,Construction ,Economy ,Opinion

Letter: Housing policies an important national priority


With the presidential election campaign nearing its home stretch, neither President Obama nor Gov. Mitt Romney has presented a vision on how they would get housing back on track.

The lack of substance on this issue is even more stunning when you consider the current anemic job and economic growth and that housing has traditionally led the nation out of prior recessions.

The impact of the housing downturn can be felt here in Lancaster County, where residential construction now stands at just 49 percent of normal production.

Housing stands ready to bolster job growth if policymakers do their part to protect the mortgage interest deduction, end overly restrictive credit conditions that are preventing qualified buyers from purchasing a home and builders from obtaining loans to construct viable projects, and maintain a federal backstop for housing to keep the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage readily available and affordable.

Constructing 100 homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and provides millions of dollars of desperately needed tax revenues that help local governments to provide essential services such as schools, roads, and police and firefighter protection.

Voters in Pennsylvania deserve a thoughtful discussion among the presidential and congressional candidates on what steps they believe must be taken to revive housing, which will also spur job creation and move the economy forward.

As the debate over housing policy unfolds, it is crucial to ensure that homeownership remains attainable and that safe, decent and affordable housing remains an enduring national priority.

—Scott Provanzo, 2012 President of Building Industry Association of Lancaster County