The health of housing is key for the overall state of the U.S. economy and housing stands poised to serve as an engine of job growth with the right policies in place, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told Congress yesterday.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy during a hearing examining the drivers of job creation, NAHB economist Robert Dietz said that home building and remodeling have generated 274,000 jobs over the past 2 ½ years.

“This expansion has direct economic benefits,” said Dietz. “Housing provides the momentum behind an economic recovery because home building and associated businesses employ such a wide range of workers.”

NAHB analysis of the broad impact of new construction shows that building 1,000 average single-family homes generates:

·           2,970 full-time jobs;

·           $162 million in wages;

·           $118 million in business income; and

·           $111 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.

 

Similarly, construction of 1,000 rental apartments, including units developed under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, generates 1,130 jobs while $100 million in remodeling expenditures creates 890 jobs.

Noting that 2014 should be the first year since 2007 in which total housing starts exceed

1 million homes, Dietz said this expansion will produce jobs. “In April alone, home builders and remodelers added 13,100 jobs,” he said.

NAHB estimates that total housing construction over the next few years should return to just under 1.7 million combined single-family and multifamily starts on an annual basis.

Dietz called on Congress to ensure that undue regulatory burdens do not hinder economic and job growth. “Regulations imposed by the government at all levels account for 25 percent of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale,” he said.

On the tax front, Dietz urged lawmakers to protect the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit and to enact a tax extenders bill that would retroactively extend expired tax rules such as the minimum 9 percent credit rate for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and residential energy efficient tax credits for new construction and for retrofitting existing homes.

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