Last week, Realogy president and CEO Richard A. Smith addressed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development on the current state of the U.S. housing market.
Prior to presenting his testimony, Mr. Smith shared what he hoped to achieve by addressing the Subcommittee: “Given the housing sector’s substantial influence on all aspects of the U.S. economy, we would like to see a more cohesive national plan to address a recovery in the housing market. Current government policies and programs may be well intentioned, but they are suppressing a recovery, the Dodd-Frank Act as an example. The end result is an environment that has constrained everyone from homebuyers and sellers to lenders and mortgage servicers alike. Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets. We believe the immediate issues that must be addressed are high unemployment, the persistent overhang of foreclosed properties, low consumer confidence and failed government intervention programs.”
He went on to discuss the following economic factors that are having a negative impact on housing, and gave recommendations for potential solutions in a number of areas:
- Jobs – 16.2% of Americans are underemployed or are temporarily employed. These citizens do not buy homes.
- Foreclosures – Realogy is in favor of measures that mitigate and prevent foreclosures. That said, Realogy is in favor of the short sale process.
- Refinancing – Realogy encourages programs that allow home owners to refinance and better afford their current homes.
- Government programs – Realogy called for Congress to extend GSE loan limits for at least another two years and support the extension of the national flood insurance program.
CENTURY 21 is proud that Mr. Smith shared his industry expertise with Congress in this forum.
Now we want to hear from you. What do you think is the most critical factor impacting the housing market, and what new ideas do you have to potentially fix the problem(s)?