National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Steve Brown delivered remarks about the ongoing obstacles to mortgage credit facing creditworthy buyers at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s 2014 Housing Summit, Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy.
Brown, co-owner of Irongate Inc. Realtors in Dayton, Ohio, joined distinguished housing leaders and experts at the conference, including Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD); Carole Galante, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); and current and former U.S. Sens. Kit Bond (R-MO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mel Martinez (R-FL).
“Homeownership is not a Republican or Democratic talking point, it’s a shared aspiration by all Americans,” said Brown. “I’m pleased to be a part of the BPC’s summit, which is an opportunity for experts and policy makers from both sides of the aisle to come together and discuss housing policy in a bipartisan manner.”
Brown discussed impacts of the new Ability-to-Repay (ATR) rules on the current lending environment and emphasized how restrictive pricing policies at the FHA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency make homeownership prohibitively expensive for some first-time and traditionally underserved buyers relative to prime offer rates.
FHA’s high annual mortgage insurance premiums and insurance requirement for the life of the loan pose significant challenges to qualified buyers who are being priced out of FHA or the market altogether.
In a letter to FHFA last week, Brown raised concerns about the agency’s proposal to increase its guarantee fees and the upfront loan level price adjustments charged to borrowers. The increases would disparately impact individuals with shorter credit histories and lower down payments and as a result, shut middle class Americans out of the housing market.