NAHB: Making a difference for its members

NAHB - Making a Difference for Its Members_Featured
NAHB worked closely with leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure the latest recovery legislation addresses key builder concerns.

The unprecedented challenges our nation faced in 2020 led to numerous changes in the way we live, work, and spend our everyday lives. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) was there to lead every step of the way for our industry, with the same dedication and perseverance that has served our members for more than 75 years.

NAHB has a proven track record of making our members’ voices heard on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the halls of federal regulatory agencies. We also work closely with our local home builder association partners defending the interests of home builders and the housing industry in state houses, county governments, and city halls.

When you join your local home builders association, your three-in-one membership means you are automatically a member of your state association and NAHB. Our advocacy efforts include educating lawmakers to shape policy outcomes at every level of government.

This past year, that meant NAHB staff and leadership worked to address our members’ concerns in the economic stimulus packages passed by Congress. We worked closely with leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure the latest recovery legislation addressed key builder concerns, including relief for small businesses from burdensome loan forgiveness requirements, help for struggling renters and landlords with dedicated rental assistance, and support for our state and local associations that had been largely excluded in early relief measures. A permanent minimum 4% credit floor on low-income housing tax credits enables NAHB multifamily developer members to finance thousands of additional affordable rental units.

In fact, in a typical year, the average builder member saves thousands of dollars as a result of NAHB’s advocacy efforts. But there are plenty of other reasons to join NAHB. Staff expertise at NAHB includes top economists, tax specialists, attorneys, financial experts, and regulatory and building codes specialists whose research, analysis, and outreach advance the membership’s agenda. Perhaps most important is the networking opportunities that come with membership. NAHB’s 130,000 members share insights and ideas that are priceless in today’s economic climate. Joining the NAHB community expands your base of potential partners, customers, and suppliers, and connects you with people who can help grow your business or catapult your career.

Our largest networking opportunity, NAHB’s International Builders’ Show (IBS), has gone virtual this year. The IBSx virtual experience will enable members to experience an interactive showcase of the latest products, trends, and best practices you need to wow your customers and strengthen your business. Members also point to valuable services such as NAHB’s educational opportunities, including online courses, webinars, books, and software, and exclusive savings on products and services you use every day from brands you know and trust.

Our five pillars of membership—advocacy, expertise, networking, knowledge, and savings—form the foundation of what we do to help you build a better business. If you build or remodel homes, or provide products and services to businesses that do, I hope you will look at the broad range of services and advocacy support. Join us and be part of something truly meaningful.

W2W4 at NAHB

  • Wondering what current housing data means for the industry? NAHB offers an analysis of the latest government data and monthly surveys that take the pulse of the single-family housing market. Find out more at eyeonhousing.org
  • The Housing Developments weekly podcast offers news from Capitol Hill and economic analyses from NAHB CEO Jerry Howard and chief lobbyist Jim Tobin. nahb.org/news-and-economics/blogs-and-publications

Addressing members’ needs and concerns

NAHB has a proven track record on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in federal regulatory agencies. This past year, NAHB staff and leadership worked to address members’ concerns in the economic stimulus packages passed by Congress, work that will continue. And also has has been active in addressing its members’ needs and concerns on various platforms. Here are some of the key issues that have been addressed:

Housing Issues
  1. As lumber prices remain stubbornly high, NAHB continues to work with the White House, Congress and lumber producers to increase production and bring prices lower.
  2. NAHB scored major victories in the year-end COVID-19 relief package that was enacted into law. The new law provides relief for small businesses from burdensome loan forgiveness requirements, helps renters and landlords with a rental assistance package, strengthens the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, allows HBAs to access Paycheck Protection Program loans and much more.
  3. Housing will continue to be a bright spot in the economy this year as the industry battles regulatory and supply-side headwinds that will limit more robust growth.
  4. NAHB will be playing defense with the incoming Biden administration in the regulatory arena and offense on a host of issues, including efforts to bolster affordable housing programs, improve the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and enact a robust infrastructure package that contains funding for new-home construction.
  5. Safety remains our industry’s top priority as NAHB continues to lead the way to ensure residential construction workers stay on the job and reduce their exposure to COVID-19.
  6. NAHB has decided to transition to a virtual International Builders Show event for 2021 given how COVID cases continue to rise and people are wary of traveling.
Lumber prices
  1. Lumber prices have been extremely volatile over the past year. They peaked above $950 per thousand board feet in mid-September, fell to around $550 per thousand board feet in mid-November and ended January 2021 around $900 per thousand board feet.
  2. When prices began their historic rise, NAHB reached out extensively to the Trump administration, members of Congress and lumber mills calling for prompt action to address shortages in the lumber supply chain and soaring lumber prices that are harming your businesses, the housing sector and the economy.
  3. We also urged swift action on the trade front, which ultimately help lead to a more than 50 percent tariff reduction on Canadian lumber coming into the U.S. shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  4. With the new Biden administration and Congress in place, we are developing short, mid- and long-term strategies to address lumber price and supply issues.
  5. This effort is broad-based:
    • Our Government Affairs team will engage in Capitol Hill meetings, a grassroots campaign and administration briefings.
    • Communications will focus on a media campaign, a social media push, member testimonials, open letter ads and a stakeholder event.
    • Economics will quantify the economic impact of higher prices on the industry and economy and engage in industry surveys.
    • Legal is looking at antitrust issues, Canadian outreach and exploring whether other foreign nations can send more lumber to the U.S.
  6. We have already started to implement parts of this comprehensive plan – including a holiday campaign calling on lumber mills to increase production to meet growing housing demand.

