Ideas. Action. Results.

By Brian Montgomery

Who are unconventional stakeholders who can help rally support for housing?

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The health of the U.S. housing market impacts nearly every firm in the economy and every consumer. Housing plays a critical role in the performance of the overall economy, as the Bipartisan Policy Center identifies; the housing industry has historically accounted for 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The housing industry also supports 2.9 million direct jobs including architects, construction workers, real estate finance professionals, utility workers and real estate agents. The scope of stakeholders in the housing market also extends beyond the traditional actors, unsurprisingly given the widespread influence of the housing market in the economy.

An emerging stakeholder group in housing policy is environmental advocates and alternative energy industries. Especially with burgeoning demand in the housing market and limited supply, which currently stands at 5.1 months, green construction and alternative energy have ample opportunity to expand with new home construction. There is also opportunity for these industries in home renovation and home improvements.

Groups including the Green Affordable Housing Coalition, The Alliance To Save Energy, and the Green Building Finance Consortium include conventional and unconventional stakeholders in the housing market, such as the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, the Urban Land Institute, the American Council on Renewable Energy, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

These constituents support a broad range of housing issues from home improvement refinance loans to the Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE) program, incorporating energy efficiency into appraisal standards, and further investment in green energy development. Environmental advocates and green energy have a ripe opportunity to contribute to the housing reform debate considering that policymakers, lawmakers and private industry are considering how to best retool the housing market for future stability. Why not include environmental stability in the debate? A coalition of conventional and unconventional stakeholders, such as green energy, will ensure more comprehensive housing reform and will offer new voices for dialogue.

Brian Montgomery is vice chairman of The Collingwood Group LLC.

Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic. Guest posts will feature prominently on BPC’s website, as well as be shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work.

Have a pressing question you’d like us to consider? Please leave it in the comments section. We encourage you and our expert bloggers to add comments, contributing to the national dialogue on solutions for the future of the housing sector.

Expert bloggers are not members of the BPC Housing Commission. Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Housing Commission, its Co-Chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.