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Opposition to Legislation That Could Harm Housing Affordability

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced it opposes the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act [1], stating it would mandate “overly costly” requirements that would harm housing affordability. 

The bill would also discourage states from amending codes to meet specific needs, and could encourage the Department of Energy (DOE)  to move beyond its current role as a “technical advisor,” and bring forth “costly energy targets.” 

The NAHB, though, is supporting bipartisan legislation that offers a more cost-effective way to encourage energy efficiency. Introduced by Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) and Bill Flores (R-Texas), the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act would “accelerate cost-savings” for homeowners by requiring that any proposal supported by the DOE has a payback of 10 years or fewer. 

Additionally, the DOE would be prohibited from advocating for certain technologies, building materials, or construction practices. 

Affordability is an issue touching all markets across the nation. In June, Unison’s 2019 Home Affordability Report [2] found that it now takes 14 years for those making a median income to save for a 20% down payment on a median-price homes, meaning many prospective millennial homebuyers won’t achieve homeownership until their 40s.

The report states that the monthly payment needed to support a home purchase with a down payment of 20% grew by 12% between 2017 and 2018, far outpacing the growth of income during that period of 6%.

Unison added that it takes prospective homebuyers in Los Angeles, California, an average of 43 years to save the necessary 20% for a down payment on a median-priced home. Prospective homebuyers in Detroit, Michigan, have to wait just seven years, the shortest in the nation, to save the necessary 20%.

Increases in home prices are continuing to rise, as CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index [3]revealed home prices rose 3.6% year-over-year in May 2019. 

The report adds that CoreLogic is forecasting prices to increase 5.6% from May 2019 to May 2020. The May 2019 gains was lower than the 6.4% increase of May 2018, but a slight increase from March 2019’s 3.3%.