Thousands of Realtors gathered at this year's Realtors Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Wahington D.C. where they discussed the future of housing finance. A panel of industry experts at the expo agreed that the next administration in charge of leading the country had better have a clear plan for housing finance. The National Association of Realtors have advised that a "comprehensive" reform strategy be put into place. This will better guarantee certainty in the future and prevent a currently recovering housing market from slipping again. NAR President Moe Veissi claims "without a secondary market, mortgage interest rates would be unnecessarily higher and unaffordable for many Americans, and products like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would likely be inaccessible for most borrowers". Another important attendee of the expo was Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Ed DeMarco. DeMarco agrees that while the market has shown signs of recovery, more action must be taken to ensure progress. “It is time for policymakers to begin work in earnest on the future housing finance system," he announced. DeMarco also emphasized that policymakers should focus on creating a new infrastructure for the secondary mortgage market. Additionally, he said standards should be set up in able to offer a more secure housing finance system, and private capital should be encouraged while government participation in the secondary mortgage market should be cut back. Since the FHFA assumed conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, they have done a great job at providing alternatives to homeowners that are struggling or underwater in their mortgage. "[They] have completed more than 1 million loan modifications since 2008 and helped millions more families avoid foreclosure through a short sale, deed-in-lieu or other alternative". The government plays a critical role in a stable future for the housing market. If there isn't a clear strategy put into place, the market is still at risk. For example, Mark Zandi from Moody's Analytics points out, "[while] private participation in the market might increase [...], without a government backstop there would be no 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which most consumers currently use to finance home purchases". It's clear that based on what the expert panel had to say, policymakers will have to illustrate a defined system for housing finance in able to gain the confidence of voters in the upcoming election. Courtesy of NAR
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