Donald Trump promises to cut regulations for homebuilders 'driven wild' by rising costs

Dive Brief:

  • During an address to the National Association of Home Builders Board of Directors Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told attendees that if elected, he would slash regulations to give the housing industry a boost, as it faces high building costs and low U.S. homeownership rates.
  • "Homebuilding is very close to my heart. That's where I grew up," he told the group during its Midyear Meeting in Miami, referencing his father's role as a builder and his own construction experience. 
  • While Trump didn't offer too many specifics about his housing and economic plans, he said he would eliminate any regulations that "kill jobs," reduce income taxes on businesses to 15%, "remove bureaucrats" who have implemented regulations that hurt job growth, and appoint Supreme Court justices who would have a positive impact on the industry.

Dive Insight:

Trump cited the May NAHB report that found an average of 24.3% of a home's final selling price is made up of federal, state and local regulatory costs. Those regulatory costs include building permits, the implementation of new worker safety regulations, tariffs on materials, and additional requirements in the home, such as fire sprinklers and carbon monoxide alert systems, according to the NAHB.

"I know what you're going through ... You're being driven wild with regulation," Trump said. "I think we should get that (regulatory cost) down to 2%."

He also pointed to the July Commerce Department report that found the second-quarter U.S. homeownership rate slipped from 63.5% in the first quarter to 62.9% — its lowest level since 1965. "It's homeownership, that's the American dream. I think that (number is) a pretty sad thing," Trump said. 

Both candidates have emphasized their plans to help boost the housing market as it continues to slowly — but steadily — recover from the recession. On Wednesday, Gene Sperling, a top economic advisor to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, addressed the same NAHB Board of Directors and emphasized that housing would be a priority for Clinton's administration.

A May Zillow survey found that economists expect a Trump presidency would harm U.S. housing markets and the nation's overall economy, while they said Clinton's more "centrist" approach would have a more positive effect on housing.

In February, the NAHB lauded Clinton's proposed $25 billion housing plan that she offered as part of her wider $125 billion "economic revitalization program." Clinton's campaign said that in order to "lift more families into sustainable homeownership," her plan would provide down payment assistance, housing counseling programs, expanded credit risk criteria beyond credit scores, increased affordable rental housing and clarification of lending rules.

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Filed Under: Residential Building Legal/Regulation
Top image credit: NAHB livestream