After a couple of weeks, two impressions remain with me from NAR’s Midyear Legislative Meetings and our first-ever Real Estate Summit.
First, it never fails to amaze how both in-touch and out-of-touch real estate and public policy “experts” are with the realities of the market.
All the Summit speakers expressed profound insights into how the whole housing debacle occurred. All made good suggestions as to how we could recover. However, few, if any of the speakers understood the realities of our market until one REALTOR® stood up and talked about challenges that military homeowners in Honolulu, Hawaii, are facing. You could hear the gasps as she described how those serving our country are being forced into foreclosure when they change duty stations.
Another REALTOR® explained how the short sale process – or lack of a consistent one – is really hurting home buyers, home sellers and REALTORS® across the nation. Finally, another REALTOR® related how lenders are now telling clients to stop paying their mortgages so they can get help. Everyone knew about that, but what this REALTOR® pointed out to our panelists is that everyone who does this is out of the market for five to seven years, meaning this “short-term” problem will have major long term implications for housing and our nation.
These are real people with real problems.
I watched the speakers, including FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Alan Greenspan and others, listen – really listen – to what we shared. I realized that, until then, they had not fully grasped the long-term effects. It took REALTORS®, who are in the trenches, doing business each and every day, to help these experts in charge of finding solutions to more fully understand the scope of these problems. Judging from their honest hesitation in answering the questions raised by our members, I think they finally began to see what needs to be done.
And so my second impression, which is really more of a conclusion, is that in order to effectively move forward, REALTORS® must be at the table to help government leaders develop policies to stabilize our industry and the economy. As the “Voice of Real Estate”, the country needs us. — Steve Brown, VP and Liaison to Committees