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WASHINGTON (October 14, 2015) — A vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home is a solid financial decision, and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a home.

The survey, which measures consumers' attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that more than eight in 10 Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68 percent believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013.

When asked for reasons about why homeownership matters to them, respondents’ answers did not change significantly from past years. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top three reasons to own a home.

"Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities," said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. "Realtors® believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals."

The number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home has increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36 percent to 39 percent. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future.  According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents believe that pre-purchase counseling programs and classes are very or somewhat important. Forty-five percent of homeowners who said they did not take a counseling program, reported they would have taken part in one had it been easily available to them.

Attitudes about the housing market have improved in recent years. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they feel activity in the housing market has increased in the past year, compared to 44 percent in 2013 and 12 percent in 2011. Eighty-nine percent expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15 percent of respondents indicating that foreclosure is a major concern.

In addition to improved attitudes about the housing market, survey participants also showed an improved outlook regarding the economy. Only 36 percent think that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem, a substantial drop from 45 percent in 2013.

Perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged compared to recent years; 78 percent of respondents point to college debt and student loans as the main obstacle to making a home purchase affordable. Seventy-six percent of participants said they have a full-time job but still did not make enough money to purchase a home. Seventy-four percent believe they do not have enough money for a down payment and closing costs.

As the market has improved, concern about the cost of housing has increased. Two-thirds of survey participants said that home prices are more expensive than they were a year ago. There is additional concern over the lack of available housing; 41 percent said the lack of affordable homes is either a very big or fairly big problem in their area, an increase of 9 percent points from 2013.

For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86 percent of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that their housing costs are a financial strain on their budget, 65 percent are concerned about high rental prices, and 60 percent are concerned about high home prices. However, millennials tend to have a more upbeat and positive view about the future of the nation than older Americans, with 42 percent of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20 percent among those aged 50 and older.

The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey polled 1,000 adults nationwide in the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. An additional 250 interviews were conducted with millennial adults (born after 1981) from the same geography. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Read more: Americans Think Homeownership is a Sound Investment

WASHINGTON (October 9, 2015) – U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet today joined National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun at an event highlighting small business issues and commercial real estate.

“Commercial real estate plays a big role in supporting the national economy, contributing to job growth and the revitalization of communities,” said Yun. “For that work to continue, access to credit is critical. The SBA is important to facilitating liquidity in the marketplace, connecting small businesses with lenders and offering assistance when the general credit market freezes or disaster strikes.”

Yun said these issues are important to Realtors®, who not only have a vested interest in the success of small business but are often small business owners themselves. “We appreciate the SBA’s ongoing partnership and look forward to future collaboration,” he said.

SBA loan programs are an option for commercial real estate interests when other funding is unavailable.  According to NAR research, SBA loans provided one in 10 Realtors® with commercial real estate funding in 2014. Twelve percent of Realtors® utilized the SBA for resources other than loans.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet underscored the SBA’s commitment to electronic filings as part of an overall effort to cut down on processing times for applications. She also took the opportunity to highlight SBA’s LINC program, an online platform that connects small businesses with SBA lenders.

Other experts from SBA also joined Yun for a discussion on SBA loan programs. Linda Reilly, chief of SBA’s 504 Loan Program, discussed how her office assists small businesses in purchasing fixed assets. Likewise, Bob Carpenter of the SBA’s 7(a) Program branch discussed his office’s work providing loans directly to small businesses.

Small business concerns are important to Realtors®, which largely operate as small business owners. According to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Real Estate Firms, 80 percent of real estate firms have a single office, typically with two full-time real estate licensees. Firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million in 2014.

In light of the recent floods in South Carolina, panelists also discussed SBA’s low-interest disaster loans to small business owners affected by severe storms and other natural disasters. According to recent NAR data, 5 percent of members who utilized SBA loan programs did so through a disaster loan.

