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Donald Trump talks housing (and everything else) in speech to homebuilders

Republican nominee plays to the crowd, touches on housing and homebuilding

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke Thursday to the National Association of Home Builders, and in a wide-ranging speech that touched on the Iraq War, the current political climate in the Middle East, and much more, Trump doubled down on his claim that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and President Obama are the “founders of ISIS,” and even managed to mix in some housing talk as well.

Speaking before the mid-year meeting of the NAHB, Trump began his speech by telling the homebuilders that “home building is close to my heart,” and told a story about his father, who “built houses and did it beautifully,” adding that the story wasn’t meant to be in his speech.

“Honestly, I’m so comfortable in this business,” Trump told the homebuilders. “Oh, do I know you people well. You’re great people. I’ve always said that if you can build a home, you can build anything.”

Trump, in his trademark style, spoke off the cuff for much of his speech, pausing occasionally to refer to talking points, statistics, and policy plans jotted down on folded sheets of paper.

Trump chided Clinton for her use of a teleprompter in her speeches (her speeches are so short, Trump said) and proceeded to touch on a number on non-housing topics including the Iraq War, the risk of a Clinton presidency to the Supreme Court (the next president could name as many as five new justices, according to Trump), the country’s relationship with Russia (“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually get along with Russia?,” Trump asked), and his performance in the polls.

“Clinton is getting a little nervous. Crooked Hillary is getting nervous,” Trump said. “I think we’re doing better than anyone understands.”

Trump also played to his audience when discussing the U.S. trade deficit.

“We’re losing $800 billion in trade deals,” Trump said. “If I used homebuilders to negotiate, that wouldn’t be happening. We would be flush. We would be rolling in the dough.”

Given his audience, Trump did talk more about housing and homebuilding, specifically touching on the impact of regulations on homebuilders and lamenting the 51-year low in the homeownership rate.

“The housing and homebuilding business is the biggest business in the U.S., I’ve always said that,” Trump told the NAHB crowd.

“What’s happening with regulations is horrible. You’re being driven wild with regulations,” Trump told the homebuilders.

“In the last five years, regulations on homebuilding have increased 29%,” Trump said. “I was told this stat. I couldn’t even believe it. Twenty-five percent of your total cost to build a house is in regulations – your leader told me that. I couldn’t even believe it.”

The 25% of new home building cost going to regulations comes courtesy of a NAHB report from May, which found that “regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 24.3% of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale.”

Trump told the crowd, as he did earlier this week in Detroit, that in his administration, the government will enact a moratorium on new regulations. But Trump went beyond that claim in Thursday’s speech.

“There’s no industry, other than probably the energy industry,that is more overregulated than the housing industry,” Trump said. “Twenty-five percent of costs to build a house are regulations. I think we should get that down to 2%.”

And according to Trump, if “Short Circuit Hillary Clinton” is elected, the regulatory burden facing homebuilders is “only going to get worse.”

Trump later pulled out a chart (“I’m very big into charts right now,” he said. “So descriptive.”) of the U.S. homeownership rate, which recently dropped to a 51-year low.

As seen in the video below from CNN, Trump gestures to the years that homeownership rate peaked and then began to decline, stating “There’s Obama right there.”

Trump added: “And he’s not finished yet. Isn’t that a terrible picture? That’s the American Dream right there folks,” he said. “It’s homeownership. That’s the American Dream. I think that’s a pretty sad thing.”

Trump also noted the availability (or lack thereof) of mortgage credit and the negative impact that the current regulatory environment has on mortgage lending.

“It’s impossible for people to go get mortgages,” Trump said. “Unless you have a lot of money in the bank, you can’t borrow. It’s impossible with Dodd-Frank. I know people that can’t get houses.”

Overregulation is a “big problem,” Trump said. “We’ll have a massive cut in regulations,” he added. “We will eliminate all regulations that kills jobs. Hillary Clinton wants to tax and regulate our economy to death.”

Trump closed his speech with his campaign slogan of America First and another story about his father.

“I have great respect for homebuilders. I grew up with a homebuilder,” Trump said.

“I used to sit at his knee, playing with blocks, and I learned how to negotiate. From a homebuilder, a very good homebuilder,” Trump continued.

“I learned what I had and what I have from a homebuilder. A homebuilder taught me everything I know, basically. I’ve learned since then. But I learned so much from a homebuilder,” Trump said.

“You’re great people. I know so many of you. I know where you come from,” Trump concluded. “I know you are fantastic people. Now go back and build homes, create jobs and let’s make America great again.”

(Image above courtesy of: JStone /

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