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Realtors® Rise to New Heights to Tackle Real Estate Issues

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

SAN FRANCISCO (November 7, 2013) – Home prices are rising and foreclosures and short sales are falling, all signs that housing markets are on their way to recovery. However, uncertainties and market challenges remain for the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets, and Realtors® are committed to addressing those challenges as they gather Nov. 8-11 in San Francisco for the 2013 Realtors® Conference and Expo.

During this year’s conference, “Rise to New Heights,” Realtors® will engage industry leaders and federal officials about Realtors®’ top legislative priorities, the changing regulatory landscape, and the obstacles and opportunities facing consumers, real estate markets and the economy.

“As the leading advocate for home and property ownership, Realtors® understand the vital role that real estate plays for the nation’s families, communities and economy,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “As Realtors® from across the globe come together this week, we are optimistic about the future of homeownership and the real estate industry. Still, it’s a long and bumpy rode to a full recovery and we are committed to ensuring that housing markets continue their forward momentum.”

NAR is actively advocating public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership and a stable housing market, including ensuring that reforms to the Federal Housing Administration do not harm consumers’ access to safe, affordable financing; preserving property and homeownership tax policies as Congress considers tax reform; and restructuring the secondary mortgage market with a government guarantee and a strong private market.

Realtors® are also concerned about declining housing affordability; rising home prices and mortgage interest rates combined with ongoing tight credit conditions and limited home inventories mean consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to become homeowners. In fact, NAR’s chief economist recently reported that affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases outpaced income growth. NAR continues to advocate credit policies and regulations that give homebuyers, owners and investors access to safe, affordable financing.

“Credit availability remains a concern and continues to prevent qualified buyers from getting into homes,” said Thomas. “Proposals to lower loan limits or require consumers to make larger down payments are misguided and will only further restrict liquidity in mortgage markets and limit the housing and economic recovery.”

The affordability of rising flood insurance premiums is also a top issue for Realtors®, who are concerned that increased insurance rates resulting from recent reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program could delay or cancel real estate transactions. Realtors® from across the country are reporting significant rate increases and are urging Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to delay additional NFIP rate increases until FEMA submits its congressionally mandated affordability report. 

“Many of the ideas and solutions that come out of this conference will help guide Realtors® as they continue to tackle these and other real estate challenges in the year ahead,” said Thomas. “Housing issues affect all Americans, whether they own a home today or want to own one in the future, so we need to ensure homeownership remains a priority for the nation and its lawmakers.”

Throughout the week, Realtors® will also participate in hundreds of sessions and workshops to gain education and insights into residential and commercial real estate market issues, opportunities and trends. For recaps of forums and media briefings throughout the conference, visit NAR’s 2013 Conference Live website at www.narconferencelive.com.

This year’s Realtors® Conference & Expo is expected to draw 22,000 Realtors® and guests. More than 400 exhibitors will also showcase the latest real estate products and innovations across various fields, including technology, data communications and financial programs and services.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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