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Dick Turpin

Policy Sought on Affordable U. S. Housing

April 05, 1987|Dick Turpin

Three of the housing industry's strongest components have joined forces to pressure the Reagan Administration into adding some muscle to its housing policy.

Since 1980, there has been no housing legislation, and the federal housing budget is now 60% less than it was then. In the words of William M. Moore, president of the National Assn. of Realtors, the Administration "is rudderless when it comes to a housing policy."

His group has joined with the National Assn. of Home Builders and the Mortgage Bankers Assn. to form a potent lobbying entity for implementation of a comprehensive national housing policy. They hope also to add the American Banking Assn. and the savings and loan associations to their Big-Three ranks.

In a policy statement, the three organizations state their goal: a commitment from the federal government to establish guidelines to ensure adequate and affordable housing for all Americans.

"Recently . . . housing policy has suffered in the debate over the proper size and functions of the federal government and on how the federal government should relate to state and local governments and to the private sector in meeting the needs of society, the statement declared.

"The impact of the resulting policy shifts has not been uniform among economic sectors; housing, in particular, has borne more than its share."

Moore, in a meeting with local media, cited the drop in home ownership throughout the country since 1980 when the rate had peaked to 66%. But by 1986, it had dropped to 64% and will continue to fall unless policy changes take place, he warned.

He added that although housing came out a winner in tax reform--homeowners can still deduct taxes and mortgage interest--low- and moderate-income families still must have help from government agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration to guarantee their home mortgages and to buy homes without a down payment.

They want a "sense of permanence" in knowing that the FHA and the VA will continue to exist.

Coincidently, the VA guaranteed its 12 millionth home loan for an Army veteran in Phoenix last month.

Dale Stuard, first vice president of the NAHB, testifying before the House subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs, urged Congress to reject proposed cuts in the Reagan Administration's housing budget while supporting a bill that would provide for permanent FHA insuring authority.

"FHA's insuring authority was permanent for 27 years of the program, and we believe the time has come to restore permanent authority in order to avoid costly delays in the FHA program that we experienced last year," he said.

Stuard was referring to the agency's problems during 1986, when its authority to insure homes expired six times.

That resulted in closing down the FHA for 50 working days and delaying efforts of about 500,000 potential home buyers.

The three organizations represent about 1 million professionals from home construction, real estate, mortgage banking and other related fields.

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