This just in, from the Oklahoma Association of Realtors:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – An estimated crowd of 13,800 Realtors from around the country rallied in the shadow of the Washington Monument Thursday to show support of protecting the American dream of home ownership.
“There was such energy and momentum in the crowd. We’re committed to helping Oklahomans achieve the dream of homeownership,” Momper said. “Part of that is removing obstacles that may make it more difficult for people to buy or sell real estate.”
Realtors are concerned about two major issues: the loss of flood insurance and the mortgage interest deduction.
Congressional action is needed to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program to ensure access to affordable flood insurance, the Realtors said. Millions of American taxpayers rely on the program for flood protection. Realtors are urging the Senate to pass a five-year flood insurance reauthorization bill before the current temporary extension of the current flood bill expires on May 31.
The mortgage interest deduction is a remarkably effective tool that facilitates homeownership, the Realtors said. NAR opposes any changes that would limit or undermine current law.
In a public statement to the Obama administration, National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi said, “The (mortgage interest deduction) must not be targeted for change. Any modifications to the deductibility of mortgage interest will harm housing and homeowners, and until housing markets have stabilized, there cannot be a robust economic recovery. Realtors are actively engaged to ensure that America’s 75 million home owners will continue to receive this important benefit.”
Rally speakers from across the country, including members of Congress, stressed that homeowners improve communities. “No one aspires to be a renter!” said Gerardo Ascencio, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the Rally represented the largest gathering of REALTORS® ever in one place.
Note: I actually did aspire to be a renter; that is, I aspired to move out of my parents’ house and I did, in fact, aspire to be a renter; and I was a renter by choice until after I got married. Just sayin’.
Colleague Jennifer Palmer blogs:
It’s a follow-up to her story here.
Edmond’s first quarter cost of living index ranks 6.6 percent below the national average according to the latest Cost of
Living Index by ACCRA, the association of community and economic development research professionals.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted class certification in a mortgage loan appraisal suit alleging defendants conspired to inflate appraisals to increase the sale of loans in the secondary market.
The plot just keep getting thicker and thicker.
ELDON, Iowa — Beth Howard sits at her kitchen table on a Sunday morning and pulls back the curtain to peer at a group of rosy-cheeked youths taking pictures on her front lawn. They pair off to stand side by side in the pose familiar to millions — the dour farmer with a pitchfork, the unsmiling woman beside him in front of the white house.
No one notices the woman in flannel pajamas sitting inside.
Read the rest, from the Los Angeles Times.
It reminded me of this column of mine, from ought-ought-6.
ELDON, Iowa — “Harrumph,” my wife, the lovely Dr. Mize, grumbled at my confession to not knowing “American Gothic,” Grant Wood’s much-admired and much-parodied painting of a woman and a pitchfork-holding man in front of a heartland farmhouse, is at the Art Institute of Chicago.
In Iowa, beckoned the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which houses the world’s largest collection of works by Wood, an Iowa native. Then Google, font of all knowledge, allowed that Chicago, too far and in the wrong direction on the drive back to Oklahoma from Iowa City, held my Americana-loving heart’s desire.
“I thought you had an education in the humanities,” the lovely Dr. Mize sniffed.
“Hey,” I said. “I knew Grant Wood painted ‘American Gothic.’ I learned that in humanities at Connors State College, I’ll have you know.”
“American Gothic” (1930, oil on beaverboard) is one of the most recognized images from 20th-century American art.
The plainness and sternness of the subjects are gripping, and the title, which plays off the Carpenter Gothic style of the house in the background — stoneless, brickless Gothic Revival — caught an era.
A prof at Connors or Oklahoma State even taught me that the people in the painting were real people close to the artist — kin of some sort? (Google: his sister and dentist.)
What a discovery to learn of the model house, not far off the path home in Eldon, a town of 1,000 a couple of hours southwest of Iowa City.
The State Historical Society of Iowa owns and manages the 1881-1882 house — three rooms and bathroom downstairs, two bedrooms, each with a Gothic window, upstairs. Other than a brief stint as a candy and novelty store, it always was a private residence. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Carl E. Smith donated it as historic site in 1991.
“The house’s historic value is its exterior appearance — the way he saw it when sketching the background for his famous ‘American Gothic,’” the historical society says.
You can’t go inside because it’s so small and fragile. But why should anyone want to? The main point of seeing the house is to see it as the artist saw it. That, we did.
To our shame, but it was cold and raining and we were in a hurry, we did not strike the “American Gothic” pose ourselves, which is the touristy, kitschy — American — thing to do. Business calls Dr. Mize to Iowa regularly. Next time.
“Borrowing and lending on commercial and multifamily properties continues to rebound from the lows seen during the Great Recession,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. “The low interest rates and stabilization in commercial real estate fundamentals that raised origination levels by 55 percent in 2011 are continuing to buoy activity in 2012.”
Read all about it (pdf), from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
And may I add: Yee haw!
NAR: 1Q Housing Affordability Index hits record high … which means … prices are lo — wait, no, unaffordability is … high! Which means … oh, heck it’s good news, basically, for buyers
WASHINGTON (May 15, 2012) – Housing affordability conditions for all buyers reached a milestone in the first quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors(r).
NAR’s composite quarterly Housing Affordability Index* rose to a record high of 205.9 in first quarter, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate.
The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. This is the first time the quarterly index broke the 200 mark; recordkeeping began in 1970.
Real all about it, from the National Association of Realtors
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes gained five points in May from a downwardly revised reading in the previous month to reach a level of 29 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This is the index’s strongest reading since May of 2007.
Read all about it, from the National Association of Home Builders.
Read all about it, on Dan Green’s blog, The Mortgage Reports.
Is that the case in Oklahoma? I’m sure it is. Do tell, in the comments.