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RISMEDIA, June 22, 2009-Without the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program, a large portion of today’s home buyers would be unable to realize their dreams of homeownership. The National Association of Realtors® urged Congress late last week to invest resources that will ensure FHA’s continued role in stabilizing housing to stimulate the nation’s economy.

FHA’s market share has grown from less than 3% to more than 25% in a short period of time. NAR submitted testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee expressing support for increased FHA staffing and resources to keep up with this rising demand.

“As the leading advocate for homeownership, NAR strongly supports FHA’s single- and multifamily mortgage insurance programs, and we have worked diligently with Congress to fashion housing policies that ensure federal housing programs meet their mission responsibly and efficiently,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “FHA is now the primary source of safe affordable mortgage financing for American families. To keep up with increasing demand, FHA must expand its capabilities, but FHA has not yet received the additional staffing and other resources commensurate with its expanded role in financing mortgages.”

Realtors® have advocated strengthening oversight of and preventing fraud in FHA and other U.S. Housing and Urban Development programs for several years. Despite voiced concerns about FHA’s soundness and oversight, studies show that FHA remains financially sound and should remain so in the coming years. The FHA-approved group of lenders maintains strict oversight of loan originators.

“Since FHA has been underinvested in for a number of years, we hope Congress will act now to provide them with resources to increase staffing and invest in technological improvements. We believe provisions of what the U.S. Senate has proposed regarding FHA loans in S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, will be a big step in providing the type of necessary oversight now that FHA is such a major force in the market,” McMillan said. “We look forward to working with Congress and HUD to make sure that FHA continues to offer stable, affordable, safe options for home buyers across the country.”

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