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2008-06-06 16:05:25

NAR Renews Commitment to Minority Homeownership, Affordability

The National Assn. of REALTORS® is renewing its commitment to help the nation increase minority homeownership in America, and is dedicated to advancing that aim through National Homeownership Month in June. NAR said its commitment is stronger than ever during today’s challenging real estate market.

“REALTORS® build communities and understand better than anyone else how important homeownership is to our nation,” said NAR President Dick Gaylord,  a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. “REALTORS® are working every day in cities across the country to bring more Americans home; we help build strong families and vibrant communities.”

In the 40 years since the 1968 Fair Housing Act became law, the influence and impact of minority populations on the housing market has grown significantly. Minority buying power in the United States is estimated today to be over $2 trillion. Government and industry data indicate that two out of every three new households are being formed by people who are foreign born or members of a minority population. Foreign-born homeowners already account for $1.2 trillion in housing wealth.

As the nation’s leading advocate for homeownership, NAR provides REALTORS® and aspiring buyers with important tools and resource aides to make homeownership a reality. NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, Home from Work™ Program, Ambassadors for Cities and HOPE Awards program all aim to expand homeownership opportunities and promote affordable housing year-round.

NAR’s Housing Opportunity helps REALTORS® identify, develop, advocate and promote business opportunities, programs, products, and resources that expand housing availability to ensure opportunities for all in the rental and homeownership sectors of the market. More than 600 Housing Opportunity Programs have already been established throughout the country; many state REALTOR® associations have multiple programs in place.

Since 2007, more than 1,400 REALTORS® have participated in the Home from Work™ Program, which teaches REALTORS® how to promote workforce housing initiatives effectively at the grassroots level and work with public- and private-sector employers to establish employer-assisted housing benefits.

The Ambassadors for Cities Program unites local REALTORS® and mayors to increase home affordability and rental opportunities within a town or city. The goal is to highlight models of success that can be adopted in other areas. Since its inception, the program has honored 29 cities and awarded $145,000 in grants to support local affordable housing initiatives. This year’s Ambassador Cities are Alexandria, Va.; Allentown, Pa.; Asheville, N.C.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Irvine, Calif.; and Richmond, Va.

The HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) is a biennial awards program that recognizes organizations and individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the cause of increasing minority homeownership. Recent recipients have been honored for achievements that include establishing a mortgage company to address language barriers, creating partnerships that provide townhomes for low-income minority foster parents, and offering loan programs and supportive financial counseling that help families turn homeownership dreams into reality.

“I have been in this business for more than 30 years, and there is no better feeling than helping first-time buyers find the homes of their dreams,” Gaylord said. “Homeownership is more than a financial investment – it is an investment in families and communities.”

For more resources and information in support of National Homeownership Month, visit www.realtor.org/homeownership.::TAG_PLACEHOLDER 3::

The National Assn. of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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