Improving Liquidity Reducing Inventory Critical
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Improving Liquidity, Reducing Inventory Critical for Stabilization, Say Realtors(R)
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Improving Liquidity, Reducing Inventory Critical for Stabilization, Say Realtors(R)

Restoring balance in the U.S

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 05/11/10 -- Restoring balance in the U.S. mortgage finance system is essential to stabilizing the real estate market, according to Realtors®, public policy officials and others gathered at the "Realtor® Town Hall Meeting: Strengthening and Stabilizing the U.S. Mortgage System" session today. The session is part of a three-day summit during the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here this week.

According to the 2010 NAR Member Profile, 34 percent of Realtors® reported that the most important factor in limiting their clients' ability to buy a home was difficulty in obtaining a mortgage. Panelists and participants at the session agreed that fixing the current mortgage finance system will be necessary for a meaningful housing recovery.

"As the leading advocate for homeownership, the National Association of Realtors® works to make sure that everyone who wants to own a home and is able to afford one can do so," said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. "A big part of that is ensuring access to safe, affordable mortgages."

Panelists offered their perspectives on the current state of the real estate market, mortgage financing, and what needs to happen to ensure a recovery. Veteran broadcast journalist Forest Sawyer moderated the session.

Panelists agreed that the balance of public-private involvement in the mortgage financing process is an issue that must be addressed.

"The best thing about the market today is that it's not the market yesterday," said Nicolas Retsinas, director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. "But I'm not quite ready to say the market is recovering, because it's still being supported by the government. In the first quarter of 2010, 90 percent of mortgages were backed by the government."

Retsinas remarked that Realtors® have the opportunity to match up first-time buyers with distressed properties, but many Realtors® expressed frustration with the cumbersome foreclosure and short sales process.

Phyllis Caldwell, chief, U.S. Department of the Treasury's Homeownership Preservation Office, agreed that this is an important issue. "What we've learned through the Home Affordable Modification Program is that modifications are very hard. Modifications may not be for everyone, and we're looking at other ways we can help homeowners avoid foreclosure," she said. Caldwell noted that, with labor mobility at an all-time low, more must be done to help people sell their homes in a short sale, if necessary, to allow them to move to areas where more jobs are available.

"Realtors® need to concentrate on policies that help the entire American economy grow," said James Glassman, former undersecretary of state for Public Diplomacy. "If we want markets to work, we have to let them work. Once prices come down to the level they need to, buyers will return to the market."

"The home buyer tax credit was a compelling call to action, and it did what it was supposed to do -- it produced sales activity," said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. "Now it's time to determine what we need to do to ensure sustainability, moving forward. We need to bring integrity back to the mortgage business."

Other panelists included Alfred DelliBovi, president and CEO, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; and Jack Shakett, executive, Credit Loss Mitigation Strategies, Bank of America.

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.

Information about NAR is available at News releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center.

REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. All REALTORS® are members of NAR.

For further information contact:
Stephanie Singer
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