News & Press: The Road Home Newsletter

State of the Union -- Unfortunately

Monday, February 5, 2018  
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February 2, 2018

The State of the Union – Unfortunately . . .  

No Mention of Homeownership Struggles

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Trump covered many topics and called for unity amidst the partisanship that has colored almost every topic over the past several years.  One major theme in the speech was infrastructure development.  Many applaud this since there has been decades-long neglect.  Taking the long view, strong and modern infrastructure is necessary for continued growth and competitiveness.  However, we are very disappointed that this initiative included no mention of housing or homeownership.  The President used the phrase – “we are a nation of builders” – but there was not one mention of using a portion of the proposed $1.5 Trillion to BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING in America.

Roads, Bridges, Railways and Airports may be at “Infrastructure Crisis Stage” in America – BUT SO IS HOMEOWNERSHIP AND THE SUPPLY OF OWNER OCCUPANT HOUSING. The homeownership rate remains at 50-year lows and there is a significant and escalating housing inventory crisis.  As we see an increasing likelihood of higher interest rates, these challenges will also only increase.

Homeownership is in crisis – a stimulus is absolutely essential – along with a wholesale reduction in compliance and regulatory costs that are crippling mortgage lending, homebuilding and homeownership in America.

This was an important oversight in the State of the Union address.  While we need infrastructure to support housing and homeownership, we also need homeownership for prosperity and to provide the infrastructure support of strong communities.

The Administration’s strategy to form public/private partnerships fits well with an objective to increase sustainable homeownership.  For instance, tax credits for new homeowners constitute a short term “pass” on taxes that will tradeoff with longer term taxes paid due to increasing income and personal wealth.  As employment increases and wages rise, prosperity is the desired objective.  But the first rung on the ladder of prosperity for most lower and middle income people is homeownership.  As President Trump pointed out, all Americans are “dreamers” and the American Dream includes owning a home.  From homeownership comes lower crime rates, better health, higher levels of education and the accumulation of personal wealth – which in turn finances higher education and advancement for future generations.

All of us can support jobs training, infrastructure investment and enhanced national security – but moving forward on all these fronts without also addressing the need for affordable and attainable homeownership – that is sustainable -- will leave a huge financial and prosperity gap that can’t be achieved from a nation of renters.

Congress and the Administration must, therefore, work together to ensure that the nation's roads are more than a massive public works project of concrete and asphalt.  These plans should include fresh programs and policies that actually pave the way for Americans to better achieve the dream of homeownership.  Americans need and deserve fewer detours and roadblocks to owning a home.

The dream of homeownership has been motivational throughout our history.  Consumer research tells us that roughly 90% of those not yet achieving homeownership have a strong desire to become a homeowner in the future. We need intervention as the chronic homeownership atrophy will not correct itself. Personal liberty is usually portrayed hand-in-hand with homeownership.  At Your AHA, we will be advocating for housing and homeownership to be included in any infrastructure initiatives.  Again, strong and modern infrastructure is necessary for housing planning and development, but homeownership is necessary for sustainable growth, prosperity, and to fulfill the American Dream.

That's why, at AHA “The Road Home" is more than a slogan.  It's why we exist and what we fight for every day.

The Groundhog Says:  Six More Weeks of Winter!

Maybe some retail therapy will help -- if so, clearance sales abound.  Or perhaps it is time to get away to warmer climes – so don’t miss discounts on hotels and other travel services.  If you are planning ahead for Valentine’s Day, there are many retailers offering double cash back on jewelry, candy and other treats.  Just go to AHA Member Rewards for the latest offers.

 

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