Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - February 28, 2014

Homebuilders urge Congress to pass flood bill

Could preserve $8.5 billion in remodeling activity, association says

by Jeb Bing

The National Association of Home Builders urged Congress this week to approve a bipartisan flood insurance bill that it said would help home buyers, homeowners, and the construction and remodeling industry across the country.

"The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will resolve some of the unintended and costly consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act by helping current and future policyholders to keep their premiums affordable," said Kevin Kelly, NAHB chairman and a homebuilder and developer from Wilmington, Del.

"By providing measurable premium increases, the legislation will prevent home values from dropping, and it will make the National Flood Insurance Program more effective," he added.

Kelly said the bill would return the substantial improvement threshold that triggers a higher flood insurance rate to the historic 50% level of a structure's fair market value.

"This is critical to the health of the remodeling industry and could preserve as much as $8.5 billion in annual economic remodeling activity," Kelley said. "And in 53 communities nationwide, it reinstates an exemption for basements that are built in a flood-proof manner.

"The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will prevent undue hardship in the recovering housing market," he added. "We urge the House to act promptly on this bill."

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