Update from NAR

Published: September 4, 2007

<table width="507"><tbody><tr><td class="sectionheader"><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 13px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 3px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; COLOR: #cc0000; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">ISSUE UPDATE </b /></span></td></tr><!– End of story –><!– Itemheader –><tr><td class="itemheader"><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: 900; FONT-SIZE: 14px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 3px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; COLOR: #003399; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><br /><b>Hill Agenda to Include Terrorism Insurance, New Mortgage Rules </b></span></td></tr><!– Story –><tr><td class="blacktext" width="500">NAR legislative priorities are expected to get a boost when Congress returns from its summer recess next week. The House is scheduled to take up legislation that NAR says will help ensure the continued flow of commercial real estate deals by providing a federal terrorism insurance backstop. NAR-backed H.R. 2761 would help keep private insurers in the market by extending federal insurance involvement another 15 years. Be on the lookout for an NAR Call for Action asking you and your members to contact lawmakers in support of the bill. <br /><br />To address subprime mortgage woes, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is expected to put the finishing touches on legislation upping underwriting standards for all mortgages, prime and subprime. In a main focus, the bill would subject mortgage originators (lenders and brokers) to rules similar to those that apply to depository institutions. The new rules would subject originators to a licensing requirement and prohibit loans to consumers who have no reasonable ability to repay. NAR has been working with Rep. Frank's staff to incorporate its Responsible Lending Principles into the bill, among them a prohibition on prepayment penalties, which critics say can trap borrowers in loans they can't afford.<br /><br />Separately, NAR will continue to tout FHA reform as a much-needed antidote to the abusive subprime loans that have rocked mortgage markets. The reforms have bipartisan support in the House and the Senate but progress is slowed as lawmakers look at whether a national housing trust fund should be passed as part of the bill. Along with FHA reform, NAR is calling for the federal government to let secondary mortgage market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac temporarily hold more loans in their portfolios than they can currently. Such a move would help calm markets by signalling the companies' commitment to ensuring continued liquidity for lenders' mortgage businesses. </td></tr></tbody></table><table width="507"><tbody><tr><td class="itemheader"><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: 900; FONT-SIZE: 14px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 3px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; COLOR: #003399; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Existing-Home Sales Stable in July </b></span></td></tr><!– Story –><tr><td class="blacktext" width="500">Existing-home sales were essentially unchanged in July, with increases in the West and Northeast offset by a decline in the Midwest, NAR says. Total existing-home sales, including single-family, townhome, condominium, and co-op, slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units in July from an upwardly revised pace of 5.76 million in June, and are 9 percent below the 6.32 million-unit level in July 2006. &quot;Home sales probably would be rising in the absence of the mortgage liquidity issues of the past two months,&quot; says Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist. &quot;Some buyers with contracts have been scrambling when loan commitments did not materialize at the last moment, while other potential buyers are simply waiting for the mortgage market to stabilize. The rise in sales and prices in the Northeast region on a fairly consistent basis in recent months is promising because this was the first region that underwent sales and price weakness after the boom. Now, it appears that it will be the first region to climb back, indicating that other regions could follow a similar path. Read more <a href="http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2007/ehs_july07_home_sales_stable.html">online.</a> </td></tr></tbody></table>


Last modified: September 4, 2007 at 9:14 am | Originally published: September 4, 2007 at 9:14 am
Printed: October 1, 2020