Iowa homebuilders are asking Congress to include their industry in the next economic stimulus package. Willie Delfs, president of the Iowa Homebuilders Association and owner of Able Homebuilders in Sioux City, says when the residential construction industry suffers, so does the entire economy.

Delfs says, "A bad housing market impacts each person in our state, not just the homebuilders, suppliers and manufacturers, but the hardware stores, furniture stores, main street businesses, large box stores and many others." Housing starts in Iowa are down more than 40-percent from a year ago and existing inventory remains high. The results have been industry-wide layoffs and delayed or canceled building projects.

Keith Butz, owner of K-B Builders in Des Moines, says tight credit has shut down his remodeling business. Butz says: "I had on the books, ready to go, actually a contract written on a major addition project for a family that I had a deposit in hand. They were in such a panic mode and so scared by what happened with their loss on paper of their savings and so forth that I gave them their check back."

Members of the Iowa Homebuilders Association are calling on Congress to take targeted steps toward energizing the housing market. They say the proposed economic stimulus package should include below-market interest rates as low as three percent for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. They also suggest increasing the tax credit for homebuyers from the current 75-hundred dollars to at least 10-thousand.