President Obama talks middle class, housing

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - President Obama is making a quick stop in Arizona on Tuesday to continue his economic conversation about the middle class.

He will spend about an hour speaking at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee, a suburb of Phoenix.

He is scheduled to focus his remarks about middle class housing.

The Phoenix area has seen a resurgence in housing in the past two years although its cooled somewhat in the past year.

The area has seen an increase in jobs much of it led by the increase in housing starts.

The Tucson area has not been as fortunate.

A look at the recent numbers on unemployment shows Tucson is still shedding jobs, although its not being led by a shrinking in construction.

"Housing prices have increased, the number of permits has increased," says DAvid Godlewski, the president of the Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association. "That's certainly good news."

The homes being built in Tucson are in the $180,000 to $185,000 range.

"Those are affordable homes," he says.

Whether the president unveils any new policy statements, is unclear.

"I don't think so," says Democratic District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias. "The feds have been staying away from the housing question during the economic downturn."

Elias says most of the housing work being done for the middle class has been done on the local level, not on the federal level.

"I think we need to get back to that," he says. "That's what the President is doing."

He also believes that the President needs to what is necessary to make sure the home mortgage deduction remains in place.

He says that's one of the things that "keeps housing affordable to the middle class."

Godlewski agrees.

"What we'd really like to have is the President make a strong statement about the preservation of the mortgage interest deduction," he says. "That's a key issue to the middle class."

We'll cover the President's visit to Arizona and see if he meets the expectations of local home builders and local politicians.

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