RealtorsÂ® at the National Association of RealtorsÂ® annual conference heard from Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and political media consultant Alex Castellanos, who both agreed the housing market is hurting and needs to be a top priority for the 2012 presidential candidates.
Both speakers said that while much of the debate focuses on the financial aspects of homeownership, there is no denying that owning a home has many social benefits and is important to the fabric of society.
â€œOwning a home represents the best of America, is a goal for many families and has many benefits beyond the financial. We build the economy on homeownership, however, and until the housing market is restored, the nation and economy canâ€™t move forward,â€ said Castellanos. He said that instead of taking money from hardworking, middle-class Americans by reducing or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, the government should to cut its spending and give back to the American people.
â€œTaking away the mortgage interest deduction would let even more air out of the balloon and be devastating to the housing market and economy. I donâ€™t anticipate changes to mortgage interest deduction,â€ said Castellanos.
Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) also spoke at the forum and urged RealtorsÂ® to reach out to their members of Congress and encourage them to get involved in stabilizing the housing market.
â€œA healthy housing industry helps everyone in the country. The housing market has led this nation out of every downturn weâ€™ve had in the past. Congress needs to focus on stabilizing the market, and that must be dealt with today and in a comprehensive fashion that will serve home owners today and in the future,â€ said Miller.
He said that legislation and regulations to fix the housing market must do no further harm. Miller said reduced loan limits for conforming loans, proposals that would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and calls to eliminate or reduce the mortgage interest deduction are having a negative impact on consumer confidence and the housing industry, and could lead to less liquidity and possibly more foreclosures.
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