ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The value of homeownership is being borne out in cities across the country as home equity roars back, but the homeownership rate continues to hover around a 50-year low, despite a strong desire among Americans to own a home of their own. Bill Brown, 2017 president of the National Association of Realtors®, warned at a news conference today against any measures that would put homeownership further out of reach.
"Homeownership offers tremendous value, helping communities stabilize and families build wealth," said Brown, a second-generation Realtor® and founder of Investment Properties in Oakland, California. "High prices, low inventories, rising rents and student debt burdens are all part of a deck that's heavily stacked against buyers in competitive markets, but there's reason for optimism ahead. Realtors® are working hard to ensure clients meet their personal and financial real estate goals, and NAR is helping give Realtors® the tools to get the job done."
Brown pointed to historically low borrowing costs as an opportunity for buyers, as well as real estate investors, while noting that challenges still remain. Recent NAR survey data show a lingering misconception about how much of a down payment is required to purchase a home, a factor that may unnecessarily delay some qualified young adults from entering the market.
Access to mortgage credit remains a challenge as well, particularly for those borrows with "thin" credit histories. Brown pointed out that low- and moderate-income buyers who have avoided debt may have trouble accessing mortgage credit despite years of on-time rent payments, consistent water and electric bill payments, or other indicators of a strong borrowing profile.
NAR is committed to helping more Americans achieve the dream of homeownership, and Brown reiterated the association's work to forge a legislative and regulatory landscape that's favorable to that mission. Brown highlighted the need to protect the mortgage interest deduction and preserve a secondary mortgage market that ensures liquidity sufficient to provide safe, affordable mortgage credit to all qualified borrowers.
Part of making credit available, Brown said, is keeping fees low. He noted that guarantee fees, loan-level price adjustments and other costs shouldered by conventional mortgage borrowers are locking out individuals who have strong credit. Brown said steps need to be taken to reduce fees for borrowers while still taking reasonable, responsible steps to protect taxpayer dollars.
As job markets continue to strengthen, Brown said the majority of renters who believe now is a good time to purchase a home will have an even greater opportunity to do so.
"Our goal is to make sure every qualified buyer who wants to purchase a home has that chance," he said. "In the year ahead, we'll be working to bring down the needless hurdles that stand in the way of prospective homeowners. That's good for buyers, good for communities, and good for the economy overall, and I'm excited for what we have ahead of us."
Brown made his comments during the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. He officially takes office as NAR's president Monday, November 7.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Videos" tab on the website.
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SOURCE National Association of Realtors