The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) today added its voice to a coalition of builders and construction suppliers urging Congress to approve a housing stimulus plan this year.

NLBMDA called on Congress to enhance and extend the Home Buyer Tax Credit for primary residences purchased between April 2008 and December 2009, to up to 10% of the home price up to a maximum of $22,000, depending on geography. In addition, buyers should have access to discounted 30-year fixed-rate mortgage financing that would encourage eligible home buyers to enter the market.

The recommendation is the same as has been proposed by Fix Housing First, a coalition of builders and manufacturers that also includes ProBuild, 84 Lumber and Builders FirstSource.

"In 1975, Congress passed a short-term home buyer tax credit for all new homes, coupled with subsidized mortgage rates. This stimulus jump-started the depressed housing market then and the effects continued long after the measure expired," NLBMDA President and CEO Michael O'Brien said in a statement. "We believe Congress must once again take bold action to restore consumer confidence in the market."

NLBMDA added two other proposals of its own:

  • Extending bonus depreciation and increased Section 179 expensing provisions for at least one year, to further promote investment during the current economic downturn. The Economic Stimulus Act signed into law in February temporarily created a 50% depreciation bonus and increased the amount that small businesses can expense under Section 179 to $250,000, but those provisions are due to expire at the end of 2008.
  • Extending net operating loss (NOL) carryback provisions from two years to five to allow building material dealers to discount current losses against past profits.

"Taken together, these proposals will go a long way toward reviving the housing economy, which is key to overcoming our current economic crisis," O'Brien said. "We are calling on all our members to contact their members of Congress to urge quick action."