging from $10,000 to $22,000. This is nearly three times the $7,500 credit Congress offered to new buyers recently.

Tom Stephani,  president of Stephani Enterprises of Crystal Lake, said there were a few positives to the housing impasse. He predicts more diversity of housing stock through an influx of independent builders. Also look for smaller, energy efficient homes with flexible floor plans and an increase in transit-oriented developments.

Alan Lev, former president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago and head of Belgravia Group Ltd. in Chicago, said he was “hard-pressed to find a silver lining” with so many companies going under and so little help in the offing.”

Lev also would like to see relief in impact fees, an up-front home cost meant to cover costs of classrooms, culverts, roads, and recreation. But that is just part of the puzzle. If the logjam is not reduced soon, the balance could tilt in the opposite direction.

To read the entire story as published in the The Business Journal, click here.

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