E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.
For many years, this has been the motto of the United States. Today, it seems to be more important than ever. As a country, we need to come together in order to thrive in the next century, rather than simply survive. You hear a lot about the changing role of the United States in the world. While that is important, we need to come together to take care of families, whether home owners or renters, in this country.
As an organization, we need to do the same. Out of many we need to be one.
The Rally to Protect the American Dream, in Washington, D.C., on May 17, is a tangible example, a true witness to the agenda.
E Pluribus Unum. Fifteen thousand of our members will represent the 1,000,000 members who represent the 75,000,000 home owners and the 320 million Americans who need shelter.
Another way of looking at it is thousands of voices coming together for a single message, in a single voice — the voice for home ownership. Out of many, one.
It is also true that this country is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We as an organization are exactly that:
- We are OF our membership, leadership and REALTOR® on the street;
- We are participants in our industry and our country (BY the people);
- And we work FOR ourselves, our customers and clients, and our country.
We truly are OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people.
We are gathering in Washington, D.C., to personally and collectively deliver our message to our representatives and our government. They both need to be of, by, and for the citizens of this nation.
I am excited to be joining fellow REALTORS® in Washington D.C., to do my part for families across this country. E Pluribus Unum.
by Steve Brown, First Vice President, National Association of REALTORS®
Recently, President Obama proposed several programs to revive the housing market. One such proposal calls for the bulk sale of real estate owned (REO) properties. In areas where property values have plummeted and there is a backlog of inventory, units would be bundled together and sold to investors, creating additional single-family rental properties, thus helping to stabilize housing value market.
According to a letter sent to Congress by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, increasing rentals may reduce losses by lenders on foreclosed and surrendered properties and stem declines in home prices.
While NAR supports the goals of the program, we urge the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to proceed cautiously with its REO Initiative pilot program to sell homes repossessed by government agencies to private investors to convert into rental units. While it may help to quickly reduce high REO inventories, the plan would obviously decrease the overall number of property owners and require taxpayers to perhaps accept more risk and larger losses than are necessary if the market were able to react to these properties individually.
NAR supports small pilot programs in those areas that would potentially benefit from this type of market approach, and we will closely monitor the impact of such. At the same time, we believe the government needs to also follow through on separate efforts to loosen tight credit markets, modify existing loans to keep people in their homes and remove bureaucratic burdens associated with short sales.
Individual sales should be incentivized over bulk sales, except in small geographic areas. Selling in bulk to large national investors puts a large section of the housing market into the hands of fewer property owners, which then puts individual home buyers and sellers at a great disadvantage.
That said, this program could very well benefit some areas of the country. In Florida, the foreclosure inventory is at 14.27 percent, and many REALTORS® believe this would help move the market. Yet, other areas may not need it. In California, the inventory has already been reduced to 3.45 percent. Instead of helping California’s market, bulk sales would take more transactions out of the market, thus hurting the consumer’s access to the housing market in such a high cost area.
One well learned principle of real estate must be applied to Federal policy—all real estate is local. Federal programs will succeed only if this underlying principle is observed.
By President-Elect Gary Thomas, National Association of REALTORS®
There is a persistent truth about home ownership.
No matter how difficult the last few years have been, and no matter how much of a battering the housing industry takes, Americans still want to be homeowners.
A New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year said that 89 percent of all Americans continue to see home ownership as an important part of the American Dream.
That’s in large part because our homes are the place where we settle down, raise our children, relax and live out our lives.
And it’s still hard to beat a house as a long-term investment. Home ownership is a contributing factor in building long-term wealth. Historically, a home owner’s net worth has ranged from 31 to 46 times that of a renter.
There are also numerous social benefits to home ownership. People who own homes are more involved in their communities. They vote more, volunteer more and contribute more to their neighborhoods. Even better, their children do better in school, stay in school longer and are more likely to participate in organized activities. As a result, they spend less time in front of the television.
Home ownership even contributes to a better quality of life. Research shows that home owners are happier and healthier. They enjoy more freedom in redecorating and renovating their house to meet their needs. Housing costs are more stable for home owners than for renters, and they can usually deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their federal individual income tax return—an issue that will come up very soon as tax day draws near.
All in all, Home Ownership Matters! Truer words were never spoken.
By Steve Brown, First Vice President, National Association of REALTORS®
I confess. All this time, I thought the passionate dream of owning your own home was somehow uniquely American. After all, this is the dream that has inspired every generation in this country to work hard and save money so as to be able to afford to buy that house, that condo, that farm, to call home. And it is that dream that has inspired REALTORS® to consistently advocate for a financial and tax system that encourages and enables Americans to be able to realize that dream—not to mention protecting the private property rights of those who already do.
Well, over the past seven days my understanding of the dream of homeownership has broadened. I have discovered it lives in the hearts of people in at least two Asian countries. And I suspect it lives in the hearts of people all over the world.
I had the opportunity, on behalf of NAR, to meet with local and national real estate professionals as well as senior governmental officials in Taiwan and the Philippines to promote home ownership in America, and the REALTOR® brand. Obviously, given their own histories, political structures and economies, many of their local issues are different from ours. But what was not different was their desire to help their countrymen have a home. And all the benefits of home ownership that we espouse here, they too see as a result of home ownership—better, safer communities, more civic involvement—increased voter participation, better performance in school, long term wealth accumulation, even better, healthier lifestyles.
And one more thing I witnessed this past week: NAR has a real role to play throughout the world in fostering home ownership. Our business model of an association of REALTORS® working together for the good of not only the consumer, but also of our industry; our model of advocacy work with our governments; our practice of transparency in our businesses; our professional, ethical business practices developed for the past 100 years; our technology that we use to better serve our customer. For all of these reasons and more, our Association needs to be increasingly global. It’s no great stretch to see how much more mobile our world is becoming and what a great pool of buyers are waiting for REALTORS® from America! Moreover, spreading the REALTOR® model, and REALTOR® brand, throughout the world could easily mean doubling our membership in the coming decades.
My eyes have been opened a little wider these past few days. What I have said so often in the past was underscored: “The work we do as REALTORS® is important.” Now, I would add three more words to that sentence: “The work we do as REALTORS® is important—around the world!”