NAR Ready to Fight for Homeownership Future

NAR Ready to Fight for Homeownership Future 
ORLANDO, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 11/09/12 --  The next few years will
be pivotal for the future of homeownership in this country, according
to 2013 National Association of Realtors(R) President Gary Thomas in
a news conference today during the 2012 Realtor(R) Conference and
Expo. 
"For most of this nation's history, homeownership has been an
investment in our collective futures," said Thomas, broker-owner of
Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. "Realtors(R) know our country
faces some tough choices ahead, but we also understand the vital role
that real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of
this nation. Our country's continued commitment to homeownership is
part of what has made us strong; I think Franklin Delano Roosevelt
said it best -- 'A nation of homeowners is unconquerable.'"  
In 2013, Thomas explained, Congress is expected to focus on tax
policy and reform to address the federal debt. As policymakers
struggle to balance federal spending and revenue, programs and
benefits that encourage homeownership may be affected. One popular
and effective incentive is the mortgage interest deduction. 
"Last year, NAR secured 183 bipartisan cosponsors for a House
resolution that emphasized continued support for the current federal
income tax deduction for mortgage interest, and we will continue to
work with members of Congress on the consumer's behalf on this
issue," said Thomas. "Normally, nearly nine out of 10 home buyers
must borrow money to buy a home. Tax benefits like the MID help
hard-working families begin building their future through
homeownership. And encouraging homeownership has been shown to
strengthen families, communities and our nation's economy." 
Realtors(R) are also concerned about the availability of affordable
financing. NAR continues to advocate a broad definition for the
Qualified Residential Mortgage rule; under a narrowly defined QRM,
borrowers with less than 20 percent down would have to choose between
higher fees and rates, up to 3 percentage points more, or a 9-14 year
delay while they save for the necessary down payment, according to
NAR research. 
"Realtors(R) advocate a responsible, sustainable model for
homeownership," said Thomas. "Saving the necessary down payment has
always been the principal obs
tacle for first-time home buyers. Strong
evidence shows that responsible lending standards and ensuring a
borrower's ability to repay have the greatest impact on reducing
lender risk, and not high down payments." 
NAR research has shown that tight credit continues to hold back home
sales, as well. According to the most recent Realtors(R) Confidence
Index, more than 50 percent of loans in September went to borrowers
with credit scores above 740. In comparison, only 41 percent of loans
backed by Fannie Mae had FICO scores above 740 during 2001 to 2004 --
a time of normal residential real estate markets -- while 43 percent
of Freddie Mac-backed loans were above 740. NAR economists estimate
that an additional 500,000-700,000 home sales could be made if credit
conditions returned to normal.  
"The issue right now isn't whether someone chooses to rent or buy
today; it's whether they'll be able to become homeowners in the
future," said Thomas. "As the leading advocate for homeownership and
real estate issues, NAR is ready to engage. Realtors(R) are fully
committed to ensuring that anyone who is able and willing to assume
the responsibilities of owning a home has the opportunity to pursue
that dream." 
The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate,"
is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million
members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial
real estate industries.  
Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other
news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Video" tab on the
website.  
For further information contact:
Stephanie Singer
202-383-1050
ssinger@realtors.org