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
"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."