WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., over 400 people gathered for the National Association of Realtors®' inaugural Policy Forum, which focused on mortgage finance reform. As Congress and the Federal Housing Finance Agency begin intensifying conversations around Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, last week's forum explored policies intended to ensure the GSEs can effectively serve the housing market and protect taxpayers going forward.
Following a panel discussion between CEOs of some of the nation's leading industry trade groups, former House Financial Services Committee Chairmen Barney Frank and Jeb Hensarling debated the history of the GSEs while agreeing on some lessons from the financial crisis that can help protect the housing market against future economic downturns.
Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Sean Duffy then spoke on the current state of GSE reform in Congress, offering their perspectives on potential legislative solutions that could be considered on Capitol Hill. John Smaby, President of NAR, summarized the Realtors®' legislative priorities as the nation's largest trade association continues to help lead housing finance reform discussions.
"Realtors® have a vested interest in protecting the nation's housing market, as communities and families across America depend on the success of the real estate industry," Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty, said. "When it comes to financing, as the 2007-2008 housing market crash painfully demonstrated, there is a tremendous amount at stake here – not just for our industry, but also for U.S. and global economies."
Smaby highlighted NAR's bi-and nonpartisan efforts as the group also works with other housing finance and real estate trade groups to develop solutions that are supportive of the broader industry.
"We're not focused on the right, left or even the middle of the aisle; rather, we concentrate on the issues that matter to existing and future homeowners and to the real estate industry," Smaby continued. "Housing finance reform tops this list."
Tim Pataki, Director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House, joined the group as its featured lunch speaker. Pataki reiterated that housing finance reform is a high priority for the administration, which expects to announce a bipartisan policy framework for comprehensive GSE reform "shortly."
In the Forum's final session, Dr. Susan Wachter, Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Richard Cooperstein, head of Risk Management at Andrew Davison and Company, Inc., unveiled NAR's new comprehensive vision for GSE reform.
"By addressing the imperfections in the market for housing finance, we can increase competition of private capital to invest in mortgages, keep markets more stable in times of stress and stay mission-focused," Cooperstein said Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors® 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.
SOURCE National Association of Realtors