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NAHB: Stimulus Actions in Wake of Coronavirus

Date:March 16, 2020 

To:NAHB Members and Executive Officers  
From:NAHB Chairman Dean Mon  

Re:Stimulus Actions in Wake of Coronavirus 

With the coronavirus hitting all sectors of the economy, NAHB is working diligently to mitigate its effects on the residential construction sector.
 Our current outlook calls for markedly negative second quarter GDP growth and a jump in job losses. The Federal Reserve acted aggressively to lower the federal funds rate to effectively zero and restart a program to purchase mortgage-backed securities. These actions should help stabilize mortgage interest rates. 

In the near-term, builders should be prepared for approval and other business delays, check on their subs and workforce, and watch their cash reserves. Once mitigation efforts end to check the spread of the coronavirus, housing should be set for a rebound given low mortgage rates.

The House has passed an emergency response coronavirus bill that includes tax credits to help businesses and self-employed individuals to cover some of the costs of mandatory sick leave included in the legislation. More details on the bill can be found here.

NAHB has been invited to participate in a conference call with White House officials to discuss strategies to provide needed aid and stimulus to the housing sector in the wake of the coronavirus threat that is wreaking short-term havoc on the national economy.

We have a number of ideas we will be discussing with the White House to keep the housing sector running with as little disruption as possible. Topics include:
  • Uninterrupted processing of applications for mortgage insurance and loan guarantee programs, i.e. FHA, VA, USDA
  • Mortgage forbearance for single family and multifamilyEmergency rental assistanceEmergency HOME and CDBG funding
  • Fix Davis-Bacon split wage determinations for FHA-insured multifamily mortgages
  • Let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase AD&C loans from community banks
  • One-year extension of GSE patch on CFPB QM ruleAllow investors to use FHA203(k)
  • Restore new construction approvals in HUD condo ruleEnsuring permit approvals
  • Eliminating or suspending Chinese tariffs on goods used for home building
  • Working with HUD to ensure Section 8 funding remains stable
  • Relief for federal business license renewals, training and certification classes affected by the outbreak.
  • Ensuring there are no delays for LIHTC projects that are in the pipelineEstablish a minimum 4% LIHTC rate
  • Supporting a payroll tax cut
  • Ensuring the federal government issues permits on a prompt basis
These are just some of the issues we will be discussing. The White House needs to know that as housing goes, so goes the economy. We are just at the beginning stages of this process. We’ll reevaluate as the situation progresses and will be making more policy asks as warranted.

NAHB continues to work tirelessly and do all we can at the local, state and federal levels to assure that the housing sector continues to remain healthy during this difficult time.

As always, I will keep you informed of any significant updates as they arise.

Dean Mon
2020 NAHB Chairman

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