Home builders from the United States and Mexico have forged an agreement that is intended to open up more trade channels and improve the affordability and efficiency of the home-building process, the National Association of Home Builders announced today.

Mexico has plans to build more than 1 million new homes for low-income and moderate-income households for each of the next three years, with an expected 4.5 percent annual growth rate in housing production, said Bobby Rayburn, president of the association. And President George W. Bush had announced a goal of increasing U.S. minority home ownership by 5.5 million families within the decade.

“Mexico is a great place for NAHB members to explore their opportunities for bringing goods and services to the international forum. On the flip side of the coin, our colleagues from south of the border will have a chance to tap into the booming U.S. housing marketplace and all it has to offer. Any way you cut it, it’s a win-win situation,” Rayburn said.

He added, “(This agreement) will increase cross-border ties between home builders and provide greater opportunities for businesses on both sides to expand to the international marketplace.”

Signatories of the agreement included Rayburn and Héctor Aguirre, President of the Cámara Nacional de la Industria de Desarrollo y Promoción de Vivienda (CANADEVI), which is also known as the National Industry Chamber for Development and Promotion of Housing and is the NAHB’s sister organization in Mexico.

Both the United States and Mexico have substantial demand for affordable, workforce housing in high-growth areas.  In addition, both governments have established housing goals that the newly signed agreement could help achieve. At his inauguration, President Vicente Fox established housing as a national priority in Mexico and promised to ramp up production of new homes across the board. Meanwhile, President Bush has established the goal of increasing U.S. minority homeownership by 5.5 million families this decade – a feat that would generate $256 billion for the domestic economy.

The U.S. Commerce Department provided a $398,000 grant to NAHB last year to support cooperative endeavors through the association’s Access Mexico project, a project that is designed to facilitate enhanced trade, information exchange, and technology sharing between housing sectors in the two countries.

The program is part of a broader alliance between the two nations, called the Partnership for Prosperity, which was established by U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexico President Vicente Fox in February 2001.

The NAHB and CANADEVI will participate in the second International Housing Conference of the Americas, scheduled for Nov. 7-10 at the Four Seasons hotel in Mexico City. The conference is intended as a foundation for sharing information between builders in both countries.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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