Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS: Bus tour brings home ownership matters to Milwaukee

Contact: Mike Ruzicka

414-778-4929 or 414-870-1876

Milwaukee, WI (Monday, August 15, 2011) – Future homebuyers in the Greater Milwaukee area may not have access to affordable mortgages or be able to deduct their mortgage interest if some lawmakers in Washington have their way. Those are just two of the many issues the National Association of REALTORS® wants Milwaukee-area residents to know about as the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour pulls into town this Wednesday, August 17th.

“Home ownership is under attack, and we want to make sure that people understand what’s at stake,” said Steve Wiedenfeld, GMAR Chairman. “Whether you own a home today or want to own a home someday, it’s important for all of us to engage on these issues right now. With this bus tour, REALTORS® hope to give people the opportunity and the resources to make their voices heard.”

The Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour will be in town Wednesday, August 17th at two locations:

* Milwaukee City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Milwaukee at 10:00 AM

* GMAR Headquarters, 12300 W. Center Street, Wauwatosa at 12:00 Noon

Members of the public can meet with leaders and local officials from the GMAR and Wisconsin REALTORS® Association to discuss their concerns and learn more about the issues that may affect their ability to buy, sell or own a home in the future.

Other issues of extreme importance to home buyers and sellers include the impending roll-back of FHA loan limits on September 30th. FHA loan limits may be allowed to revert to 115 percent of an area’s median home price, down from a current 125 percent. In the 4-county metropolitan area, the loan limit would be reduced by $33,250 – from a current limit of $315,000 to $281,750.

“Reducing the current loan limits means that fewer people would have access to mortgage loans,” said John Horning, Chairman of the Wisconsin REALTORS Association®. “In addition, the loans that would be available would also be more expensive, as many buyers would be forced into jumbo mortgages. Home owners could also have a tougher time selling their homes because there would be fewer buyers who qualify to purchase those properties.”

Additionally, a proposed federal rule – the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule – would require most potential home buyers to come up with a 20-percent down payment. Borrowers with less than 20 percent down would have to choose between higher fees and rates – up to 3 percentage points more – or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment.

According to the recently released 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey, 51 percent of self-described “working class” home owners reported that a 20% down payment would have prevented them from achieving their dreams of home ownership.

“NAR estimates that it would take 14 years for the typical American family to save enough money for a 20 percent down payment,” Wiedenfeld said. “Strong evidence shows that responsible lending standards and ensuring a borrower’s ability to repay have the greatest impact on reducing lender risk, and not high down payments.”

Ongoing news and information for the tour will be posted on HouseLogic at HouseLogic is a free source of information from NAR that helps home owners maintain and enhance the value of their homes and engage in issues that affect their local communities.

The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® is a 4,000-member strong professional organization dedicated to providing information, services and products to “help REALTORS® help their clients” buy and sell real estate.