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NAHB Chairman's Letter: Local Advocacy With National Significance

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NAHB Chairman's Letter: Local Advocacy With National Significance

NAHB is working to create a positive business environment for members and to provide more affordable housing for Americans


By Chuck Fowke November 2, 2021
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NAHB helps members through state and local home building associations advocate for a healthy housing market. | Photo: stock.adobe.com

Being a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) means you are part of a 140,000-strong network of professionals involved in every aspect of the home building industry. That network gives us power as we push for a more pro-business environment for our members and fight against government policies that slow residential construction and drive up the cost of housing. 

NAHB has a proven track record of making members’ voices heard on Capitol Hill. But much of our advocacy work starts closer to home—in city council meetings, hearings at the county board of supervisors, and in state capitals around the country. NAHB seeks to make an impact when local or state policies have the potential to set precedent for the entire industry.

NAHB’s State and Local Advocacy resources help members—through their local home builder associations—advocate for a healthy housing market. Online resources address some of the most common issues the industry faces at the local level, such as land use planning, impact fees, inclusionary zoning, public-private partnerships, and more. 

Supporting and Advocating for Housing Affordability

NAHB also provides financial assistance to home builders associations (HBAs) involved in advocacy efforts that affect housing affordability, one of the association’s top priorities.

HBAs battling legislative, regulatory, or ballot issues that have national significance can find resources to help with outreach to state and local policymakers and the public. 

This year alone, NAHB has assisted 14 HBAs with legal battles and public outreach campaigns in California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana,  Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state. 

In one example, the HBA of Michigan launched a coalition to increase awareness of the need for workforce housing and an educated workforce to build it. Resources were used to help increase cooperation between local governments and home builders. 


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Most recently, two Florida HBAs, the Gold Coast Builders Association and the Builders Association of South Florida, were able to educate community members and leaders about the detrimental effects of high impact fees on housing affordability. The infusion of support from NAHB helped launch a public relations campaignHomes for All Now—that generated significant attention toward the issue. Most importantly, it showed the public how impact fee increases are escalating home prices in an area where those prices are already well above average. 

The Florida campaign and associated website encourage community members to ask city, county, and school district elected officials to curb excessive fees in order to increase housing affordability and invites them to sign an online petition targeted at elected officials, which demands a stop to the excessive increase of regulatory fees, and impact fees, to build new homes.

The surrounding counties are in the process of reviewing their regulatory fees for the upcoming year. The Florida HBAs hope that through their comprehensive outreach efforts, the dream of homeownership will eventually be within reach for more South Florida families. The website also shares data from NAHB economists showing that, on average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for more than $93,000 of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale—$41,330 due to regulation during development and $52,540 due to regulation during construction. As those fees increase, along with skyrocketing building materials and labor costs, more and more families are priced out of buying a new home.

NAHB Advocacy and HBA Collaboration

Impact fees are also an issue in Idaho, where the Idaho Building Contractors Association is studying a legislative proposal that would allow 100% of infrastructure needed to support new growth in the state to be paid for through new construction permit and impact fees. 

In Bozeman, Mont., a new inclusionary zoning law meant to apply to “additions” not “annexations” would mean any new land annexed will be subject to inclusionary zoning. The Southwest Montana Building Industry Association is doing a risk evaluation to determine what the outcome means to its members. 

These are just a few of the examples of the work NAHB is doing in collaboration with local home builder associations; part of the benefit members receive from advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. In a typical year, the average builder member saves thousands of dollars as a result of these efforts.

While our industry is thriving, home building remains a challenging field and NAHB will continue to work to create a positive business environment for our members. Take advantage of the resources and expertise available from NAHB and through your state and local HBAs.

 

Written By

John “Chuck” Fowke, a Tampa, Fla.-based custom home builder with 40 years of experience in the home building industry, is the National Association of Home Builders' 2021 Chairman of the Board. Fowke has been active in the NAHB leadership structure at the local, state, and national levels throughout his career.

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