In my ongoing effort to bring you more from the business side of the 2008 NAR Conference & Expo, today was the Board of Directors Meeting. It was an epic event spanning more than four hours in spite of the fact that there were no items of controversy on the agenda. I'll write another post on the meeting in general as there were some interesting announcement but the item that generated the most discussion today was NAR's Four Point Housing Stimulus Plan.
In an effort to be more inclusive of commercial Realtors, there were proposed amendments to the plan, which were defeated. In an effort to provide more responsiveness to people who currently have a mortgage in trouble, there were amendments which were defeated. What emerged was a simple, straightforward proposal designed to stimulate the 'BUY' side of the housing equation right now. What follows is the verbiage of the plan as approved by the Board this morning:
As REALTORS, we know that at its core, the current economic crisis is the result of problems in our nation's housing and mortgage markets. With Congress considering a return to Washington this month for another economic stimulus effort, NAR has put forth a Four-Point Plan that mus be included in any stimulus effort in order to boost the economy and calm jittery real estate markets.
Housing has always lifted our economy out of past economic downturns. Immediate action is imperative to foster a housing recovery that historically leads any overall economic recovery.
NAR's plan would
- Make the $7500 first time homebuyer tax credit available to all buyers and eliminate repayment requirements. The credit's limited availability and re-payment requirement severely limit the credit's use and effectiveness.
- Make the 2008 FHA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loan limits permanent. New rules for 2009 will reduce them. Now is not the time to limit mortgage affordability.
- Get the Treasury relief program back on track and target more funds to mortgage relief. Create a federal mortgage interest buy-down program to lower rates to 4.5% or lower and stabilize home pries. The proposal calls for a short-term government buy-down of mortgage rates to at least 4.5% or lower, for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (down from current rates of approximately 6.04%). This homebuyer incentive would apply to the purchase of all new and/or existing homes sold up to $1 million in price. There are a number of ways in which the government ultimately could decide to structure and fund this program, which could be addressed as part of the stimulus package currently being discussed in Washington.
- Permanently bar banks from engaging in real estate brokerage and management. The banks have proven they have enough to do to simply manage the loan process. We do not want them to manage home sales and purchases.
In addition to approval by the Board, some 20,000 Realtor attendees at the Expo signed a large cardboard house that will be presented to legislators on our behalf. You will also shortly be asked to respond to a 'Call for Action' to notify your legislator of your support for this stimulus package. Estimated cost of the buy-down - around $100 Billion. But they just approved $700 Billion of which nothing has yet gone to the people we were told it would help. Now Nancy Pelosi just signed a letter with automakers asking for $100 Billion of that bail-out money. This would apparently enable people to move out of their foreclosed home in a new car. Thanks Nancy. Why do you people in Northern California keep re-electing this... person?
Our Buyers need that money and they need it NOW. Realtors, this will be a time to make OUR voices heard.
Gene Wunderlich - Selling Southwest California Homes including Temecula, Murrieta & The Southern California Wine Country
' NAR Four Point Housing Stimulus Plan'
THE OPINIONS IN THIS COMMENTARY ARE STRICTLY GENE WUNDERLICH's PERSONAL OPINION. WHILE ANY REASONABLE &/or RATIONAL PERSON SHOULD AGREE, THESE VIEWS MAY NOT REFLECT THOSE OF ACTIVERAIN, COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE OR ANY LOCAL, STATE OR NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS.