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Home builders voice concerns

RIDGELAND — Home builders in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi participating in a teleconference conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today said they are worried that the recent improvements they have been seeing in home sales are beginning to fade with the approach of the expiration of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers Dec. 1.

Citing the prospect of unemployment climbing into double digits in the period ahead, the builders also voiced concerns over the staying power of the economic recovery that now appears to be materializing.

The panel included: Frank Pucylowski, president, JFP & Co. Inc. Ridgeland; Randy Noel, president, Reve Inc., La Place, La.; Bob Harrison, partner, H&W Construction, Jonesboro, Ark.; and, David Crowe, chief economist, NAHB.

NAHB is asking Congress to extend the $8,000 tax credit for an additional year and make it available to all eligible buyers of a principal residence. In the near term, NAHB contends this would spur 383,000 additional home sales, including 80,000 housing starts, and create 350,000 jobs over the coming year.

“I work on workforce housing — housing for low- and moderate-income working families — and it’s difficult to get anything financed now,” said Pucylowski. “There can be no meaningful recovery until the flow of credit for housing is restored.”

NAHB is also supporting net operating loss (NOL) legislation in the House and the Senate that would allow building and other industries hit hard by the recession to report their financial losses in a way that would help their businesses and prevent further layoffs.

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