More NEWS FROM NAHB A Looming $1 Billion Tax on Housing President Tump’s proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — including nearly 500 products used in residential construction — could have major ramifications for the housing industry. Of the planned $200 billion in tariffs, NAHB economists estimate that $10 billion of goods used by the home building community would be subject to the 10% levy. Put another way, if the tariffs take effect, this would represent a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction. Keep in mind that this tax increase would come on top of the current 20% tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada. Since the beginning of last year, lumber prices are up more than 40% due in large part to the tariffs, and this higher cost has added several thousand dollars to the price of a typical single-family home. This is why it is absolutely imperative that the Trump administration resumes talks with Canada to find a long-term solution to this trade dispute that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices. At NAHB’s urging, 171 House members have sent a letter to the administration urging the United States to re-start softwood trade negotiations with Canada. NAHB continues to urge the administration and Congress to oppose tariffs and to resolve international trade disputes in a manner that won’t tax American workers and consumers. We are also continuing to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the United States at a competitive price. Endangered Species Act Proposals NAHB is welcoming proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act announced July 19 as a way to streamline a cumbersome and bureaucratic permitting process – and allow federal regulators to spend more time on species preservation rather than creating red tape. Builders and developers whose projects require a federal permit (typically for working in wetlands) because their property affects endangered species, or a designated critical habitat for those species, triggering the ESA’s Section 7 consultation process, must first consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers, usually resulting in permitting delays and the loss of buildable lots. Members will be especially interested in two of the proposed changes. One would streamline the consultation process by encouraging FWS, NOAA, and the Corps to agree upon a set of general requirements when it is clear that the impacts on species will be minimal rather than requiring the federal agencies to perform an individual analysis for each proposed activity, thus shortening the wait for permits. Another proposal would require FWS and NOAA to clearly specify what information the developer or builder must supply so the agencies can complete their review. These regulatory changes should help eliminate some of the time-consuming and often unnecessary permitting delays that have plagued the Section 7 consultation process since its inception. The other significant change concerns the regulatory definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of critical habitat. Here, the administration has proposed to remove controversial language that had sought to hold developers and builders responsible if federal regulators determined their construction activities could delay the development of habitat features – even those habitat features not found on their property. “NAHB appreciates this administration’s recognition that simplifying federal regulatory and permitting requirements can go a long way toward actually accomplishing important environmental goals,” said NAHB Environmental Issues Committee chairman Ted Clifton. 13 The Road to Better Building Codes This November, members of the International Code Council who are eligible to vote will make decisions on changes to the building and energy codes affecting all home builders whose jurisdictions will adopt some version of the next model codes. NAHB members from across the Federation will be called upon to make sure these changes are cost -effective — and don’t price new homes out of the reach of typical buyers. “It’s up to us. We are the voice of the American home buyer,” said NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards Chair David Sowders, a home builder in Kentucky. The good news: It’s not a heavy lift. This fall, NAHB will produce a voting guide highlighting the proposals that are most impactful on home builders. The committee is calling on the Federation to name one member in each HBA to give that guide to a local code official who will vote — either in person or online — after the upcoming public hearings on these code proposals. “We are the voice of affordability in this industry. No one else will do it for us,” Sowders said. “Most code officials see things the same way — they aren’t interested in complicated, expensive changes that don’t make homes more safe or efficient. “If just one member of each HBA gives this guide to one code official to explain why these changes are important to home builders and their clients, we’ll end up with a usable building code.” Interested volunteers can fill out the form at nahb.org/ oneanddone. A Construction, Codes and Standards staff member will contact respondents and explain the steps to take.

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