ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The value of homeownership is being borne out in cities across the country as home equity roars back, but the homeownership rate continues to hover around a 50-year low, despite a strong desire among Americans to own a home of their own. Bill Brown, 2017 president of the National Association of Realtors ®, warned at a news conference today against any measures that would put homeownership further out of reach.
"Homeownership offers tremendous value, helping communities stabilize and families build wealth," said Brown, a second-generation Realtor ® and founder of Investment Properties in Oakland, California. "High prices, low inventories, rising rents and student debt burdens are all part of a deck that's heavily stacked against buyers in competitive markets, but there's reason for optimism ahead. Realtors ® are working hard to ensure clients meet their personal and financial real estate goals, and NAR is helping give Realtors ® the tools to get the job done." Brown pointed to historically low borrowing costs as an opportunity for buyers, as well as real estate investors, while noting that challenges still remain. Recent NAR survey data show a lingering misconception about how much of a down payment is required to purchase a home, a factor that may unnecessarily delay some qualified young adults from entering the market. Access to mortgage credit remains a challenge as well, particularly for those borrows with "thin" credit histories. Brown pointed out that low- and moderate-income buyers who have avoided debt may have trouble accessing mortgage credit despite years of on-time rent payments, consistent water and electric bill payments, or other indicators of a strong borrowing profile.