In a major initiative to make housing a central part of the new economic stimulus package, NAHB and its allies in the Fix Housing First coalition will be converging on Capitol Hill this week to present an aggressive plan that would create jobs and stimulate home sales in 2009.

“Congress must address the root problems of rising foreclosures, declining home values and falling home sales-all of which are killing the economy, undermining the financial system and resulting in hundreds of thousands of layoffs month after month,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “That’s the message we will be delivering when more than 150 builders come to Washington January 7 in a targeted fly-in focused on key members of Congress.”

To restore confidence and get buyers back in the housing market, moves that Dunn claimed “would help slow foreclosures and put a cushion under property values,” NAHB is calling on Congress to buy down mortgage rates as low as 2.99 percent and expand and broaden the tax credit for home buyers enacted earlier this year. In addition, NAHB is supporting the proposed FDIC foreclosure relief proposal that could be funded out of the $350 billion still remaining in the Troubled Asset Relief Program administered by the Treasury Department.

Enactment of an expanded tax credit along with the mortgage buy-down program would create 600,000 jobs with a payroll of $29 billion and generate 1.2 million additional home sales during the first year, according to an analysis by NAHB economists. A revived housing market would quickly ripple through the entire economy, stabilizing mortgage assets held by financial institutions, generating $23 billion in business activity tied indirectly to the housing market and bolstering federal state and local tax coffers by $21 billion.

The Capitol Hill visits in January will be focused on the most influential members of Congress in the stimulus debate. Visits will target House and Senate leadership, members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, as well as key members of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees. In all, NAHB has identified 90 lawmakers from 38 states.