ATLANTA (July 15, 2011) - Home buyers across Georgia may have reduced access to mortgage funds this fall if Congress decides to reduce current Federal Housing Administration loan limits. That’s just one of the many issues the National Association of Realtors® wants Atlanta residents to know about as the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour pulls into town this weekend.
“Home ownership is under attack, and we want to make sure that people understand what’s at stake,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Whether you own a home today or want to own a home someday, it’s important for all Atlantans to engage on these issues right now. With this bus tour, Realtors® hope to give people the opportunity and the resources to make their voices heard.”
The Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour will be at Atlantic Station on July 16 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Members of the public can meet with national Realtor® leaders and local officials to discuss their concerns and learn more about the issues that may affect their ability to buy, sell or own a home in the future.
On September 30, FHA loan limits may be allowed to revert to 115 percent of an area’s median home price, down from a current 125 percent. In the Atlanta area, the loan limit would be reduced by $25,400 – from a current limit of $346,250 to $320,850.
“Reducing the current loan limits means that fewer people would have access to mortgage loans,” said Phipps. “In addition, the loans that would be available would also be more expensive, as many buyers would be forced into jumbo mortgages. Home owners could also have a tougher time selling their homes because there would be fewer buyers who qualify to purchase those properties.”
On August 1, the comment period will close on a proposed rule – the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule – that would require most borrowers to come up with a 20-percent down payment. Borrowers with less than 20 percent down would have to choose between higher fees and rates – up to 3 percentage points more – or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment.
According to the recently released 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey, 76 percent of respondents in the Southeast believe that requiring a down payment of 20 percent would negatively impact the housing market. On the national level, 51 percent of self-described “working class” home owners and 57 percent of African American home owners reported that a 20 percent down payment would have prevented them from achieving their dreams of home ownership.
“NAR estimates that it would take 14 years for the typical American family to save enough money for a 20 percent down payment,” said Phipps. “Strong evidence shows that responsible lending standards and ensuring a borrower’s ability to repay have the greatest impact on reducing lender risk, and not high down payments.”
Ongoing news and information for the tour will be posted on HouseLogic at www.houselogic.com/bus. HouseLogic is a free source of information from NAR that helps home owners maintain and enhance the value of their homes and engage in issues that affect their local communities.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.
REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. All REALTORS® are members of NAR.