News from NAR as of March 5, 2008

Published: March 5, 2008


New Median Home Prices to be Released
In the first step toward implementing higher conforming and FHA loan limits included in the 2008 national economic stimulus package signed by President Bush last month, HUD is set to release its new median home prices. The stimulus package increases conforming and FHA loans to 125 percent of area median home prices. Once the new median prices are available, FHA and the two secondary mortgage market companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, can begin the process of setting their new loan limits. HUD could release its new median home prices as early as today. Once the new median home prices are released, we will alert you, large brokers, and others in a separate INS report.

Reuters Coverage Finds Silver Lining in Today’s Market
A Reuters piece widely distributed last week quotes Phoenix sales associate Russell Shaw and other practitioners on the merits of buying in today’s market and the prospects of improved sales this spring. “I think this is the best buyer’s market that has existed in a decade, maybe longer,” says Shaw, affiliated with John Hall & Associates Real Estate. “There are tons of inventory, great interest rates, and the prices are back in line to where houses are decently priced again.”

Fannie, Freddie Regulator Wants Quick Loan Hike
In response to a letter from NAR President Richard Gaylord, the director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight says he’s working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they raise their conforming loan limits, as authorized in the national economic stimulus package passed in February. But the director, James Lockhart, says how quickly they move is up to them: Fannie and Freddie have their own internal product approval process to ensure adequate controls are in place to address risk. Looking ahead, Lockhart says Congress must pass reforms to the way the secondary mortgage market companies are regulated, and he thanked NAR for supporting the need for reform.

Higher VA Loan Limits Sought
Congress should increase VA home loan guarantee limits in high-cost areas to 150 percent of the conforming loan limits, NAR told lawmakers this week. Congress should also ease refinancing requirements, especially for veterans who’ve fallen victim to risky subprime loans, and offer permanent authorization for adjustable-rate and hybrid ARM loan guarantees. Tony Agurs, a member of the NAR Board of Directors and a practitioner from California, testified on NAR’s behalf.

Extension of Commercial Energy Tax Credit Advances
Last week the House extended through 2013 tax incentives for energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The bill, called the “Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008,” also extends the credit for energy efficient retrofits to existing residential homes through 2014 and includes tax credits for the purchase of certain energy efficient household appliances.


Broker Not Liable for Listing of Altered Apartment
No negligent misrepresentation or fraud occurred in a transaction involving a condo unit that was approved for one bedroom but that had been remodeled to include three bedrooms, the Civil Court, City of New York, ruled, the buyers’ lawsuit. The purchasers had access to the same information about the legal number of bedrooms as the broker, so they didn’t rely in the brokers’ information, the court said.

Toolkit: Managing Listing Content
Learn how to secure and manage the contractual and intellectual property rights of listing content in a comprehensive toolkit developed by NAR.

Last modified: March 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm | Originally published: March 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm
Printed: September 27, 2020