The housing industry disagrees over the contents of the $1.3 trillion budget passed by Congress on Friday, with the National Association of REALTORS® approving, while builders say it doesn’t go far enough in meeting the needs of the housing industry.
The bill allots $4.6 billion in additional funding compared to fiscal year 2017 for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, up $12 billion from President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the agency.
The budget compromise by bipartisan leaders in the Senate and House “significantly waters down any improvements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit,” said Randy Noel, National Association of Home Builders chairman. “The nation is facing a significant affordable housing crisis and the LIHTC is the premier program to help builders produce affordable rental housing units.”
The spending bill does not meet the affordable housing needs of the country, “particularly in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, which are still struggling to recover from the devastating hurricanes of last year,” he said. “NAHB will continue to push Congress to finish the job and quickly pass the Affordable Housing Improvements Act, which enjoys broad, bipartisan support on both sides of the Capitol. It would make a real difference by strengthening the LIHTC program and promoting the construction of hundreds of thousands of sorely needed affordable rental units over the next decade.”
Meanwhile, the NAR pushed Congress to move forward with its passage.
“With six months remaining in the 2018 fiscal year, the National Association of REALTORS® urges the passage of the ‘omnibus appropriations bill’ agreed upon by U.S. House and Senate negotiators … which is designed to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, 2018,” NAR said in a statement.
NAR explained that the 2,232-page bill contains provisions including alleviating the weakening of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from the new tax law and extending the National Flood Insurance Program through at least mid-summer.
“In addition to extending the NFIP through July, with the goal of passing a long-term reauthorization and reform of the program soon, this spending bill contains significant improvements for providing affordable housing options for low-income households,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said.
“Realtors were a key part of a larger coalition that fought for these necessary changes, and we’re pleased to see the steps taken to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to address our country’s housing needs.”
“It’s now time for Congress step up to the plate, pass the bill and fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year,” Mendenhall said.