Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C., issued a statement on Dec. 9 on a new report on rental housing released from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
"The report released today by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies highlights serious affordability problems for many of America's renter households, and NAHB supports many of the policy initiatives outlined in the study to meet this ongoing challenge.
"Of primary importance, efforts to reform the housing finance system must include a federal backstop to maintain broad liquidity during all economic cycles and ensure that rental housing can continue to be built and preserved.
"The report affirms this strategy by stating that 'what is most important is that reform efforts do not lose sight of the critical federal role in ensuring the availability of multifamily financing to help maintain rental affordability, as well as in supporting the market more broadly during economic downturns.'
"The Harvard study also emphasizes the importance of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the premier financing tool for the construction of affordable rental housing, and warns of the dangers in eliminating or curtailing this program. NAHB agrees with the report's findings that such an action 'would create a substantial void in affordable housing production and preservation.'
"It is clear that the federal role in ensuring the availability of financing for multifamily rental housing for low- and moderate-income households is critical. Other ways to reduce the costs of providing affordable housing must be pursued as well, such as strengthening the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, removing regulatory barriers to construction, providing gap financing to help reduce construction costs, streamlining program rules and allowing agencies to align administrative procedures across programs.
"We applaud the Joint Center for drawing attention to these critical issues and the important role of the rental housing market to the housing industry."