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Realtors® President Calls on Policy Makers to Protect Middle Class Homeownership at Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Summit

Media Contact: Jenny Werwa / 202-383-1193 / Email

WASHINGTON (September 16, 2014) – National Association of Realtors® President Steve Brown delivered remarks about the ongoing obstacles to mortgage credit facing creditworthy buyers today at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s 2014 Housing Summit, Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy.

Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, joined distinguished housing leaders and experts at the conference, including Julián Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Carole Galante, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, and current and former U.S. Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Mel Martinez, R-Fla.

“Homeownership is not a Republican or Democratic talking point, it’s an aspiration that all Americans share,” said Brown. “I’m pleased to be a part of the BPC’s summit, which is an opportunity for experts and policy makers from both sides of the aisle to come together and discuss housing policy in a bipartisan manner.”

Brown discussed impacts of the new Ability-to-Repay rules on the current lending environment and emphasized how restrictive pricing policies at the FHA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency make homeownership prohibitively expensive for some first-time and traditionally underserved buyers relative to prime offer rates.

FHA’s high annual mortgage insurance premiums and insurance requirement for the life of the loan pose significant challenges to qualified buyers who are being priced out of FHA or the market altogether.

In a letter to FHFA last week, Brown raised concerns about the agency’s proposal to increase its guarantee fees and the upfront loan level price adjustments charged to borrowers. The increases would disparately impact individuals with shorter credit histories and lower down payments and as a result, shut middle class Americans out of the housing market.

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.