The new president of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) called on policymakers to making housing a priority and make the decisions necessary for a complete housing market recovery.  "Otherwise," Steve Brown said "uncertainty will continue to plague the market."  He made his remarks at a press conference held Friday as part of the 2013 Realtors Conference and Expo.

Brown said that Realtors have worked closely with lawmakers and officials of federal agencies to lay the groundwork for a better mortgage financing system but Congress needs to move ahead with reforms to the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  "The housing market is showing solid signs of recovery, but until difficult decisions are made about tax reform and the future of mortgage finance markets, a full real estate and economic recovery will remain exceedingly difficult," said Brown.

NAR has urged lawmakers to move forward to enact comprehensive legislation that would restructure the secondary mortgage market with a government guarantee. A government guarantee is critical to ensuring that creditworthy borrowers have access to credit during all market conditions and guaranteeing the availability of a wide range of safe, reliable mortgage products like 15- and 30-year fixed-rate loans. Brown said reforming the secondary mortgage market will also help bring greater amounts of private capital into the mortgage finance market.

"Consumers must have access to affordable mortgage products so they can attain the American dream of homeownership and begin to build wealth over the long term."  He added that lawmakers need to stand up for homeownership and the value that it brings to the country through fostering communities, creating social stability, and helping build long-term wealth.

"Congress should do no harm to homeowners or housing markets by maintaining current federal tax policies," said Brown. "Reducing or eliminating the current tax treatment would simply raise taxes on homeowners, who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income taxes.

"The nation cannot have a robust housing recovery, and therefore an economic recovery, until these important policy issues are addressed. As congressional leaders move ahead with reforms, Realtors are actively engaged in and committed to protecting America's current and future homeowners and the homes in which they make memories and build their futures."