NAHB today mourns the passing of former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a statesman, housing advocate and consensus-builder who was known to reach across party lines to move important legislation through Congress. He was 76.
In his role as statesman, Sen. Isakson had a significant impact on the housing market. During the 2007-2008 housing crash and subsequent financial crisis, Isakson authored a temporary tax credit for first-time home buyers that helped stem the collapse of the housing market. Isakson also championed a temporary tax provision that incentivized lenders to work out arrangements with home owners who were underwater on their mortgages, enabling them to stay in their homes without tax penalty.
“During his time serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Johnny Isakson was a leading voice promoting pro-housing issues on Capitol Hill,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “ Sen. Isakson led the fight on the home buyer tax credit because he understood that the housing market is the key to creating jobs and stimulating the economy.”
Isakson was recently inducted into the National Housing Hall of Fame during NAHB’s Fall Leadership Meetings in Houston. His son, John Isakson, Jr., accepted the award on his behalf.
“Throughout his business and professional career, Sen. Isakson always stood up for housing and shared a strong working relationship with members of the Georgia home building community,” said Georgia builder and NAHB First Vice Chairman Jerry Konter. “He reached across party lines, worked with every peer in the Georgia General Assembly, the U.S. House and Senate to ensure that private property rights and homeownership are protected. On Capitol Hill, he was a leading voice to ensure that consumers have access to affordable home loans and played a key role in moving the debate forward on improving the nation’s housing finance system.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, Isakson began his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County office of a small family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. He eventually went on to serve as president of the company for 22 years. During his time leading the business, it became the largest independent residential real estate company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
Isakson went on to lead a life of public service, first as a member of the Georgia General Assembly, then serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999-2005, before going on to serve as U.S. senator from 2005-2019.
He is survived by his wife, Dianne, whom he married in 1968, three children and nine grandchildren.