Realtors® Advocate Attainable, Sustainable Homeownership at Housing Finance Reform Conference

Attainable and sustainable homeownership should be the goal for restructuring the secondary mortgage market, said National Association of Realtors® President Vicki Cox Golder today at a Regional Conference on Housing Finance Reform. The conference, held in Cleveland, was sponsored by the administration and focused on the future of the nation’s housing finance system.

“Realtors® support strengthening the soundness and financial safety of the mortgage market so there are safe, flexible and affordable options to meet borrowers’ needs,” said Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. “While fixing the mortgage finance system is critical, it’s just half the challenge. We also need to continue to support policies that advance and sustain homeownership, which helps people build wealth over the long term.”

At the conference Golder was joined by other industry and government officials, including Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Dave Stevens, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr, Under Secretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Dianna Farrell.

One of NAR’s recommendations is to reform FHA, which is bearing the brunt of the market share right now. “While some reforms have taken place, more needs to be done to strengthen its soundness and financial safety and protect taxpayers. Congress is working on legislation that would help FHA operate more effectively and reduce risk, and that legislation needs to be passed this session,” said Golder.

NAR further recommends restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from their current private-profit and public-loss structure into government-chartered, non-shareholder owned authorities. This will make the entities subject to tighter regulations on product, profitability, and minimal retained portfolio practices in a way that ensures they accomplish their mission and protect taxpayer monies.

“While we work to shore up this important aspect of the finance system, we also need to encourage the private market to step up and do their part to address current problem. Specifically, we need lenders to do a much better job of restructuring loans, approving reasonable short sales, helping people avoid foreclosure, and ensuring that standards are not overly stringent,” said Golder.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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