NASHVILLE, Tenn.(Business Wire)The Tennessee housing industry called on Congress today to address the housingcrisis that is at the root of the nations recession. "Housing is central to our economy and is an engine of production that can leadus out of the recession," said Carbine. "But it is crucial for Congress to enacta major stimulus package to stop the decline in home values, stem the tide offoreclosures, stabilize financial markets and re-ignite consumer demand." To get the Tennessee economy moving again, the housing industry is urgingCongress to support enhancements to the home buyer tax credit and providebelow-market, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for home purchases. Specifically, the legislation should include:1A 10 percent tax credit for all qualified home buyers capped at 3.5 percent of FHA, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan limits (equaling $10,000 to $22,000 depending on geographic market). All primary home purchases through December 31, 2009, would be eligible. Repayment would be required only if the home was sold within three years. And the credit would be available at closing, making it easier for buyers to use it as a downpayment;2A below-market, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for home purchases.
The second component of the stimulus plan would provide qualified home buyers with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 2.99 percent interest on contracts closed until June 30, 2009 and 3.99 percent interest on closings between June 30 and December 31, 2009; and3Continued measures to reduce foreclosures and keep people in their homes.The housing industry representatives cited a similar plan with both a tax creditand a mortgage rate subsidy that was enacted in 1975 when the nation was also inthe midst of a recession. Phil Chamberlain of Memphis-based Chamberlain & McCreery, Inc., explained hiscompanys recent hardship. "Our typical volume has been 150 to 200 units peryear over the past 15 years, which would usually rank us from the 4th largest to6th largest in our area. In the latest data that has been released, we're listedas No 1 for the first time in home building. Turns out that six of the top 10home builders in the Memphis area have already gone out of business." "I'm a small-volume builder - from entry level to high-end custom home building- and a land developer," stated Dan Mitchell, president of Eagle CDI, Inc., inKnoxville.
"We've been particularly hard hit because we build a lot of secondhomes for people in our area. Throughout 2007, we stayed pretty steady, butstarted a dramatic decline in 2008. This is the first time I've ever had to layoff anyone throughout my 30 years in the business We're basically at astandstill. "We began our company two years ago, butI've been in the home building business in Nashville for 11 years We built 51units our first year out in 2007. Since then, we've had to let people go - thereare five of us left - and every one of us is working for pennies on the dollar.""When the housing industry is in a crisis, the entire community is affected,"continued Carbine. "Retailers, manufacturers, service providers and even thelocal government are affected. "Deterioration in these jobs has nowspilled over into virtually all sectors of the U.S.
job market and the economiesof states like Tennessee." "We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to convince Congress to quicklyenact a robust housing stimulus program. Theres no question that stopping thedecline in home values and restoring demand for housing is the fastest and mosteffective way of reviving the economy," Carbine said. To learnmore about Fix Housing First, go to ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington,D.C.-based trade association representing more than 200,000 members involved inhome building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management,subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing andother aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "thevoice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state andlocal home builders associations around the country. NAHBs builder members willconstruct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected http:// for 2009. National Association of Home BuildersLiz Warin, Business Wire 2009.