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2008-05-14 13:38:16

REALTORS®, Housing and Finance Experts Address Mortgage Crisis

Washington, DC, May 13, 2008 - With the goal of helping more families keep their homes rather than lose them to foreclosure, Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Brian Montgomery, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Director James Lockhart and Harvard University Director and former House Financial Services Chairman Jim Leach addressed a crowd of more than 400 REALTORS® at the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meeting & Trade Expo today.

“REALTORS® care as much about keeping families in their homes as they do about helping them find the home of their dreams,” said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. “We hope that this week’s dialogue with members of Congress and key administrators will achieve real results for current and aspiring homeowners and help stabilize the market.”

More than 9,000 REALTORS® from across the country are convening in Washington, D.C., this week to call for new policies that will help restore stability in the home mortgage system and, in turn, re-instill confidence in the housing market.

REALTORS® at The Home Mortgage Crisis: Are Regulatory Solutions Working? forum learned about proposals that Congress and the administration are considering that could potentially revamp the entire financial regulatory system.

“The right way to tackle the mortgage crisis is to have pinpoint, targeted efforts that address each variable in the housing crisis without asking the taxpayer to bailout lenders or to cover loans that are best described as ‘moral hazards,’” said Montgomery.

Lockhart, whose agency, OFHEO, is the key regulator for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, noted that GSE reform legislation is critical to rebuilding confidence in the housing and mortgage markets. “We must have strong GSEs and a regulator with all the tools to keep them financially safe and sound,” said Lockhart. “Fannie and Freddie have become the dominant source of mortgage funding in these troubled times, making reform legislation even more important.”

“The subprime debacle underscores the dangers and challenges of modern financial markets,” said Leach. “There is a case for re-examining the regulatory framework, but the most important need is judgment. Common sense restraints on the lure of leveraging must be developed.”

As key leaders in the financial arena, all agree that regulatory reform is needed to boost the mortgage and housing marketplace.

NAR continues to lobby Congress and the administration to enact GSE reforms that will permanently increase conforming loan limits and enhance regulatory oversight, focusing on safety and soundness. These reforms will help stabilize the housing market by reducing foreclosures and making home buying more attainable for those living in high-cost areas. REALTORS® are also advocating for FHA modernization to help stabilize the market.

The National Association 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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