  7. Moreover, on January 28 a letter was sent to President Biden urging the administration to play a constructive role in mitigating this growing threat to housing and the economy.

  8. • NAHB called on the White House to urge domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages and make it a priority to work with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement.

  9.  We also urged the President to ask the Commerce Department to investigate why lumber production remains at such low levels during a period of high demand.

  10. NAHB is redoubling its efforts in this new political climate and continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber for the home building industry at a competitive price.

COVID-19 Relief Package

1. The $900 billion coronavirus relief package recently approved by Congress includes significant provisions that NAHB championed. Three major builder concerns addressed in the legislation include:

    • Relief for small businesses from burdensome loan forgiveness requirements.
    • Rental assistance for struggling renters and landlords.
    • Funding for organizations such as state and local HBAs.

2. NAHB championed several more policies that are also contained in the relief package, including:

    • A permanent minimum 4% credit floor on low-income housing tax credits that will allow multifamily developers to finance thousands of additional affordable rental units; and
    • An extension of temporary tax provisions for newly built energy-efficient homes and for homeowners who engage in remodeling activities.

3. View further analysis on the following areas of the $900 billion rescue package that will benefit members:

Housing an economic bright spot; regulatory, affordability challenges persist

1. With strong housing demand and low mortgage rates, home building is poised for another solid year in 2021.

2. A geographic shift in where people are choosing to live is also affecting the housing industry, as lower-density areas become more popular.

3. However, regulatory and supply-side challenges could harm housing affordability, slowing momentum and limiting growth.

4. Builders are grappling with constraints related to:

  • Lumber and other material costs;
  • A lack of affordable lots, and labor shortages that delay delivery times and put upward pressure on home prices; and.
  • A changing regulatory climate that will further erode housing affordability and make the tight inventory environment worse.

5. Despite these regulatory and supply-side headwinds, NAHB is forecasting ongoing gains for single-family production in 2021, though at a slower growth rate than in 2020.

6. NAHB expects single-family construction will exceed 1 million starts in 2021 — the first time since the Great Recession.

7. Remodeling will remain strong as people continue to upgrade existing homes.

8. The multifamily construction market will experience weakness as rent growth slows and vacancy rates rise. However, the development market should stabilize by 2022.

What the incoming Biden Administration means for housing

1. NAHB will work with the incoming Biden administration to ensure that housing can continue to lead the economy forward and we expect to be playing offense and defense with the new administration.

2. On offense, NAHB will work with the Biden administration to bolster affordable housing programs, improve the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and support a robust infrastructure package that includes funding for new-home construction.

3. NAHB is also supportive of Biden’s concept to create a new, refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000 to help families buy their first homes and build equity.

4.  NAHB will be playing defense in the regulatory arena and looking to lock in gains that were made in the Trump administration.

5. President Biden has already issued several executive orders to review all the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions concerning climate change, energy efficiency, the environment and more.

6. NAHB will work to ensure this new regulatory climate does not worsen housing affordability. For example, NAHB will fight to ensure the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – which replaced the much more onerous Obama-era waters of the U.S. rule – remains in effect.

7.  These are among the same issues that NAHB will be fighting for in Congress.

8. NAHB will be looking to work with both parties in a bipartisan manner to advance policies that will provide more homeownership and rental housing opportunities for all Americans.

Jobsite safety

1. NAHB worked hard to have home building designated as “essential infrastructure workforce” at the federal, state and local levels to allow our industry to continue building homes.

2. The safety measures taken by home builders and remodelers have allowed our workers to stay on the job without jeopardizing their safety.

3. NAHB, in collaboration with the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, developed a comprehensive Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan for Construction that outlines the steps every employer and employee should take to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.

4. Safety will always be our industry’s number one priority. This COVID-19 guidance complements NAHB’s year-round Safety 365 campaign that provides information and resources to help keep construction workers safe and eliminate preventable accidents, injuries and deaths.

5. And with COVID-19 cases surging this winter, NAHB last month called for another nationwide safety stand down during the week of Jan. 11-15. Employers were asked to halt work for at least 10 minutes during that week to remind workers what they should do to keep themselves safe from coronavirus and to help reduce its spread.

Virtual IBS

1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 NAHB International Builders’ Show has transitioned to a virtual event.

2. However, the exclusive IBS opportunities that attendees have come to expect from the in-person event will still exist — and even expand — to bring the home building industry together online during the IBS Virtual Experience (IBSx), Feb. 9-12, 2021.

3. IBSx will showcase the must-have new products, tech and innovations that builders, remodelers and other residential construction industry pros will want to include in their upcoming projects.

4. The latest trends, insights, tips and best practices will all be available at your fingertips — offering you everything you need to wow your customers.

5. Learn more and register at BuildersShow.com.

Chuck Fowke - NAHB Chairman
Chuck Fowke, NAHB Chairman

WRITTEN BY
Chuck Fowke

John “Chuck” Fowke, a Tampa, Fla.-based custom home builder with 40 years of experience in the home building industry, is the National Association of Home Builders’ 2021 Chairman of the Board. Fowke has been active in the NAHB leadership structure at the local, state, and national levels throughout his career.

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