PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Homeownership is a Cornerstone Of A Strong Community

PRESIDENT'S CORNER:  Homeownership is a Cornerstone Of A Strong Community
HGAR President Anthony Domathoti

Recently, President Biden and the White House marked National Homeownership Month with a new proclamation affirming the importance of expanding access to safe, affordable housing. June celebrates Pride and now with federal recognition, Juneteenth is a remarkable reminder of an exercise toward the American Dream of homeownership.

Real estate is the root of economic growth, accounting for more than 16%–or $3 trillion—of America’s GDP. In the United States, home sales support more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year. In New York, the real estate industry accounted for $249.2 billion or 15.9% of the gross state product in 2021. And over the years, thanks in part to millions of dedicated Realtors and countless hardworking homebuyers, the real estate industry did its part to keep the country’s economy afloat during the pandemic.

To many, the very nature of owning a home offers people a sense of pride and security. It also represents a testament to one’s hard work and sacrifices. As an organization, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors believes it is vital to take time out to observe and promote homeownership not only for the personal benefits it provides, but also because of its proven ability to strengthen communities, offer long term, generational building opportunities and for the institution’s ability to stabilize and solidify America’s broader economy.

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled, “Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing,” which confirmed the positive and compelling social benefits from homeownership. There is evidence from numerous other studies that attest to the benefits accruing to many segments of society from homeownership. Even after considering the effect of the recent housing downturn, many studies found that homeownership still provides a variety of social benefits. Homeownership boosts the educational performance of children, induces higher participation in civic and volunteering activity, improves health care outcomes, lowers crime rates and lessens welfare dependency.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: while mortgage interest rates have been on a steady, upward trajectory all this first half of 2022, you have probably noticed that there was a rather abrupt increase in interest rates late last week to early this week. The Federal Reserve announced a 0.75% increase to the Fed Funds Rate.

To support our HGAR members and to provide some helpful context for how these rate increases may affect your clients—AND our business—we will release a webinar where, I, along with a panel of industry experts, discuss just what’s happening in the housing and financial markets, how you may help your buyers navigate the markets, how you may coach your sellers during this time, what questions you may want to ask loan officers when working with buyers or receiving offers on your listings, and more.

HGAR is active in our governmental processes. Whether it’s fighting burdensome regulations, protecting private property rights or promoting Realtor-friendly legislation, HGAR works hard to represent the real estate industry. HGAR also maintains a consumer-oriented, informational website that provides essential information for home buyers and sellers on such topics as current housing trends, market conditions, buyer and seller guides.

The time is now to come together and fight for the interests of homeowners and the real estate profession. I urge my fellow HGAR members and affiliates to renew their commitment to champion and advocate for homeownership. Every day, Realtors promote housing opportunities and help people realize their dreams of homeownership. Let’s remember that the impact of homeownership isn’t just measured in dollars and equity, but in the priceless memories of the lives that people share and the future they build together in their homes.

As our communities continue to grow and reflect the changing diversity of our country, Realtors stand ready to assist homeowners and home buyers assuring equal access to homeownership and building generational wealth for every member of our community. Quoting Maya Angelou, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” As Realtors, let us renew our commitment to serve our clients and customers. I encourage you to seek the NAR’s Commitment to Excellence by pursuing the C2EX designation and completing the Fair Housing Challenge.

It is our responsibility to ensure that EVERYONE at all income levels, and of all races and genders have the opportunity to this the American Dream. We can make it happen, we must, and we will! Realtors are working harder than ever to remove homeownership barriers and make the dream of buying or selling a home possible for EVERYONE.

When you walk a mile in another person’s shoes, the world changes right before your eyes.

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