Housing Must be a National Priority

The Stressed Housing Market Must Become
a National Public Policy Agenda

Homeownership and housing issues affect every American. This was the message delivered by speakers during the Political and Legislative Forum held during the 2011 REALTORS® Exposition and Conference last week.

REALTORS® attending the annual conference of National Association of REALTORS® heard from a Washington Eugene Robinson, Post columnist along with Alex Castellanos. a political media consultant who both acknowledged the housing marketplace is still hurting and should be a high priority for any 2012 presidential candidate.

Both speakers went on to say that while most of the deliberations focuses upon the financial characteristics of homeownership, one cannot deny that ownership in a home has numerous social advantages and is significant to the structure of society in general.

Owning a home is the best representation of America, and is a target for numerous families and has plenty of benefits far beyond just financial. "Our economy has been built upon homeownership, but until the housing marketplace recovers, the economy and the nation cannot move forward," Castellanos said. He went on to say that instead of seizing money from those middle-class hardworking Americans by eliminating or reducing the interest deduction on mortgages, the government needs to reduce its spending and allot more back to the people of America. "Removing the interest deduction on mortgages would deflate the balloon even more and be even more devastating to the economy and the housing market. I don’t foresee any changes to interest deduction of mortgages," said Castellanos. Gary Miller, Representative (R-Calif.) also talked during the forum and advocated that REALTORS® reach out to their Congressional members and persuade them to get more involved in having a hand in alleviating the housing marketplace.

Home ownership

"A healthy housing market helps everyone throughout the country. The housing industry has led our nation from every downturn we have ever had during the past. Congress must focus upon fixing the market, and this needs to be done today and in an all-inclusive way to serve home owners both today and into the future," Miller said. He said that regulations and legislation to repair our housing market must not cause further harm. Miller went on to say that reduced conforming loan limits, proposals to do away with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, plus proposals to reduce or eliminate mortgage interest deductions are creating a negative impact upon consumer confidence and housing, and could lead up to reduced liquidity and perhaps additional foreclosures.

Miller discussed the future of our secondary money mortgage market and went on to say that although private capital should be the primary source of mortgage loans, involvement by the government is necessary to assure mortgage liquidity and investor confidence. NAR is supporting the principles of housing bill H.R. 2413, by representatives Carolyn McCarthy and Miller (D-N.Y.) which was introduced earlier in the year, the "Secondary Market Facility for Residential Mortgages Act of 2011," which provides a wide-ranging plan to reform our secondary mortgage market plus allow the federal government to continue their role of assuring a consistent mortgage credit flow to every market and all economic situations.

Jerry Brown, California Governor also was a featured speaker during the forum and informed Realtors that while it is significant that consumers live within their income, it is also crucial that they make investments in their future, and one significant way is by homeownership. He went on to say there must be more assistance for upside down homeowners allowing refinancing of their mortgages or reduction of their mortgage debt.

Brown has hope that Congress can arrive at solution soon by developing ways solve a majority of today’s challenges for housing and the economy. "The nation must have renewed confidence in housing and the economy," he said.

Nov 16, 2011

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