Housing Crises Calls for New Solutions, Apartment Groups Tell Congress

Washington, D.C.–The worsening foreclosure crisis provides lawmakers with an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and rethink our national housing policy, the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) wrote in a statement to a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the real estate market today.NMHC and NAA point out that the current situation in the for-sale housing market is unfortunate but has been made even more unfortunate by the fact that it was indeed foreseeable and preventable. The NMHC/NAA statement cites warnings from as far back as 2004 by a wide variety of housing experts, former HUD officials and consumer organizations that the nation would likely pay a high price for its “homeownership at any cost” housing policy.“We certainly understand the great concern to help people remain in their homes,” said Jim Arbury, NMHC/NAA senior vice president of Government Affairs. “But as Congress considers the various ‘solutions’ being proposed, we urge lawmakers to act deliberately and cautiously in order to avoid unintended consequences.  The primary objective at this point should be to avoid causing a full-blown credit crisis.”The groups also urged lawmakers to abandon their unqualified support to add to the already sizeable incentives for homeownership, including a pending FHA reform measure (H.R. 1852, S. 2338) that would create a federally insured zero down payment mortgage program.“We need to acknowledge that home ownership isn’t the right housing choice for all households at all points in their lives. Housing our diverse nation means having a vibrant rental market along with a functioning ownership market,” says Arbury.