The housing market has rebounded dramatically from the weak prices and record low sales activity seen in 2010, which was the last time REALTORS® were in New Orleans for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, here through November 10.
Today, housing markets in New Orleans and across of the country are well on the road to recovery. Existing-home sales are stronger, 31 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains have helped homeowners recover equity, inventory levels are improving, and distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales – are on a sustained decline and recently reached a single-digit market share.
“The health of the housing market impacts individuals and families, communities and the nation’s economy,” says NAR President Steve Brown. “That is why REALTORS® have been a leading advocate for policies that ensure a healthy and sustainable real estate market recovery.”
Back in 2010, NAR was working closely with members of Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to rein in risky boom-era credit practices and establish sound lending and mortgage underwriting standards to protect consumers and their tax dollars. Four years later, on October 21, 2014 regulators announced a final rule on one of the larger provisions mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act – a definition of Qualified Residential Mortgages, which NAR strongly supports.
As REALTORS® convene in New Orleans this week, the implementation of the broadly defined QRM rule in 2015 and its alignment with the related Qualified Mortgage rule are likely to generate much discussion among attendees.
“REALTORS® strongly support the final QRM rule, which provides lenders with safe and sound lending guidelines, without burdening creditworthy consumers with a high downpayment requirement,” says Brown. “Now that lenders face less uncertainty about the risks involved in consumer lending, NAR will continue to work with lenders and federal agencies to attract private capital back to the market and improve access to credit for?qualified borrowers.”
NAR believes ongoing tight credit is hampering a full market recovery and leaving potential buyers on the sidelines, especially first-time buyers. According to recently released NAR survey data, the share of first-time buyers fell to 33 percent of the market in the past year, its lowest point in nearly three decades, and well below the historical average of 40 percent.
As a leading advocate for homeowners, REALTORS® are also urging policymakers to extend mortgage debt forgiveness tax relief. The tax provision expired at the end of 2013 and could force homeowners to pay an income tax when a loan amount on a principal residence is forgiven.
Commercial practitioners are also focused on important issues affecting commercial and multifamily real estate, including reauthorizing the federal terrorism risk insurance program, which is set to expire December 31 and provides vital insurance to commercial developers and businesses.
“REALTORS® look forward to addressing and tackling some of the most pressing real estate-related issues this week and beyond,” says Brown. “Despite challenges, REALTORS® are feeling confident and optimistic about the future of the nation’s housing and commercial markets.”
More than 17,000 attendees are expected to attend the conference, “REALTORS® in Full Swing.” Throughout the meetings, REALTORS® will participate in hundreds of sessions and workshops to gain education and insights into residential and commercial real estate markets, home buying and selling trends, commercial market growth, economic forecasts, and public policy and regulatory concerns. Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore the newest technologies and innovations from more than 350 exhibitors during the trade expo.
For recaps of forums and events throughout the conference, visit NAR’s 2014 Conference Live website at www.narconferencelive.com.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.