Little Rock, Arkansas (May 13, 2011) – Realtors® from across the country urged members of Congress to keep housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda this week during the National Association of Realtors® 2011 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. Realtors® from the Arkansas Realtors ® Association (see attached list) were among those meeting with lawmakers to communicate the issues critical to their businesses, communities and the consumers they represent.
Arkansas Realtors® representing local boards from the following areas are attending the 2011 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.: Little Rock, Batesville, Fort Smith, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs, Fayetteville, North Pulaski/North Little Rock, Crittenden County, Paragould, Searcy, Van Buren, Rogers, Springdale and Texarkana.
“These meetings address pressing issues related to today’s housing market, particularly those related to access to and opportunities for home ownership,” said Andy Meyers, 2011 President of the Arkansas Realtors® Association. “This week Realtors® made lawmakers aware of how important it is to ensure that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home can do so, now and into the future.”
Meyer’s meeting with Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman focused on issues surrounding the real estate market here in Arkansas, including ensuring access to affordable mortgage products for potential homeowners, reforming the secondary mortgage market so that a continual flow of mortgage liquidity is available in all markets, and preserving tax benefits for home ownership, including the mortgage interest deduction. Meyers also urged Representatives Mike Ross, Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack to support requirements and practices to streamline short sales.
“Tax incentives for home ownership have been a part of our tax system for decades and are deeply woven into our economic fabric,” said Michael Ford, ARA 2011 Legislative Chairman and 1995 President of the Arkansas Realtors Association. “Reducing or eliminating the MID is a de facto tax increase on home owners, who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax.”
“Realtors® believe increasing loan limits puts home ownership out of reach for middle-class Americans,” said Ford. “Requiring higher down payments does little to reduce default risks, but rather strips home buyers of their savings and decreases the number of borrowers who could afford to become home owners.”
“Reform of the secondary mortgage market, in particular Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should be comprehensive and undertaken methodically,” said Meyers. “Without a secondary market, mortgage interest rates would be unnecessarily higher and unaffordable for many Americans. The federal government must have a continued key role in the secondary mortgage market to ensure capital and liquidity in the market.”
NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., commended the Arkansas Realtors® Association’s efforts on Capitol Hill. “Members of Congress were reminded this week that NAR is the leading advocate for home ownership, housing issues and private property rights. Realtors® are working together to make sure the housing issues that matter most to consumers throughout the country are addressed in our nation’s capital,” he said.
The Arkansas Realtors® Association, with thirty-seven local Realtor® boards and associations statewide, is the state arm of the Chicago- and Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Realtors®. Members of the National Association, the State Associations and the local boards and associations are identified by the registered membership term, “Realtor®” and pledge adherence to the Realtors® Code of Ethics.
For more information, contact:
Amy Glover Bryant, APR
Director of Communications
Arkansas REALTORS® Association
Toll Free: 888.333.2206