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GUEST OPINION: Reynolds has taken leadership stance on housing


As the 2012 election season heats up, presidential and congressional contenders have largely avoided any mention about housing or home ownership, even though the consensus among most economists is that there can be no long-term economic recovery until home prices stabilize and the housing market rebounds.

Not all politicians have turned a blind eye to this critical issue. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds should be commended for her leadership role in helping to pass a recent resolution by the National Lieutenant Governors Association that calls on the president and Congress to “act with a sense of urgency to address the nation’s housing crisis in a meaningful and responsible manner, while avoiding any legislation or regulatory actions that will inhibit the recovery of the homebuilding industry.”

Constructing 100 single-family homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and adds millions of dollars in federal, state and local tax revenues that are essential to many cash-strapped municipalities that lack funds for vital services such as local schools, road and infrastructure maintenance, and police and firefighters. Through the first half of 2012, nearly 1,750 residential permits have been issued in the Des Moines metro area (1,022 single-family and 719 multifamily units), with an expectation of nearly 3,500 by the end of the year. Thirty-five hundred new residential properties equates to creating more than 10,500 new jobs in the metro in both the construction industry and the community at large to serve those new residents, adding millions of dollars to the Des Moines and Iowa economies.

Recent surveys by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and TD Bank underscore that American voters fervently believe that owning a home remains a core value and that home ownership plays a critical role in our nation’s social fabric and economic well-being. As policymakers debate how to boost the economy, they must understand that restoring housing to full health is essential to create jobs, stabilize home values and strengthen local communities. This is a powerful message that is sure to resonate with voters here and across the nation who will cast their ballots in November.

Thank you, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, for your leadership on this important housing recovery issue.

Creighton Cox is the executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines.

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