The National Housing Conference applauds President Obama’s choice to highlight housing issues in his speeches leading up to the State of the Union address and in connecting to those same themes in the address itself. Getting housing policy right is essential to keeping our economy on a path of recovery coming out of the great recession and to ensuring that all in America can achieve a brighter future.
The president’s announcement that FHA will charge homebuyers less for its mortgage insurance is a step in the right direction. For several years now, FHA has had historically high premiums to restore capital to its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Now that the fund is in a stronger position, it is wise policy to lower the premiums to reduce costs for homeowners and make FHA mortgages more competitive without exposing FHA to significant additional risk.
But the cost of housing, either owned or rented, is beyond the reach of too many hard-working people. NHC’s recent Paycheck to Paycheck study found that a typical home health aide can afford to buy a median-priced home in only one of 210 metro areas nationwide and can afford to rent a two-bedroom home in only 18 metro areas.
“Homeownership and rental housing must go hand in glove if we are to ensure a strong and sustainable housing market for all in America,” said Chris Estes, President and CEO of NHC. “Over and over research has shown that a stable home, regardless of whether it’s rented or owned, is what empowers individuals, families and communities to be successful.”
NHC calls on the federal government to strengthen its commitment to ensuring safe, decent, and affordable housing for all. Among the proven solutions recognized by, among many, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission are the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the HOME Investment Partnerships program, which help to create and preserve affordable rental and owned housing. Rental assistance though the Section 8 and Housing Choice Voucher programs, other federal programs working to end homelessness, and our long-neglected public housing stock are also part of the solution to creating stability and opportunity. We strongly encourage full federal support for these tools that create affordable, healthier homes and stronger communities for all in America.
About the National Housing Conference
The National Housing Conference represents a diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, Realtors®, equity investors, and more, all of whom share a commitment to safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. We are the nation’s oldest housing advocacy organization, dedicated to the affordable housing mission since our founding in 1931. We are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together our broad-based membership to advocate on housing issues. Learn more at nhc.org.
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