Posts Tagged ‘NAR’

Washington, DC – July 29, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Any changes to the mortgage interest deduction now or in the future could threaten recent progress toward stabilizing the housing market, critically erode home prices and values, destroy middle-class wealth accumulation and hurt economic growth.

That was the message delivered by National Association of Realtors® NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun during today’s Rethinking the Mortgage Interest Deduction forum, where he joined a panel of experts to debate the future of the MID. The event was hosted by the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institute, and the Reason Foundation.

“As the leading advocate for housing and homeownership, NAR firmly believes that the mortgage interest deduction is vital to the stability of the American housing market and economy,” said Yun. “The MID facilitates home ownership by reducing the carrying costs of owning a home, and it makes a real difference to hard-working middle-class families.”

Yun argued that now is the worst possible time to discuss changing the tax laws, which could further impair the housing market’s fragile recovery and a broader job market recovery.

“One thing that is indisputable is that eliminating the MID will lower the homeownership rate in the U.S.,” he said. “While we must ensure that the conditions that led to the artificially inflated home ownership rate of the bubble years do not resurface, we also need to create the conditions for sustainable home ownership, which has been shown to provide myriad social benefits for families and communities.”

During the debate, Yun challenged recent proposals calling for changes to the tax code, stating that it’s a misplaced argument to say the MID was a cause of the housing market bubble and is suddenly part of the deficit problem, when it’s been part of the federal tax code for more than 100 years.

Reducing or eliminating the MID is a de facto tax increase on homeowners, who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S.federal income tax. Yun said the share could rise to 95 percent if the MID is eliminated.

“Doing away with the MID shouldn’t be thought of as removing a tax break for homeowners, but rather increasing taxes on the middle class,” he said. “Furthermore, housing equity has been a major source of funds for small businesses, and any change to the MID will greatly hamper their ability to create jobs.”

Yun also asserted that it’s a misconception that only the wealthy benefit from the MID, when in reality it benefits primarily middle- and lower income families. Almost two-thirds of those who claim the MID are middle-income earners and 91 percent of people who claim the MID earn less than $200,000 per year.

Other panelists at the Rethinking the Mortgage Interest Deduction forum were Seth Hanton, director of fiscal policy, Center for American Progress; Dean Stansel, adjunct fellow, Reason Foundation; and Eric Toder, institute fellow, Urban Institute, and co-director of the Tax Policy Center. The event was moderated by Edmund Andrews, managing editor for economics, taxes and budget at the National Journal.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.

A new bill to improve the process for approving short sales may soon bring relief to distressed home owners who are unable to keep their homes and hope to avoid foreclosure. The bill, introduced in the U.S. House yesterday and strongly supported by the National Association of Realtors®, would impose a deadline of 45 days on lenders to respond to short sale requests.

The legislation, the “Prompt Decision for Qualification for Short Sale Act of 2011,” was offered in Congress by U.S. Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.).

“The current short sale process can be time-consuming and inefficient, and many would-be buyers end up walking away from a sale that could have saved a home owner from foreclosure,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I.

“Realtors® and consumers continue to raise issues about delays in the short sale process, because lenders are unable to decide whether to approve a short sale. After many months of delays, and with no response from lenders, potential buyers are losing patience and cancelling their contracts, often resulting in the property entering foreclosure. A short sale minimizes the negative impact on sellers and generally costs the lender less than a foreclosure,” said Phipps.

NAR has been actively pushing the lending industry to improve the process for approving short sales, which represent about 13 percent of recent home sales according to NAR data. Phipps praised Reps. Rooney and Andrews for their efforts on the bill and urged Congress to pass the bill quickly.

“As the leading advocate for home ownership and housing issues, Realtors® want to help more home owners avoid foreclosure by facilitating a short sale when a family is absolutely unable to keep their home; however, that can only happen if lenders and servicers approve short sale offers in a reasonable amount of time,” said Phipps. “Streamlining short sales transactions will reduce the amount of time it takes to sell the property, improve the likelihood that the transaction will close and reduce the overall number of foreclosures. This benefits sellers, lenders, buyers and the entire community.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.

 

False 3.8% Transfer Tax Rumors Persist

Misleading emails and other communications about the 3.8% Medicare tax in the health care reform law continue to circulate. You might have received one or more of these emails. The messages usually say that the 3.8% tax is imposed on unearned income that includes the sale of a principle residence. However, the tax that’s being referenced is far narrower and only has the potential to impact a small sliver of high income households that receive investment income. The $250,000-$500,000 capital gains exclusion remains in place.

NAR has created a brochure with more information on who is impacted and it is available on REALTOR.org: http://bit.ly/bhS8H6

Home Sales Soar to 7 Month High

Sales of previously owned homes surged 7% in December, the National Association of Realtors reports. Existing homes sales have increased five of the last six months and have now hit a seven-month high. Distressed homes accounted for 36% of the sales volume in December, up from 33% in November.

Read more at: http://goo.gl/TsYpt