LAS VEGAS, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pat V. Combs, president of the National Association of Realtors, today urged Realtors to help restore confidence in the real estate market by educating the public about the value of housing as a good long-term investment. With the market’s positive economic fundamentals, 2007 is turning out to be one of strongest years on record, she said.
Combs addressed thousands of Realtors gathered in Las Vegas for the 2007 REALTORS Conference & Expo at the convention’s opening session. A record 30,000 Realtors and guests are expected to attend meetings that began today and will run through Friday, November 16.
“Housing continues to be a good long-term investment,” said Combs, vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. “Take time at the REALTORS Conference & Expo to consider evidence and gather the information you need to help Realtors in your state refute inaccurate stories and build confidence in the market. Real estate is alive and well and there are plenty of opportunities for consumers and Realtors in the current market.”
NAR Chief Economist
Lawrence Yun pointed to an increase in jobs and the projected growth of the gross domestic product at 3.3 percent as evidence of positive economic fundamentals. “Interest rates remain at historically low levels,” said Yun. He explained that, in the early 1980s, interest rates hovered at 15 percent, and later stalled at 10 percent in the early 1990s. Today, interest rates are at 6.4 percent and are projected to remain near this level throughout 2008.Yun also told attendees that home prices are holding up extremely well. “2007 is shaping up to be a solid year with home prices at near record highs. In fact, only two years were better – 2005 and 2006 – which set records at the time,” said Yun.Realtors were also briefed on several legislative and regulatory proposals that would further help restore consumer confidence and protect buyers, sellers and homeowners. These include eliminating the “phantom” income tax that affects individuals who have had a loan forgiven or had to foreclose because they couldn’t pay their mortgage, revitalizing the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage-insurance program, and addressing the rising cost of insurance and the impact of natural disasters on insurance rates.
In October, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Mortgage Cancellation Tax Relief Act, with the intent of eliminating tax on forgiven debt in a foreclosure or short sale. The legislation is awaiting action in the Senate.
Also this fall, the House passed the expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007, H.R. 1852, which would make FHA a viable refinance alternative for people stuck in subprime mortgages and give home buyers access to more affordable loan options. The Senate Banking Committee recently passed similar legislation. The House also passed National Flood Insurance Program reform legislation that would help protect homeowners, renters and commercial property owners from losses sustained during flooding; this is awaiting Senate action.
Realtors at the convention 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 744 exhibitors. Thousands of products and services will be on display at the Sands Expo Halls A-C, a showroom of more than 400,000 square feet.
The National Association of Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Information about NAR is available at http://www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site’s “News Media” section in the NAR Media Center.
REALTOR(R) is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS. All REALTORS are members of NAR.
SOURCE National Association of Realtors
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