The current state of the Housing market is important to our district and to my work in Congress.
Congressman Young remains concerned by the current state of the housing market, especially in Florida. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the foreclosures rate in America has increased dramatically since 2006. Unfortunately, most American families continued to play by the rules, but are now being harmed by the greedy actions of a select few. This has caused many families to lose their homes, and an even larger number of good, hardworking families’ homes to lose value through no fault of their own. Congressman Young will remain supportive of measures to help the housing market return to normalcy, while working to ensure honest taxpayers are not simply bailing out businesses or borrowers who have made irresponsible decisions. Speculators who were trying to make a quick profit must not be rescued at the expense of homeowners who have legitimately been harmed by the ongoing economic crisis.
While in office Congressman Young has worked tirelessly to enact key legislation to ensure a stable housing market. Some of these measures from the 112th Congress included:
- H.R. 1498, the Promt Decision for Qualification of Short Sale Act;
- H. Res. 25, a measure supporting the current standards of the Federal mortgage interest tax deduction.
National Flood Insurance Program
Another concern for Florida, and the national housing market, is the failure to enact a long-term fix to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flooding is the nation’s number one disaster, it affects every state but most private insurance companies do not offer their own flood insurance and standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover flooding. Recognizing this problem, in 1968, Congress established the NFIP so that homeowners and buyers could purchase flood insurance for their homes. Homes and buildings in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have a supplemental flood policy in order to receive approval for their mortgage.
Today, around 90 percent of all flood insurance policies are provided through the NFIP, with nearly 40 percent of these NFIP policies held in the state of Florida. Despite our state’s huge stake in this program, the solvency of the NFIP is very important to the rest of the country as well. Every home is at risk of some form of flooding, which can result from anything from heavy rain to melting snow. Furthermore, Americans with homes in high-risk areas have only a 1 percent greater chance of flooding in any given year and about 25 percent of flood claims filed come from areas not considered to be at high-risk of flooding.
Since September 2008, the NFIP has been operating on short-term extensions that are causing even greater instability in housing markets across the country that rely on flood coverage backed by the federal government. Additionally, the NFIP currently holds an estimated $19 billion in debts, partially as a result of the 2005 hurricane season and the 2008 Midwest floods. This unsustainable debt will continue to grow until Congress acts to reauthorize this program in a fiscally responsible manner.