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USGNN Original StoryNAHB Executives Host Teleconference on State of the Housing Industry: Swift Action from Congress is Needed

Executives from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hosted a conference call this week to discuss the dire state of the housing market and what actions need to be taken to boost the housing market.

"This is the deepest and most rapid downswing since the great depression," said David Seiders, chief economist, for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

He pointed out that new home sales are down 65 percent from the peak in 2005.

"New home sales will bottom out this year," he said. "Sales are down 50 percent from peak to trough. That shows you just how steep and sudden this has been."

Regarding mortgage rates he said the outlook is positive but added that it will be more difficult for potential buyers to get loans.

"There is no question that housing is the weakest part of the economy and pushing the economy toward a recession," he added.

Jerry Howard, NAHB chief executive officer, weighed in on what initiatives Congress can take to help boost the housing market.

"It's incumbent upon policy makers to take action-actions they could have taken several years ago, and if they had, perhaps we wouldn't be in such trouble," Howard said. "We have to encourage policymakers to take a hard look at the housing sector."

He mentioned a bill before Congress that would reform the Federal Housing Administration and said this would be a good start. But he expressed concern over what Congress hasn't done to help the housing market.

"I'm disappointed that the economic stimulus package that was passed didn't include help for small businesses," he said. He added that the government has not taken steps to address the overwhelming amount of foreclosures.

Howard advocated a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that worked during the 1975-1976 recession.

"A similar type of proposal now would make a difference in releasing pent-up demand and diminish inventory," he said.

Declining house prices are also a huge concern. "This is a significant issue for the economy," said Seiders. "It is absolutely essential that home prices stabilize."

"Obviously we are quite concerned," said Howard. "Policymakers need to act quickly."

CLICK HERE for the Seider's forecast slides.

CLICK HERE for information on NAHB's actions urging Congress to enact temporary homebuyer tax credits.

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