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NAHB Chairman's Letter: A Look Back, Ahead, and a Note of Thanks

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NAHB Chairman's Letter: A Look Back, Ahead, and a Note of Thanks

NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke looks back at the association's victories last year and ahead to challenges for home builders in 2022


By Chuck Fowke, NAHB 2021 Chairman January 6, 2022
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"Because of you and our partnership, housing has been a bright spot in the nation’s recovery," says NAHB outgoing chairman Chuck Fowke. | Photo: bluedesign / stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the January 2022 issue of Pro Builder.

As my time as chairman of the National Association of Home Builders comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the association and our industry over the past year. I’m proud of the strength and resilience home builders have shown against unprecedented challenges.

Because of you and our partnership, housing has been a bright spot in the nation’s recovery. Our challenges included supply constraints that led to surging prices for building materials such as lumber, copper, steel, and appliances. NAHB staff and member volunteers pushed for lasting solutions as supply disruptions drove up the cost of lumber. We were at the forefront, educating Congress, the White House, and key stakeholders on the urgent need for action. Our year-long advocacy efforts culminated in a White House supply chain summit.

NAHB developed tools and online resources to help members navigate the supply chain crisis. We also pushed the story to the public through national and local news media. We emphasized the effects of high lumber prices on new-home prices, as well as the important role home building plays in the overall economy. Analysis shows that those efforts delivered $79 million worth of earned media in the past year, including more than 14,000 news articles from media outlets in all 50 states that featured our economic data and leadership insights.

We continue to push for a reliable supply of reasonably priced lumber. The latest challenge comes from a recent decision by the Commerce Department to move forward with its next administrative review to double tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. from 9% to 18%. NAHB strongly opposes the move and continues to urge the administration to negotiate a long-term agreement with Canada on softwood lumber.


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Another challenge was an eviction moratorium that made it difficult for many members to continue in the rental market. NAHB achieved an important legal victory when a federal court ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the authority to issue an eviction moratorium, specifically on NAHB members who were current as of October 2020. All other landlords had to comply until the Supreme Court overturned the moratorium this past August.

NAHB also successfully advocated for emergency rental assistance to help renters and landlords affected by the pandemic and to stabilize the rental housing market. And when Congress made available $46 billion in emergency rental aid, NAHB pushed state housing finance agencies to disburse those funds to multifamily property owners impacted by unpaid rents. 

In a case brought by NAHB and Michigan builders, a federal court ruled that all NAHB members who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can have their loans forgiven. The win benefited NAHB members, including many spec-home builders, multifamily property owners, and land developers that had originally been deemed ineligible for PPP loans. 

Many challenges remain as I pass the torch to my successor, Jerry Konter of Savannah, Ga. But almost two years into this global pandemic, builder confidence remains high—and it should be. NAHB is made up of forward-looking, can-do individuals. I am grateful for your partnership, support, and shared commitment to our industry. I look forward to working with all of you as we continue to build a bright future for the residential construction industry.

 

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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