Fix Housing First is a diverse group of housing stakeholders – including homeowner and community groups, home builders and manufacturers – dedicated to addressing the root cause of U.S. economic troubles.



Scarcely a month old, but with a vintage idea to help the economy, a group consisting of homebuilders and an ever-growing number of industry associations is working to drum up support for an economic stimulus plan it proposes to present to Congress. 

Fix Housing First of Washington, D.C., wants to see to it that everyone who purchased primary residence between Apr. 9 and Dec. 31, 2008, will receive a tax credit of 10 percent of their home's price, capped at 3.5 percent of FHA loan limits. Depending on region, the tax credit could have a value ranging between about $10,000 and $22,000.

In addition, the group's proposal includes below-market 30-year fixed mortgage rates ranging from 2.99 percent on contracts closed between now and June 30, 2009, and 3.99 percent on contracts closed between Jun. 30 and Dec. 31, 2009.

The group said these measures would end falling home values, encourage home ownership, create jobs in the allied trades and give the overall economy a much-needed boost.

So far the group has garnered endorsements from a host of industry associations, including the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, the National Association of Home Builders, the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association, and various Chambers of Commerce, homebuilders, manufacturers and politicians. 

Pat Cleary, spokesman for Fix Housing First, said the goal is to present its proposal to Congress in an effort to have it incorporated into a stimulus package lawmakers have already promised to have waiting on President-Elect Barack Obama's desk when he assumes office Jan. 20. Cleary said the group is about a month old, but the idea behind it isn't, noting a similar idea was put into play in the 1970s to boost a sagging economy.

"This is a very compressed timeframe because Congress has committed to having a stimulus bill on the new president's desk Jan. 20," Cleary said. "Getting another stimulus bill out of Congress is going to be challenging. And, if you get one, making sure that housing is included is going to be very important."

Currently, Fix Housing First is making the rounds of the trade media representing the trades allied to the home building industries in an effort to drum up additional support for the proposal. After all, when lots of people talk, Congress tends to listen, at least that's the idea.

"This money will to go to your neighbors. This money is going to go to individuals; it's not going to go to any company or any corporate bigwig," Cleary said. "The proposal as it stands now is for the benefit of the buyer of any home ― it doesn't have to be a new one. It just has to be a primary residence. It's not for investors or 'flippers'.”

For more information on the group, see current endorsements and read the details of the proposal, visit www.fixhousingfirst.com.