Housing markets gained traction in 2013 – home equity is up, as are home prices, but lingering uncertainties about mortgage finance markets and tax reform will prevent a full housing market recovery, according to 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Steve Brown. He spoke at a news conference today during his trade group’s conference in San Francisco.
Brown called on policymakers to “make housing a priority and to tackle the difficult decisions about the future of the housing sector; otherwise uncertainty will continue to plague the market.”
REALTORS® have worked closely with lawmakers and federal agency officials to advocate public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership and to lay the groundwork for a better mortgage finance system, Brown said. This includes:
- Establishing critical lending protections for consumers
- Reducing risky loan products
- Creating prudent underwriting standards for lenders
However, a better and sounder housing finance system requires Congress to move ahead with reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that include a government guarantee. A government guarantee is critical to ensuring that creditworthy borrowers have access to credit during all market conditions and to guaranteeing the availability of a wide range of safe, reliable mortgage products like 15- and 30-year fixed-rate loans.
Brown said reforming the secondary mortgage market will also help bring greater amounts of private capital into the mortgage finance market.
“Consumers must have access to affordable mortgage products so they can attain the American dream of homeownership and begin to build wealth over the long term,” said Brown.