Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - October 14, 2011

Economic recovery needs new housing construction, builders say

Inventory of new homes for sal at record low

by Jeb Bing

While the nation may have added 103,000 new jobs in September, the federal employment report showed relative weakness, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Particularly as the numbers relate to the residential construction sector, this sector remains far below its job-creation potential in the absence of policies to restore the health of the housing marketplace, NAHB representatives said.

"We are seeing now what an economic recovery looks like without housing, and the picture is hardly encouraging," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.

"We need to address anti-housing impediments to home builders creating jobs in countless communities across the land," he added.

The inventory of new homes for sale is at a record low and there are many areas of the country that are approaching a housing shortage. Tight credit conditions are preventing builders from meeting this emerging demand, putting workers back on the job and helping the economy move forward.

Further exacerbating the situation is today's pervasive anti-housing climate in Washington, said Nielsen.

"Leaders in Washington must stop scaring consumers by talking about eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, ending a federal backstop for housing and calling for a minimum 20% down payment on home loans," said Nielsen. "This is counterproductive and harms consumer confidence, the housing market and the nation's economy."

Housing normally accounts for more than 17% of gross domestic product. Building 100 single-family homes would create 305 full-time jobs and $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.

"Getting housing back on its feet would be a shot in the arm for consumer confidence, boost job growth and lead to a long-lasting economic recovery," said Nielsen.

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