Homebuilders testifying in front of Congress this week warned that "unwieldly" federal regulations could slow the nation's housing and economic recovery.

The National Association of Home Builders told lawmakers on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that Dodd-Frank's "ability to pay" mortgage lending provision and the qualified mortgage standard created as a benchmark for safe lending could delay the housing market's recovery speed.

"The new qualified mortgage standard, which is currently being developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will define the mortgage market for years to come," said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. "For that reason, NAHB supports regulatory changes aimed at more rational lending practices, greater lender accountability and improved borrower safeguards."

Rutenberg urged lawmakers to ensure mortgage reforms are implemented in a manner that causes minimum disruption to the overall mortgage lending process.

He also said overly aggressive guidelines for the qualified mortgage rule implemented by Dodd-Frank could have the unintended consequence of pushing creditworthy borrowers out of the real estate market altogether.

NAHB also believes onerous lending policies have a negative effect on the acquisition, development and construction side of the market.  

"Our members are caught in an 'argument' between banks and federal regulators, who take turns pointing fingers at one another when we try to determine who is to blame for the serious lack of lending to the construction sector," said Rutenberg.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com