SAN DIEGO (November 13, 2015) – Housing prices have roared back and confidence in the marketplace has followed; at the same time, job growth is allowing more buyers to enter the market and rising home equity is giving homeowners the confidence to sell. With this optimism, real estate markets may have finally transitioned from recovery to stabilization, according to 2016 National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone at a news conference today during the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
"The economy and real estate market are back in a major way," said Salomone, broker/owner of Real Estate II in Coral Springs, Florida. "To keep that momentum going, Realtors® remain focused on advancing initiatives that drive further market growth and bring benefits to consumers, as well as on the legislative and regulatory policies that affect real estate."
While markets have come a long way since the downturn, challenges remain. Low inventories of homes for sale combined with rising rents and home prices present a hurdle for many would-be buyers to save for a down payment and purchase a home. In fact, newly released data from NAR's 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows the share of first-time buyers declined for the third consecutive year to its lowest point in nearly three decades.
Since millennials account for the majority of first-time buyers and nearly one-third of all recent buyers, NAR is committed to ensuring that both first-time and repeat buyers who have the means to responsibly purchase a home can achieve that goal. As part of that, Salomone thanked the Federal Housing Administration and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ed Golding for announcing yesterday to a crowd of Realtors® and guests attending the conference that it would make immediate changes to the overly restrictive policies holding back condominium sales, since condos are often the most affordable homeownership option for many buyers.
Reaching out to buyers about the value of homeownership and the importance of having a Realtor® at their side throughout the transaction will be a priority for NAR in the year ahead as the association launches a new creative direction for its consumer advertising campaign. "Our goal is to make certain that when consumers think about real estate, they think Realtor®," said Salomone.
Realtors® will also continue to work closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure new loan documents and rules that went into effect October 3 are implemented with as little interruption to buyers as possible. NAR will continue to communicate Realtor® and consumer concerns about this issue to the CFPB so that the mortgage closing process continues to move forward quickly and efficiently.
Despite 43 consecutive months of year–over–year home price gains, some families still remain underwater on their homes. NAR continues to push for a renewal of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which expired at the end of 2014 and waives income tax on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale or a workout for principal residences.
Commercial real estate markets could also be dramatically impacted if Congress alters or repeals current like-kind exchange tax rules, which are an important vehicle for investors disposing of and acquiring properties and support the nation's financial growth, job creation and economy. NAR hopes that Congress will oppose any proposal that would repeal like-kind exchanges.
Salomone also emphasized his commitment to service and giving back to communities. NAR will soon kick off a relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of America, whose structure of local clubs and governance mirrors that of the Realtor® organization. Members and associations across the country will have an opportunity to get engaged and help kids reach their full potential.
"Realtors® are more than just business people and our work doesn't stop at the closing table; we are committed members of our communities," he said. "I'm encouraging all one million of our members to get involved. I've already seen Realtors® stepping up with their time and financial support to give back. It's great to see."
Salomone officially takes office as NAR's president Monday, November 16.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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