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Statement From NAR President Gary Thomas on President Obama’s Housing Finance Reform Speech

The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Gary Thomas:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 7, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — “President Obama today outlined key principles of comprehensive housing finance reform during a speech in Phoenix. These principles closely mirror the outline presented by the National Association of Realtors® to the administration in early 2011. NAR believes these principles will contribute to the long-term stability of our nation’s housing market and provide consumers with access to affordable mortgage credit, even during economic downturns.

“As the leading advocate for homeowners, Realtors® remain steadfast in our efforts to preserve the government guarantee in any restructured secondary mortgage market to ensure the continued availability of safe, reliable mortgages such as 30-and 15-year fixed-rate loans. In a fully privatized market, many middle class Americans and individuals on fixed incomes would be unable to access affordable credit or be forced into adjustable-rate mortgages pinned to interest rate variations after a limited term. These homeowners, faced with potentially dramatic rate increases, could experience payment shocks that rattle their financial stability, which also impacts mortgage markets and the greater economy.

“Realtors® want to work with Congress and the administration to design a secondary mortgage model that will serve America’s best interests today and into the future, ensuring a strong housing market and full economic recovery. NAR believes that a recent bipartisan Senate effort, lauded today by the President, incorporates a promising groundwork for reform.

“Realtors® also urge continued support for the Federal Housing Administration’s single- and multifamily mortgage insurance programs.  While many first-time home buyers rely on FHA-insured loans to purchase a home, including more than 40 percent of first-time buyers in 2012, it is important that we preserve access to FHA for all qualified middle class families.

“Bipartisan legislation supported by NAR has been introduced in the Senate to provide continued solvency of the FHA without disenfranchising qualified borrowers. The legislation provides increased enforcement and oversight of the FHA fund and allows greater flexibility for FHA to manage its programs.

“NAR is ready and willing to work with President Obama and Congress to develop policies that ensure mortgage credit is always available at reasonable costs so that everyone who is willing and able to afford a home can do so.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “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.

Media Contact: Jenny Werwa / 202-383-1193