Thursday, March 17, 2011

‘Spread the Word’: Home Ownership Matters

by Katherine Tarbox

The day before the National Association of REALTORS® starts its Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, REALTORS® from the Chicago area gathered at NAR headquarters Friday for a town hall-style meeting. The topic: the state of home ownership in America today.

2011 NAR President-Elect Moe Veissi, in Chicago for the kick-off, encouraged REALTORS® attending the meeting to start talking with peers and clients about how much the U.S. economy is affected by home ownership. ”We need to spread the word,” he told the 100 or so REALTORS® in the audience. Key messages he asked members to share:

  • The housing market makes up $4 trillion, or about 15 percent, of the total U.S. gross domestic product.
  • The housing industry has led the way out of six of the last eight U.S. recessions.
  • For every two homes sold in the United States, one job is created.

"You want stimulus? Don't mess with the MID!" 2011 NAR President-Elect Moe Veissi said during a town hall meeting in Chicago March 4.

Veissi asked members to join in the fight by voicing their concerns to their elected officials and by sharing these statistics publicly in their community. ”Let’s help the American consumer understand how vital home ownership is to a healthy U.S. economy,” he said, “and how it helps to create the thing we need most right now, jobs.”

One of NAR’s key priorities is preventing any chipping away of the mortgage interest deduction as a means of helping to reduce the federal deficit. The push comes at a time when editorial boards of major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have come out in favor of eliminating or reducing this tax benefit, which has been in place for almost 100 years.”Home owners already pay a majority of the taxes in this country,” Veissi said.

“The deduction didn’t cause the deficit problem,” agreed Chicago Association of REALTORS® President Mabél Guzmán, who joined Veissi for the question-and-answer session. Rather that taking away the deduction, the government needs to look internally at how it can streamline its operations, she said. ”Small businesses have been making these kind of cuts for years.”