Yesterday was the Rally to Protect Homeownership in Washington DC. According to the count by the National Park Service we were 13,000 strong on the grounds of the Washington Monument yesterday morning.
The rally was not just a chance to stand around idly to talk about the value of homeownership but part of the annual mid-year conference held in DC every year.
Besides hearing from other Realtors® at the rally Sen. Johnny Isakson from (GA) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD) also spoke about the importance of homeownership to the American economy. What they didn't say and might not have struck anyone but me was the Washington Monument is current closed due to a large structural crack. No one can get inside to see the beautiful views of Washington DC from the top. Thousands of visitors are turned away with no chance of getting inside the doors. The same is now true with homeownership in the US. There are thousands standing just outside the door of their new homes but they can't get in due to chagnes in mortgage lending and appraisal rules.
Shifting lending rules to a to a "one size fits all" mentality has kept thousands of qualified buyers from buying a new home. Changing down-payment rules, increasing monthly mortgage premiums and reducing potential closing cost assistance are just a few of the changes FHA has put in place impacting most first time homebuyers.
Making sure that Congress understands the negative impact of changing the current mortgage tax deduction would have on homeownership is major concern to anyone who owns or hopes to own a home in the future. Holding lenders accountable to do what was annouced by the White Houses as part of the $25 billion settlement in March 2012 should be a top priorty.
Lenders have not stepped up to the plate to streamine the short sale process and assisting our military servicemembers with PCS orders. Calls to lenders about new programs for assistance by my clients have meet with responses including "it takes time to roll out these programs" or "we are unware of any program changes." Answers which continue to leave the financial future of homeonwers in the lurch.
Hopefully the noice from yesterday's Realtor® Rally to Protect Homeownership was heard on Capitol Hill and the meetings that took place this week will spur lenders to do the right thing now.