Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - June 10, 2011

Realtors group supports housing finance reform

NAR says proposed measure would ensure availability of affordable mortgage credit

by Jeb Bing

The National Association of Realtors is supporting a comprehensive reform of America's housing finance market to protect taxpayers and ensure the availability of affordable mortgage credit today and into the future.

"As the leading advocate for home ownership and housing issues, NAR believes that a methodical, measured and comprehensive approach for reforming the secondary mortgage market is in the best interest of home buyers and taxpayers," said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I.

"A comprehensive and effective mortgage reform strategy is critical to help keep a level of certainty in the marketplace and not further disrupting the still fragile housing market recovery," he added.

NAR supports the objectives of H.R. 1859, the "Housing Finance Reform Act of 2011," introduced last month by Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

The bill takes a comprehensive approach for reforming the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"While NAR has concerns with some aspects of the legislation, we strongly support the bill's comprehensive approach to reforming the secondary mortgage market and greatly appreciate the efforts of Representatives. Campbell and Peters to protect the affordable 30-year fixed rate mortgage, shield taxpayers from unnecessary additional bailouts, and ensure the availability of mortgage capital to all markets under all economic conditions," Phipps said.

NAR opposes the piecemeal approach of recent proposals that would quickly constrain or shut down existing secondary mortgage market facilities before identifying a viable replacement that would allow securitization to function under all market conditions.

"We believe that a fully private system is not a viable or sustainable alternative to the existing housing finance system and will severely restrict mortgage capital, raise costs for qualified, creditworthy homebuyers, and place taxpayers at greater risk as too-big-to-fail government-backed financial institutions dominate the market," Phipps said.

"NAR looks forward to working closely with Congress," Phipps added. "The time has come to have a serious discussion about comprehensive reform of our nation's housing finance system."

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