Overall, Realtor® commercial members show heavy optimism for the future of their industry, according to NAR’s firm profile. Of those members surveyed, 75 percent expect their profitability (net income) to improve over the next year.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


See the related infographic.

Read more: SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet, Realtors® Chief Economist Yun Put Commercial Lending in Focus

Chris PolychronWASHINGTON (October 2, 2015) — The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron in advance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Know Before You Owe TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, or TRID, going into effect tomorrow, October 3:

"Realtors® across the country have worked hard to prepare for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, which goes into effect tomorrow.

"NAR has been in close contact with the CFPB throughout this process to advocate changes that would address Realtor® concerns, like moving implementation from August 1 to October 3 to accommodate the busy buying and selling season. NAR also applauds CFPB Director Richard Cordray for committing this week in writing and in congressional testimony to a safe-harbor period for good-faith actors in the early stages of implementation.

"For all the good work that has been done, we know there will be challenges ahead, especially in the first few months.

"That means that as these new rules take effect, the hard work to deliver timely and efficient closings continues; extra time for closings and open lines of communication will be critical. NAR will continue to communicate Realtors®' and their clients' concerns to the CFPB and help ensure the new rules are carried out with as little disruption as possible to consumers and the industry.

"At the same time, Realtors® will continue providing expert service to their clients and playing a critical role in helping consumers everywhere achieve their buying, selling and investing objectives."

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Read more: NAR President Chris Polychron on Know Before You Owe: “The Hard Work Continues”

WASHINGTON (September 30, 2015) — Over the last 16 years, the Good Neighbor Awards have recognized Realtors® from across the nation who dedicate countless volunteer hours to improve the lives and wellbeing of their neighbors. The five individuals named as this year's REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award winners embody this incredible commitment to helping those around them and serve as an example of how Realtors® build and strengthen communities.

The 2015 Good Neighbor Award winners are Daniel L. Goodwin, The Inland Real Estate Group Inc., Oak Brook, Ill., for founding New Directions Housing Corp.; Nancy E. Hines, F.C. Tucker Co. Inc., Avon, Ind., for cofounding Ovar'coming Together, Inc.; John Kersten, Century 21 Town & Country, Utica, Mich., for raising $15 million for Easter Seals Michigan; Barbara Mills, RE/MAX Realty One, Inverness, Fla., for founding Operation Welcome Home; Susan Stearns, Berkshire Hathaway, California Properties, Calabasas, Calif., for serving New Horizons for 30 years.

"This year's Good Neighbor Award winners work tirelessly to increase the quality of life for so many individuals and families, while also enriching communities across the country," says National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron, executive broker of 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. "The passion, dedication and commitment shared by this year's winners serve as an inspiration to us all."

Each of the five winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The recipients will be presented with crystal trophies on Saturday, Nov. 14, during the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego.

The Good Neighbor Awards have been granted annually since 2000 and are presented by NAR's REALTOR® Magazine. More than $1 million in grants have been awarded to the winners' charities since the inaugural award.

Daniel L. Goodwin founded the New Directions Housing Corp., a nonprofit that provides affordable housing for low-income residents. Since 1994, NDHC has built or rehabbed nearly 500 multifamily units throughout Illinois. The nonprofit partners with other groups to provide residents with services such as Meals on Wheels, after-school programs, free flu shots and other recreational activities. Goodwin has also served on the board of the Illinois Housing Development Authority Trust Fund and chaired the first Affordable Housing Task Force for DuPage County.

As a four-time cancer survivor, Nancy Hines has been a source of support, hope and encouragement to countless women. In 1996, she cofounded Ovar'coming Together Inc. with two women she met while they were all undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. Since then, the organization has raised $2 million to increase awareness about ovarian cancer symptoms and early diagnosis, support survivors and caregivers and fund research. Hines played a key role in founding the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and has served on the board of the Indiana health department's Office of Women's Health for 10 years.

