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RISMEDIA, March 14, 2007-The National Association of Realtors® testified yesterday that creating a strong regulatory regime that preserves the housing mission of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) will strengthen the housing finance system and emphasize the important role housing plays in the nation's economy.

"We believe that having a single, independent safety and soundness regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, with oversight and appropriate authority, is imperative to ensuring the support of their vital housing finance mission," said Thomas M. Stevens, immediate past president of NAR.

"Realtors® believe that the GSEs' housing mission and the benefits that come with it play a vital role in the continued success of our nation's housing system. We have opposed, and will continue to oppose, legislative proposals that could reach beyond safety and soundness regulation and diminish the housing mission of the GSEs," said Stevens.

In addition to creating a strong regulator and GSE governance, NAR encouraged Congress to maintain the focus on the GSEs' important housing mission, provide a streamlined new program approval process, oppose statutory limits on GSEs' portfolio size and authorize regional adjustments to conforming loan limits for high-cost areas.

"NAR believes that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks are integral components of this nation's highly acclaimed housing finance system. Their support of the secondary mortgage market is crucial to Realtors®, and for supplying funding for single-family and multifamily housing," said Stevens. "Any legislation should protect the GSEs' ability to accomplish their housing mission and support housing finance. In addition, we hope there will be a focus on efforts to increase affordable homeownership opportunities, especially among minorities and other underserved populations," Stevens said.

In conclusion, NAR pledged to work with the 110th Congress to move forward GSE legislation that protects the vibrancy, liquidity and evolution of the housing finance system.

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