REALTORS Rally for Real Estate Progress in Legislative, Public Policy Arenas
ORLANDO, November 06, 2008
In the National Association of Realtors®' 100-year history, the real estate industry has seen a lot of changes, but perhaps none as significant as the transformations ahead. As the 2008 REALTORS® Conference & Expo gets underway this week just days after an historic election, Realtors® are preparing to effect positive change for the housing market and consumers across the country.
“As leading advocates for private property rights, homeownership and housing issues, Realtors® want to know how recent political developments will affect the real estate industry,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists, Long Beach, Calif. “Housing issues are front-and-center today, and the health of the nation’s economy depends on the strength and stability of the housing market.”
Gaylord addressed thousands of Realtors at the conference’s opening session. More than 23,000 Realtors and guests are expected to attend meetings that began today in Orlando, Fla., and will run through Monday, November 10.
Realtors® are focused on revitalizing the housing market and in the coming year will encourage both legislators and policymakers to take steps that will further stabilize the mortgage and housing markets, protect consumers by permanently keeping banks out of real estate, and help more families keep their homes rather than lose them to foreclosure.
Specific to housing, President-elect Barack Obama has proposed creating a $10 billion foreclosure prevention fund that works hand-in-hand with state, local and community nonprofit efforts to help households facing foreclosure renegotiate with lenders or put their homes on the market. He has also recommended an expanded mortgage revenue bond program to give state housing agencies $10 billion in new resources to help struggling homeowners.
“Realtors care as much about keeping families in their homes as they do about helping them achieve their goals of homeownership,” said Gaylord. “NAR will continue to work with members of both political parties in Congress and the new administration to promote housing affordability, expand homeownership opportunities, and ensure that families across the country can continue to strive for and achieve the American dream.”
Dealing with the country’s continuing economic problems will be a priority for Congress and the new administration. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explained what government involvement could do for the housing industry and the economy as a whole. “NAR’s analysis shows that if the government were to reduce interest rates by just 1 percentage point, as many as 840,000 additional home sales could result, reducing the inventory of homes by as much as 20 percent,” he said.
NAR recently sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, urging that the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s efforts be refocused on restoring strength to the mortgage-backed securities market, which would help lower mortgage rates for all home buyers and for those who need to refinance.
“Given that the government has already sent $250 billion of the $700 billion rescue package to the banking industry, it is time to directly help home buyers,” Yun said.
Throughout the conference, Realtors® will discuss these and other topics to further NAR’s efforts to protect consumers in the real estate transaction, expand homeownership and promote affordable housing opportunities.
The convention will feature more than 200 conference sessions and 500 exhibitors at the REALTORS® Expo, which showcases the latest real estate products and innovations across various fields, including technology, data communications and financial programs and services.