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Housing and Tax Reform Top Issues Affecting Realtors(R), Real Estate Industry

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 05/14/13 -- Experts applauded Realtors® for their commitment to keeping housing a top priority for the nation and staying engaged in the debate over future housing policies at today's Legislative and Political Forum during the Realtors® 2013 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

During the session, Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) revealed that members of Congress could roll out new housing reform legislation within the next month and that fixing the housing market and economy is extremely important to all Americans, who will need to tighten their belts going forward.

"We need to fix our country, encourage people to invest and save more, and put Americans back to work," said Neugebauer. "The government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also need to be dialed back because tax payer dollars are guaranteeing nine out of 10 mortgages. It's time to bring private capital back into the housing market."

"As the leading advocate for homeownership, the National Association of Realtors® is committed to working closely with Congress and the real estate industry to design a secondary mortgage model that will serve America's best interest today and into the future," said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. "We also strive to preserve the mission and purpose of the Federal Housing Administration's single-family mortgage program and ensure that it has the tools and policies in place to continue providing safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers."

Political commentator and analyst Jeffrey Birnbaum provided a snapshot of issues currently looming in Congress, including gun control, immigration reform and the healthcare law and discussed their potential impact on real estate.

"Although the economy appears to be slowly coming back, the Administration's second-term agenda may have stalled," he said. "Political winds have a tendency to suddenly shift though, so no one should take current tax policies for granted. If compelled to act, Congress could move legislation quickly on tax reform."

Birnbaum also cautioned that Congress may already be considering tax policies for reform. "Modifying or eliminating some current tax measures for homeownership is a very real possibility, so don't count them out from future tax reform. Lawmakers need to hear from you about the importance of maintaining current tax policies for homeowners and investors," he said.

Birnbaum encouraged Realtors® to continue their hard work in keeping housing first on the nation's public policy agenda. "It is wise of you to be here this week in Washington to make your voices heard. No one wants to be caught flat-footed if Congress decides to act quickly with tax reform."

More than 9,000 Realtors® are expected to attend the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week, they will also meet with legislators on Capitol Hill to address critical housing and private property issues like mortgage finance reform, tax laws for homeownership and real estate investment, and keeping the Federal Housing Administration affordable.

For more information about the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, visit www.realtor.org/midyear.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 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, Blogs and Video" tab on the website.

For further information contact:
Michelle Wardlaw
202-383-1050
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