Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alliance Launched to Advocate for Homeowners' Rights

Looks like some good news

Although homes are currently more affordable than at any point in the last 15 years and mortgage rates are still near historic lows, homeownership rates are falling in every segment of the U.S. population.
According to the Federal Reserve, single-family homeowners lost nearly $7 trillion in aggregate value since the peak of the housing market in 2007.
To help address these issues and entice borrowers to not become renters, a national alliance has been established with a goal of protecting and promoting sustainable homeownership for all 75 million existing homeowners and aspiring homebuyers across the country.
The America’s Homeowner Alliance will analyze legislation, regulation and business practices and advocate for public policy on behalf of all U.S. homeowners. To help guarantee a strong voice is heard in Washington representing homeowners throughout the country, the St. Louis-based nonpartisan organization will draft policy positions and scrutinize them through members of its advisory board and key housing industry leaders.
The alliance, which has taken more than two years to put together, is being launched by a team of industry veterans and an advisory board of housing industry professionals, along with prominent consumer groups and fair housing organizations.
Phil Bracken, who has more than 35 years of experience within the housing industry and has received many prestigious honors such as the Eagle Award from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers as well as the Andrew Woodward Distinguished Service Award from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, is the founder of the alliance and will serve as its chairman.
Notable alliance advisory board members are Armando Falcon, the former director of the Office of Federal Housing Oversight, and Joe Murin, the former president of Ginnie Mae.
“In terms of public policy, America’s homeowners have never had a collective voice of their own to promote their best interests,” Bracken said in a press release. “It’s time to take America’s homeowners off the menu and give them a seat at the table.”
Some of the immediate goals the alliance wants to secure for current and prospective homeowners include defending the mortgage interest deduction, preserving the low downpayment mortgage, maintaining the availability of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, protecting consumers from excess cost and less available mortgage financing, reducing government dominance of mortgage credit, and addressing the lack of new home construction lending.
“We will focus on examining the policies of both government and private entities so that we can serve as an ‘ombudsman’ for homeowners, providing protection from abusive or bad practices in the marketplace,” said Tino Diaz, the former chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, who was named president of the America’s Homeowner Alliance.
In addition to policy advocacy, alliance members will be able to participate in a rewards program consisting of more than 1,000 merchants such as Home Depot, Lowes and Sears, that allows them to purchase products that are important for homeowners. Dues are currently $20 per year for any consumer who is interested in joining.
“America’s Homeowner Alliance has launched to serve as the profound voice for sustainable homeownership and will continue to do so for years to come,” Bracken stated.

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