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Bus Tour Brings Home Ownership Matters to Grand Rapids

Media Contact: Sara Wiskerchen / 202-383-1013 / Email

WASHINGTON (August 23, 2011) - Changes to the mortgage interest deduction could dramatically impact home owners and aspiring home owners in Grand Rapids, Mich., and beyond. That’s just one of the many issues the National Association of Realtors® wants Michigan residents to know about as the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour pulls into Grand Rapids this week.

“As the leading advocate for housing issues, Realtors® know that home ownership supports our nation’s economy and helps families build wealth,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Home ownership is under attack, so it’s important for home owners and prospective buyers to get engaged on these issues, especially preserving the mortgage interest deduction, which is vital to the stability of the American housing market and economy.”

Despite the fact that this tax deduction benefits primarily middle- and lower income families and helps many people become home owners, some public policymakers are considering reducing or eliminating this important benefit. This would negatively impact the lives of many residents across the state -- nearly 46 percent of Michigan home owners claimed the MID, according to the most recent data. Last year, Michigan home owners benefiting from the mortgage interest deduction took an average of $10,000 in deductions, and nationally, in a recent survey over one-third of home owners reported that the MID helps their family “very much” or “a great deal” in today’s economy.

One of policymakers’ targets may be eliminating deductions on second homes, which could dramatically impact full-time residents in vacation and resort areas by further depressing home prices in those areas. In addition, Congress may reduce current FHA loan limits from 125 percent of the local area median home price to 115 percent of the local median home price. In some parts of the state, this could mean a loan limit reduction of nearly $74,000.

“This bus tour is a great opportunity for the people of Michigan and others across the country to make their voices heard about the housing issues that matter most to them,” Phipps said.

The Home Ownership Matters bus will be at the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® on Tuesday, August 23, from 12:45 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. NAR 2011 Vice President Elizabeth Mendenhall and Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® president Lola Audu will meet with Realtors® and members of the public to discuss issues that directly affect Grand Rapids residents and their ability to buy, sell or own a home in the future, including homeownership tax benefits, the availability of affordable flood and property insurance, and housing affordability.

Ongoing news and information for the tour will be 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.

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.