With our national political party conventions now underway, it is a great time to remind voters to educate themselves on where political candidates stand on issues. If you are among the more than 75 million Americans who own a home, or the millions more who hope to one day achieve the American dream of homeownership, then you will want to pay special attention to where candidates stand on the critical issues affecting housing before casting ballots this fall.
Homeownership is an ideal that Americans strongly and consistently support, and it is a goal that most families strive to achieve. Consequently, national policy has acknowledged the importance of the home in American family life for almost a century. Homeownership also contributes significantly to the nation’s economy, and can help provide millions of jobs to get the economy back on its feet.
But legislative and regulatory proposals that would greatly harm homeowners, homebuyers, the housing market and the nation’s economy are under consideration by government policymakers. These include ongoing threats to the mortgage interest deduction, instituting a standard 20 percent downpayment on home loans, and ending the federal backstop for housing, which would make the 30-year mortgage less accessible and more expensive.
The stakes are enormous. The decisions the politicians who are elected to office this year make on these proposals could not only strip away homeownership’s priority status and obstruct the economy’s ability to recover, but also reverse the housing policies that created a thriving middle class and contributed to a century of economic progress.
Housing presently accounts for about 15 percent of the nation’s total economic output, including new construction of single-family and multifamily homes, remodeling and services provided by existing homes. Building 100 average single-family homes generates 305 jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income, and $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.
But persistently tight lending standards are making it difficult for creditworthy, financially responsible families to buy a home and threaten to ultimately prevent millions of families from ever becoming homeowners.
Homeownership has always been – and continues to be – the single best long-term investment for most Americans. It is a primary source of wealth and financial security for many households, helping to provide for education, retirement and more.
Current and aspiring homeowners need to choose carefully before voting for political candidates this fall. Your vote could ultimately determine whether policies are enacted in the next Congress that impact your ability to buy a first home, keep your current home or enter into the move-up market.
For more information on the impact of housing and homeownership in the Greenville area, visit www.HBAofGreenville.com.