On a campaign swing to the battleground state of Ohio, President George W. Bush visited the National Association of Home Builders’ Board of Directors in Columbus on Oct. 2, to thank the housing industry for helping to lead the economic recovery and to discuss the ongoing efforts of his Administration to increase housing opportunities for the workforce, minorities and others.

In his remarks, President Bush reiterated his commitment to making housing more affordable through regulatory reform and several legislative proposals. “I understand that the regulatory barriers at the federal, state and local levels can add as much as 35 percent of the cost to the homes,” he said. “In order to make sure there’s more affordable homes, we must remove the regulatory barriers on our home builders.”

NAHB plans to deliver a task force report to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson on how HUD can help break down regulatory barriers at the national level.

During his address, Bush voiced support for the deductibility of mortgage interest on income taxes, and noted several housing initiatives his Administration has sent to Congress, including:

  • The Homeownership Tax Credit, which would provide tax credits to developers or investors who build or substantially rehabilitate housing in underserved neighborhoods for lower-income home buyers.

  • The FHA Zero Down-payment program, which would remove the 3 percent down-payment rule for first-time home buyers with FHA-insured loans.

  • A request for $2.7 billion in loan guarantees and $1.1 billion for direct loans to low-income borrowers.

“It reflects very well on housing’s importance to the nation that the president was able to make time in his busy schedule to come and speak to us just one month to the day before the election,” NAHB President Bobby Rayburn said.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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