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Boosting the Affordable Housing Supply in Rural America

U.S. Reps. Brian Higgins, Claudia Tenney, Dan Kildee, Dwight Evans, Randy Feenstra, and Mike Kelly have introduced HR 3940, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, a measure aimed at mobilizing private investment in rural communities to construct new, affordable homes, and revitalize existing homes to attract and keep families and businesses in rural America. This legislation would support the construction or rehabilitation of 500,000 homes for middle- and low-income families.

“Between labor shortages and record inflation to depressed inventory and budgetary restrictions, the cost of building a home has skyrocketed and the price tag of buying a home is out of reach for too many Americans–especially young families in rural communities. This is a serious problem that requires thoughtful solutions to ensure that families who want to buy a home in rural areas can do so,” said Rep. Feenstra. “To keep our families and businesses in rural Iowa, we need to incentivize the construction of new homes and the rehabilitation of older structures, which in turn promotes population growth, generates economic development, and supports our thriving main streets. I’m glad to work with my colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee to introduce the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act to lower the cost of building new homes, support housing revitalization, and make the dream of homeownership attainable and affordable for our families in rural America.”

The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act establishes a federal tax credit that developers can claim to construct new housing or substantially rehabilitate existing homes in rural communities. This tax credit seeks to close the “value gap”–which occurs when the cost to build a home exceeds the price at which it is expected to sell–by covering up to 35% of development expenses for new construction.

“The United States is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and my community of Western New York is not immune,” Rep. Higgins said. “Older communities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls have aging homes with good bones, but the high cost to rehab these properties, compared to their value, causes them to fall into disrepair. As a result, neighborhoods are plagued by blighted homes and vacant lots. I am proud to join my colleagues in leading the bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which closes the value gap these neighborhoods face with a tax credit that encourages investments in single family homes and leads to community revitalization. For the families whose dreams of homeownership feel unattainable, this legislation can be a gamechanger.”

The Neighborhood Homes Coalition estimates that this legislation would spur $125 billion in total construction and development activity, support 861,000 jobs in construction and adjacent industries, generate $56 billion in wages, and produce $26 billion in federal and $12 billion in state and local tax revenues.

“It is vital that we, as a country, make equitable investments in our housing infrastructure—both for the stability of our economy and the well-being of families and communities across the country,” said Christopher Tyson, President of the National Community Stabilization Trust. “Neighborhood Homes encourages private investments in communities that would not otherwise have access to this kind of capital, creating new opportunities for families to put down roots in their own homes, strengthen their communities and build wealth for the future.”

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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