There has been plenty of talk lately and a few promises made about greatly reducing the government role in home ownership. In the wake of the housing collapse, many think the U.S. government should not involve itself so heavily in that market.
Not every on feels that way though. The National Association of Realtors is advocating against dramatic changes in government housing policy right now, saying it would prevent or hamper economic recovery.
“As the leading advocate for home ownership, NAR wants to ensure public policies that promote responsible, sustainable home ownership and that any changes to current programs and incentives don’t jeopardize a housing and economic recovery,” said NAR President Ron Phipps before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee last week.
He also told lawmakers that keeping home sales moving will improve the nation’s employment situation.
“Home ownership is a pillar of our economy; our research suggests that home sales in this country generate more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year. For every two homes sold, a job is created,” Phipps said.
The NAR President does believe that change is needed to make sure higher loan standards are enforced, but he doesn’t want to see well-qualified buyers locked out of the mortgage market.
“Owning a home contributes to the strength of the nation’s economy and is still one of the best ways for individuals to build long-term wealth; therefore, we need public policies that support home ownership. Making it harder for families to afford safe mortgages does not further the goal of a housing or economic recovery,” he said.
The Obama Administration has laid out plans to drastically reduce the size and scope of mortgage finance companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has even said they would like to see more government focus on assisting renters.
The NAR continues to plead the case for promoting home ownership.
Said Phipps, “We need to keep housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda to ensure … that anyone in this country who aspires to own a home and can afford to do so is not denied the opportunity to build their future through home ownership.”