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BUILDERS ENDORSE CLINTON ECONOMIC PLAN, URGE ACTION ON LUMBER PRICES

 LAS VEGAS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Home Builders, which concluded its 49th Annual Convention and Exposition here on Feb. 22, has endorsed proposals by President Clinton aimed at stimulating the economy and is urging the administration and Congress to take immediate action on lumber prices, which have risen 85 percent since October.
 "NAHB agrees with President Clinton that long-term deficit reduction should be one of the nation's highest priorities," said J. Roger Glunt, newly elected president of the association. "And during our convention we passed a resolution in support of his goals to provide incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy, to eliminate the credit crunch, to encourage long-term investment in America's future and its people and to reduce the annual federal deficit by half over the next four years. We are also urging Congress to increase the ratio of spending cuts vs. tax increases."
 Lumber prices, which have increased by 85 percent since October, were another major concern for builders attending the convention, Glunt said. "Lumber prices increased from $250 per 1,000 board-feet last October to $464 per 1,000 board-feet as of Feb. 19. That adds $4,000 to the cost of a new home and further exacerbates the nation's housing affordability problem."
 NAHB is urging President Clinton to convene a summit to address this serious problem, Glunt said. He added that it is essential that Congress act quickly to end the gridlock in forest policy and assure an adequate timber supply. Congress must also make changes in the Endangered Species Act to allow for economic consideration in the protection of endangered species.
 During the convention, HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros told the NAHB board of directors that he wants to make HUD a positive instrument of change in the housing sector, and he pledged to meet with association leaders regularly to discuss the industry's concerns.
 "As housing goes, so goes the economy," said Cisneros, adding that the administration wants to assure that housing continues to fulfill its vital role in the economy. He also wants to spur homeownership, revitalize the nation's inner cities, expand homeownership opportunities, remove barriers to housing affordability and make progress on the nation's homeless problem.
 "We want to be a partner. We want to be a facilitator. We want to be a force," Cisneros said.
 Cisneros also announced that HUD will pursue initiatives that dovetail with the administration's efforts to create jobs and encourage long-term investment in the economy. In particular, it will push for permanent extension of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds. In addition, funds for Community Development Block Grants will be increased and HOME grants will be doubled. Further, an additional 40,000 housing vouchers will be issued this year, and by 1998, an additional 100,000 housing vouchers will be issued each year.
 Noting that FHA has gone from providing about 50 percent of multifamily mortgage insurance to less than 8 percent in 1990, Cisneros also promised to make FHA a key player in the multifamily market once again.
 Cisneros said that promoting homeownership opportunities would be a major goal for HUD and noted "it doesn't matter whether you are rich or poor, Black, Hispanic, Asian or white, the desire to own a home is held by all Americans. Buying your first home marks one's entry into the mainstream of our culture. It's part of our heritage; part of the American Dream."
 "We are looking forward to working with Henry Cisneros, HUD and the Clinton administration as they set about achieving these ambitious goals which reflect many of NAHB's priorities," said Glunt. "And we were especially encouraged that Mr. Cisneros intends to take President Clinton an important message that he has heard repeatedly throughout the nation: People support deficit reduction, but most Americans -- and that includes the members of NAHB -- want to see real spending cuts before taxes are raised."
 At the convention, which drew about 60,000 home builders to Las Vegas, the association also elected its senior officers for 1993.
 Glunt, a home builder and remodeler from Pittsburgh, is NAHB's new president. The president of the Glunt Building Co., Inc., which he co- founded with his father in 1966, Glunt has been active in NAHB and building issues at the local, state and national levels for more than 20 years. He has held a number of association leadership positions at the local, state and national levels, and in 1990, he served on the President's Advisory Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.
 Thomas N. "Tommy" Thompson, a second-generation home builder from Owensboro, Ky., is NAHB's first vice president. He is the president of Thompson Homes, Inc., and builds about 50 single-family homes each year.
 Jim R. Irvine, a home builder from Portland, Ore., is NAHB's vice president/treasurer. He is president of the Conifer Group and chief executive officer of Northwest Pacific Industries, construction, development and property management firms that build primarily single- family homes and light commercial developments. They build about 20 houses each year.
 Randy Smith, a second-generation custom home builder and land developer from Walnut Creek, Calif., was elected vice president/secretary. The Smith Company built more than 20 houses last year and has diversified into remodeling, office and light commercial construction and property management.
 NAHB's immediate past president, Robert "Jay" Buchert, is a home builder from Cincinnati who has constructed more than 1,000 houses during his 20 years in the housing industry.
 -0- 2/26/93
 /CONTACT: Jay Shackford of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0406/


CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: Nevada, District of Columbia IN: CST PAP SU: ECO PER

DC -- DC014 -- 0843 02/26/93 12:12 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1993
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