Published: May 31, 2007

<p><b>NAR NEWS </b></p><br /><p><b>Tighter Lending Standards Affecting Home Sales </b></p><br />
<p>Sales of existing homes declined in April, largely the result of tighter lending standards and a drop in the number of subprime mortgage products, NAR says. Total existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million units in April from an upwardly revised level of 6.15 million in March, and are 10.7 percent lower than the 6.71 million-unit pace in April 2006. &quot;We've been anticipating slower home sales because many subprime loan products are no longer available,&quot; says Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist. &quot;In addition, increased scrutiny by lenders is stopping risky mortgage origination, which is good for both consumers and the lending community. Fortunately, a wide availability of conventional mortgage products and the 4.5 million jobs created over the past 24 months will help to stabilize the market.&quot; A <a title="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/7Z5D5/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD" href="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/7Z5D5/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD">summary</a> of the findings is online. </p><br />
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<p><b>Metro Home Prices Show Broad Stabilization</b></p><br />
<p>tate existing-home sales in the first quarter generally are below a year ago but more states are improving than reported in the fourth quarter of 2006, and home prices in most areas show that conditions are favoring buyers, according to the latest quarterly <a title="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/EKISB/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD" href="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/EKISB/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD">survey</a> by NAR. Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.41 million units in the first quarter, down 6.6 percent from a 6.86 million-unit pace in the first quarter of 2006, but are 2.4 percent higher than the fourth quarter 2006 level of 6.26 million.<br />
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<p><b>LEGAL </b><br />
<p><b>Court Invalidates MLS Shareholder Vote </b><br />
<p>An Illinois court has considered whether shareholders in a multiple listing service were entitled to injunctive relief based on allegations that the corporation's bylaws were not followed during a merger vote. The Circuit Court of Cook County (Illinois), Chancery Division, ruled that the merger vote was invalid but ordered all shareholder associations to attend a shareholder meeting within 30 days to vote on the merger.<br />
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<p><b>Patience and Professionalism Pay Off for REALTORS&reg; </b><br />
<p>The typical REALTOR&reg; is 51 years old, works 40 hours per week and has been in the business for seven years, according to NAR's 2007 Member Profile. Median income was $47,700 in 2006, down from $49,300 in 2004. Members licensed as brokers earned a median of $73,700 last year, while sales associates earned $34,600. During the last two years, NAR membership increased 23.2 percent. Paul Bishop, NAR's manager of real estate research, said member growth is distorting the data. &quot;With rapid member growth in recent years, newcomers–those in the business for two years or less–now account for nearly a quarter of all REALTORS&reg; and are diluting median income,&quot; he says.<br />
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<p><b>ISSUE UPDATES </b><br />
<p><b>NAR, HUD Meet on RESPA Concerns</b><br />
<p>NAR Real Estate Services (RES) Advisory Board Chair Steve Brown and NAR staff met with acting HUD General Counsel and current Ginnie Mae President Robert Couch on May 18 to discuss transparency in Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rules and other issues. Brown emphasized the importance of receiving greater guidance from HUD on RESPA and highlighted a number of issues where more clarity would be helpful. Brown also discussed NAR's positions on RESPA reform, focusing on improving the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and creating a summary GFE that highlights loan terms and other mortgage-related items in an understandable way. Couch said he was eager to work with REALTORS&reg; on their RESPA concerns. NAR launched the RES Advisory Board this spring to give representation to brokers whose companies provide mortgage financing, title insurance, and other core services to brokerage customers.<br />
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<b>House Panel OKs Rural Development, Other NAR-Backed Bills</b><br />
<p>Economic development in rural housing would get a boost in legislation that's been approved by the House Financial Services Committee. The committee also approved bills improving the availability of financing for manufactured housing purchases and enhancing Section 8 federal rental housing assistance. NAR supports all of the bills, which still must be acted on by the full House. Companion bills in the Senate have yet to be introduced.<br />
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<b>NAR Issues Brochure to Help Consumers Avoid Foreclosure</b><br />
<p>NAR has released a consumer brochure, <a title="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/PNUHV/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD" href="http://go-to.realtor.org/h/PNUHV/A5XYV/FW/6P5SD">&quot;Learn How to Avoid Foreclosure and Keep Your Home,&quot;</a> to help homeowners navigate their options when they experience difficulty staying current on their mortgage payments. The brochure is fifth in a series of consumer education brochures.


Last modified: May 31, 2007 at 3:01 pm | Originally published: May 31, 2007 at 3:01 pm
Printed: September 30, 2020