VIEWPOINT: Homeownership Must Remain Top National Priority
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As this year’s presidential race heats up, we are sure to hear from candidates on a number of important issues that will have a great impact on our country and its economy. However, there is one topic in particular this year that is crucial to Americans – homeownership.

“Restoring the health of the housing market and supporting homeownership in America will contribute to the economic recovery we so greatly need right now,” said 2012 MTAR President Charlie Montgomery of Comas Montgomery Realty & Auction in Murfreesboro.  “Housing is a top-of-mind issue for voters, and REALTORS® would like to see it become a national public policy priority.”

According to the Middle Tennessee Association of REALTORS®, despite seeing early signs of stabilization in the market, creditworthy buyers are being denied their dreams of owning a home because they cannot qualify for a loan. In addition, many homeowners in our area are still struggling with foreclosures and underwater mortgages.

“Issues such as foreclosures and access to affordable financing don’t just affect people who own a home – homeownership shapes communities and strengthens the nation’s economy,” said 2012 MTAR Government Affairs Chairman Scott Abernathy of Reliant Realty in Murfreesboro. “More must be done to reduce the rising inventory of foreclosed homes and address the lack of available and affordable mortgage financing.”

MTAR says its members are calling upon the administration, Congress and lenders to help keep more people in their homes by taking aggressive steps to modifying loans and helping homeowners significantly reduce their monthly mortgage payments. REALTORS® would also like to see more financing opportunities for buyers. Increased fees and higher down payments are making it difficult for many creditworthy buyers to obtain financing.

REALTORS® aren’t the only ones who think the housing market is an important issue in this year’s presidential election. A recent Yahoo! survey found that a majority of Americans, including both renters and homeowners, believe the government should do more to help at-risk homeowners. Another survey by the National Association of Home Builders demonstrated that homeownership is a bipartisan issue in the eyes of potential voters. A majority of those surveyed said the government should do more to support homeownership and were opposed to getting rid of tax benefits for homeowners.

“The decision to become a homeowner is a very personal one, but anyone who is willing and able to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream,” said Montgomery. “As the leading advocate for homeownership, REALTORS® will continue to urge lawmakers to make sure housing and homeownership issues are a top priority on the nation’s public policy agenda. The American dream of homeownership needs to be alive for generations to come.”

The Middle Tennessee Association of REALTORS® is a not-for-profit trade association serving over 1,500 real estate professionals across the Middle Tennessee region.  The mission of MTAR is to provide its members with state of the art tools, training and support to ensure that all members have the ability to become ethical, professional and successful REALTORS®.  MTAR engages in several community service and charity  projects each year, including the 4th Grade Foresters project, National Make-A-Difference Day, Toys for Tots, and multiple charity golf tournaments to raise money for college scholarships, diabetes research, and other area charitable organizations.  For more information, visit www.mtar.org or call toll-free 877-893-2242.

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