For 23 years, John Kersten has volunteered his time and talent raising funds for Easter Seals Michigan. He started out organizing rubber duck races but quickly found a way to maximize fundraising by using his business and marketing skills. Today he runs six annual car and cash raffles, which net more than $1 million a year. The $15 million he has raised over the years supports children and adults with disabilities, including the Miracle League baseball team for children with disabilities and the Agrability program, which serves farmers with injuries, illnesses, or aging conditions.

Barbara Mills started Operation Welcome Home in 2007 to honor soldiers as they return from Iraq or Afghanistan. A military mother herself, she has raised more than $200,000 to hold welcome-home parties for nearly 500 veterans and National Guardsmen and provides baskets of gift cards for food, gas and shopping. She often provides additional services to help the soldiers; for example, she recently helped rehab a home for a veteran who was living in an unfinished structure. She also organizes trips for Honor Flight so that area World War II veterans can visit the memorial in Washington, D.C.

For 30 years, Susan Stearns has volunteered with New Horizons, a nonprofit that provides group home and independent living support, employment services and educational and recreational programming to 1,000 adults with intellectual disabilities. Serving on the board for 10 years, Stearns founded several fundraising events that have raised more than $2.5 million. As ambassador and advocate for the nonprofit, she has recruited many volunteers, board members and donors.

In addition to the winners, five Realtors® have been recognized as Good Neighbor Awards honorable mentions and will each receive $2,500 grants: George Demchak, Kissinger Bigatel & Brower, Realtors®, State College, Penn., founder of Punkin Chunkin' to benefit the local volunteer firefighters; George S. Lucas, Harbor Country, Union Pier, Mich., president of Chikaming Open Lands; Ida M. Petkus, Keller Williams, Medford, N.J., founder of Domestic Violence Advocacy Center; Dona Reynolds, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers Real Estate, St. Joseph, Mo., founder of the Mark Reynolds Memorial Bike Fund; and Stephen L. Seidl, Seidl & Associates, a division of ShoreWest, Realtors®, Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis., for cofounding Miracle League of Green Bay.

During the month of September, the public could cast votes for the one of the 10 Good Neighbor Award finalists to be named the Web Choice Award winner. The Good Neighbor with the most votes was John Kersten, who will receive an additional $1,000 bonus donation for Easter Seals Michigan, courtesy of realtor.com®.

REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance and realtor.com®. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Awards winners is available at www.realtor.org/gna.


Liberty Mutual Insurance (www.libertymutual.com/nar/) is one of the world's leading and most trusted insurance carriers. For more than 100 years, their mission has been to provide comprehensive, quality insurance products that help their customers live safer, more secure lives. Liberty Mutual has worked hard to develop personal insurance programs that provide long-term benefits to their customers, and constantly strives to improve their products and services. Equally important, is their legacy of working for the public good through philanthropy, safety research, and educational outreach. For that reason, Liberty Mutual is proud to be the 2015 primary sponsor of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards, expanding their partnership with the National Association of Realtors®. For more than a decade, as part of the REALTOR Benefits® Program, Liberty Mutual has been NAR's exclusive partner for auto, home and renters insurance. Through this program NAR members are eligible to receive special savings and insurance benefits.

Realtor.com® delivers consumer real estate's largest and most accurate database of homes for sale and rent available anywhere. The home and rental listings on realtor.com® and realtor.com® mobile apps are pulled directly from over 800 local MLSs, with most listings updated every 15 minutes. Plus, realtor.com® has a huge database of new home listings, rental properties and property values for millions of homes nationwide, so users can find out about new listings, new homes, price reductions and great deals first. Realtor.com® is also the only national site that offers a complete database of over 1 million Realtors®. Whether you're buying, selling, renting or researching, realtor.com® has the latest and most accurate information available to help you make an informed decision. Realtor.com® is real estate in real time.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Read more: 2015 Realtor® Good Neighbor Award Winners Bring Positive Change to Communities

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