Finance

More than 100 US lawmakers pledge support for affordable housing legislation

FILE – Construction workers build new homes in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Low mortgage rates have helped juice the housing market over the past decade, easing the way for borrowers to finance ever-higher home prices. A run-up in rates in recent weeks is threatening to undo that dynamic, setting the stage for a slowdown in home sales this year as the increased borrowing costs reduce would-be buyers’ purchasing power. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has pledged support for an affordable housing bill that could lead to the development of 500,000 starter homes in struggling communities over the next decade. 

The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, introduced in both the House and Senate, would offer a tax incentive to developers to minimize their risk when building or rehabilitating existing housing. 

In some areas of the U.S., the cost of rehabilitating or building a home could exceed the eventual sale price. This bill would fill the “value gap,” up to 35 percent of eligible development costs for new homes.

The bill currently has the support of 124 U.S. lawmakers across 37 states, and lawmakers have stressed the urgency to pass the bill before the end the current legislative session. 

“It is critical that we get the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act over the finish line,” Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), the lead Republican sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.  

“This bill would give us a critical new tool in the fight against rising housing costs, drive investment for more homes in the communities that need it most, and work alongside other powerful tools such as the New Markets Tax Credit, Opportunity Zones, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to unleash investment and revitalize communities across the nation,” Portman added.  

The Neighborhood Homes Coalition estimates that the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act could lead to 785,714 jobs in construction and construction-related industries, $42.9 billion in wages and salaries, and $29.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues and fees. 

“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Our bipartisan tax credit builds on the success of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) to attract investment and revitalize neighborhoods,” Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), the lead Democratic sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, said in a statement.  

“By creating this incentive in the tax code, we can create opportunities for families in Baltimore and across Maryland to build equity and wealth for their family,” Cardin added. 

Most Americans in a recent poll agreed that all levels of government should work to ensure affordable housing.  

The poll from the Bipartisan Policy Center in partnership with Morning Consult found that 71 percent of those surveyed said Congress should act by passing bipartisan legislation to grow the supply of homes and improve housing affordability. 

Tags Affordable housing Ben Cardin Ben Cardin Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Neighborhood Homes Investment Act Rob Portman Rob Portman The Morning Consult The Neighborhood Homes Coalition

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