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Bus Tour Brings Home Ownership Matters to Memphis

Media Contact: Stephanie Singer

Media Contact: Don Wade / 901/818-2434 / Email

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2011) - If regulators get their way, many qualified home buyers in Memphis, Tenn., may be shut out of the market very soon. That’s one of the reasons the National Association of Realtors® will be in town this weekend as part of its Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour.

“As leading advocates for home ownership and housing issues, Realtors® are committed to keeping people in their communities informed about public policy changes that could dramatically affect their lives,” said NAR President-elect Moe Veissi, who is in Memphis this week during the tour. “This bus tour gives us a chance to engage and empower home buyers, sellers and owners to make their voices heard.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with five other agencies, are considering a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule that would require most borrowers to come up with a 20-percent down payment. NAR is opposed to the rule because it would require borrowers with less than 20 percent down to choose between higher fees and rates – up to 3 percentage points more – or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment.

“Strong evidence shows that responsible lending standards and ensuring a borrower’s ability to repay have the greatest impact on reducing lender risk, and not high down payments,” said Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “This would affect not only buyers but also sellers, who would find the pool of potential buyers severely reduced.”

The Home Ownership Matters bus will be at the Memphis Association of Realtors® on Friday, July 22, from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Veissi and NAR Past President Martin Edwards will meet with Realtors® and invited members of the media to discuss issues that directly affect Memphis residents and their ability to buy, sell or own a home in the future, including the possibility of a 20 percent down payment requirement, availability of affordable flood and property insurance, and housing affordability.

On Saturday, the bus will be at the Children’s Museum of Memphis, 2525 Central Ave., from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Realtors® and invited local officials will share their insights into the local housing market and the future of home ownership in Memphis, and members of the public are invited to share and discuss their home ownership experiences and related issues. Food, drink and entertainment will be provided, as well as the chance to win Lowe’s gift cards and other prizes.

Ongoing news and information for the tour as it crosses the country are posted on HouseLogic at www.houselogic.com/bus. HouseLogic is a free source of information from NAR that helps home owners maintain and enhance the value of their homes and engage in issues that affect their local communities.

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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Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.