July 2011: Government Affairs

Words: Dan Kamys Government Affairs Home Construction Lending Regulatory Improvement Act of 2011

The Great Recession has hit the housing industry particularly hard. More than 1.4 million housing jobs have been lost since April 2006, and unemployment in the construction sector is running at a whopping 16 percent. This is clearly unacceptable.

In order to reverse this trend, I have introduced legislation with Gary Miller that will help put Americans back to work and provide a much-needed boost to the housing industry. H.R. 1755, the Home Construction Lending Regulatory Improvement Act of 2011, is designed to restore lending for viable home-building projects and discourage lenders from calling construction loans where payments are current.

Credit is the lifeblood of the housing sector, but in the current regulatory climate, credit for new housing production has been choked off. This has significant repercussions for the many professions who rely on a healthy housing industry for their livelihoods. When new home production remains dormant, roofers, carpenters, bricklayers, electricians and scores of workers in many other trades are idled.

Some markets have a glut of homes for sale, but inventories of new homes are nearly depleted in other markets. In these markets, builders should be gearing up to meet demand, create new jobs and keep the expansion moving forward. Unfortunately, production remains stymied, because builders in these locations cannot get credit from lending institutions to begin work on new homes.

Home builders cannot keep their doors open and create jobs in their communities if they cannot get credit to build even pre-sold homes. And, builders in the middle of sound projects cannot pay subcontractors and other materials and service providers, if lenders will not grant routine loan extensions, or if banks require payment in full before homes can be finished and delivered.

Restoring the flow of credit to housing will provide a positive ripple effect in communities across the nation as construction workers spend their income locally and building supply companies expand, hire more employees and pay additional taxes as they sell to home builders.

Factoring in the effect of the housing downturn on industries like masonry that provide materials and services to home builders, the total impact of the housing slump has been the loss of more than 3 million jobs and $145 billion in wages in all housing-related industries.

When you consider the enormity of the total number of jobs attached to housing, a sector that accounts for 15 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, enacting this legislation is vital to putting our nation back to work.


Brad Miller is serving his fifth term from North Carolina’s thirteenth Congressional District. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2002, Rep. Miller currently serves on three subcommittees on the House Financial Services Committee - Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE); Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee; and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
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