Speaking before Congress, NAR President Gary Thomas testified that, should the government not increase its debt ceiling later this week, it would have a significant negative effect on the housing industry — and thus the economy as a whole.

As Realtor magazine explained:

He pointed to the debt ceiling impasse in 2011 as an instructive guide to the consequences of failing to act. In that situation, just the prospect of default forced up interest rates and slowed the economy, delaying the recovery from the recession by a year. “Financial market disruption, reduced consumer and business confidence, and slower job growth all happened when the debt limit was not increased until the very last minute,” he said.

Thomas said that, should the lack of a debt-ceiling deal push interest rates up even one percent, home sales would shrink by up to 450,000 units.

NAR has more on Thomas’s remarks, including two videos — click here to watch.