Dow Collaborates with Home Builders to “Fix Housing First”
Announces donation of funds and services to support housing stimulus lobby
Midland, MI - Dow Building Solutions has joined more than 600 industry leaders in supporting “Fix Housing First,” a coalition of building industry members urging Congress and the incoming Obama Administration to support a package of proposals to jump start the housing industry.
“The housing market has been a cornerstone of the economy, and protecting the investment value of homes is critical to the success of any economic recovery plan,” says Torsten Kraef, vice president and general manager, Dow Building Solutions.
“Already, we have nearly 12 million mortgage holders who owe their bank more than what their home is worth, and with home values expected to fall again in 20091, this number will increase unless we step in with a solution,” says Kraef. “A meaningful short-term stimulus is needed to generate market activity, reduce inventory and stabilize home values.”
Fix Housing First proposes to shore up financial institutions and their mortgage-backed security products by bringing value back to the housing market. Among the improvements:
* Increase tax credits to 10 percent of the home price(capped at 3.5% of FHA loan limits). This brings the credit to a range of $10,000 to $22,000; a significant enhancement to the current $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. All primary home purchases between April 9, 2008 and December 31, 2009 would be eligible.
* Eliminate the Recapture Provision. Repayment would only be required if the home were sold within three years. Credit would be available at the time of closing, making it easier for homeowners to use it for the down payment.
* Reduce rates for 30-year fixed mortgages. Provide qualified home buyers with 30-year fixed rate mortgages at 2.99 percent on contracts closed until June 30, 2009 and 3.99 percent on closings between June 30 and December 31, 2009.
* Prevent Foreclosures. The coalition has also announced its support for continuing foreclosure prevention measures to keep people in their homes.
“Nearly three quarters of American families own their homes1,” says Scott Young, global director of energy efficiency with Dow Building Solutions. “When you raise the value of their homes, you raise their net worth, and that has a ripple effect throughout the entire economy as consumers gain confidence and increase spending in all sectors.”
Fix Housing First also supports measures to reduce loan defaults and foreclosures.
“Keeping new and existing owners in their homes is a critical second step,” says Young. Citing utilities as the largest homeowner expense after mortgages and unanticipated utility bills as the second leading cause of home foreclosures for low income homeowners2, Young says Dow is a long-standing champion of tax incentives for more efficient building structures that cost less to heat and cool.
“Upgrades in weatherization and insulation can reduce heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent3 for the average homeowner,” says Young. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), gas bills have increased an estimated 42 percent since 1999 and even a modest 10 percent reduction in gas usage can save nearly $6.5 billion annually.
Most recently, Dow played a key role in support of a coalition of organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders in extending energy efficiency tax incentives for homeowners and builders. New legislation, signed into law on October 3, 2008, provides individual taxpayers with up to $500 for qualified home energy efficiency improvements; builders are eligible for tax credits of $1,000 to $2,000.
Dow also is aligned with Habitat for Humanity and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America initiative to bring energy-saving solutions to affordable housing. Seeking energy conservation and cost savings through renewable energy sources, Dow is also partnering with the DOE’s Solar America Initiative (SAI) to develop a photovoltaic roofing shingle that provides weather protection while harnessing the sun’s rays for usable household electricity.
As an ongoing supporter of the National Association of Home Builders and its annual International Builders’ Show (IBS), Dow Building Solutions will showcase a full line of home building innovations, including STYROFOAM SIS™ Brand Structural Insulated Sheathing, THERMAX™ White Finish Insulation, FROTH-PAK™ FS Foam Insulation and Foam Sealant Kit, GREAT STUFF PRO™ Insulating Foam Sealant, WEATHERMATE™ Weather Barrier Solutions and more. Visit Dow Building Solutions’ Booth # C6313 at IBS in Las Vegas, January 20-23. For a schedule of Dow speaker presentations visit www.insulateyourhome.com/ibs
About Dow Building Solutions
Dow Building Solutions has a 60+ year legacy of providing energy saving solutions to the global commercial and residential construction industry, which began with the launch of its flagship STYROFOAM™ Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation, one of the most recognized brands of insulation in the world. A market-facing business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Building Solutions offers unsurpassed expertise to help builders, designers, architects and homeowners reduce energy costs and protect against wind, rain and moisture, while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
With annual sales of $54 billion and 46,000 employees worldwide, Dow is a diversified chemical company that combines the power of science and technology with the “ Human Element ” to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. The Company delivers a broad range of products and services to customers in around 160 countries, connecting chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.
1 Fix Housing First “The Need for Housing Stimulus” and “Executive Summary”, November 2008: http://www.fixhousingfirst.com/pdf/Ara-November-2008-12-23-08-w-background.pdf; http://www.fixhousingfirst.com/pdf/FixHousingFirst_Executive.pdf
2 Global Green Reports: http://www.thirtypercentsolution.org/modules/smartfacts/faq.php?faqid=8
3 U.S. Department of Energy http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_methodology
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