June is National Homeownership Month, and officials for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) say its members are urging Congress to address one of American’s biggest deterrents from celebrating: affordability.

“Removing regulatory barriers that contribute to the increased costs of housing will pave the way to homeownership,” says NAHB chairman Greg Ugalde, a builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Home builders and the residential construction community are committed to working with Congress to ensure homeownership is within reach of hard working families.”

According to a press release issued by NAHB officials, rising costs from excessive regulation, a shortage of construction workers, tariffs on $10 billion worth of building materials and housing finance concerns have detrimental effects on housing affordability. The release also states that an NAHB analysis shows that regulatory requirements alone account for 25% of the price of a single-family home and 30% of the cost of a multifamily development.

According to the most recent NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, only 61% of new and existing homes were deemed affordable to typical households. The current homeownership rate (64.2%) remains below the 25-year average (66.3%), according to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey. Even with lower mortgage interest rates, housing affordability is relatively the same as it was a year ago, the release from NAHB officials suggests.

More than half (53%) of buyers actively searching for a home in the first quarter of 2019 have been looking for three months or longer, NAHB’s Housing Trends Report (HTR) says, noting high home prices as the principal barrier to ownership. According to the report, 78% of buyers estimated they could afford fewer than half of the homes for sale in their respective markets.

Despite those challenges, it seems that younger generations are more optimistic about finding homes, NAHB officials report. In the first quarter of 2019, prospective millennial buyers are the likeliest cohort, expecting house hunting to become easier in the future (23%), the HTR indicates, followed by Generation X (22%), seniors (20%) and baby boomers (18%). About 20% of millennials have plans to purchase a home in the next year, compared to only 15% of Generation X, 7% of baby boomers and 3% of seniors.

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