RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

JUL 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE July 2019 13 {Policy Matters} O n June 5, 2019, the Department of Veter- ans Affairs (VA) and the National Associa- tion of REALTORS® (NAR) held a 75 th anniversary celebration of the GI Bill and the 24 millionth home loan that was recently processed through the VA Home Loan Guaran- ty Program. The event took place in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club and featured speakers from the VA, NAR, the American Legion, the National Association of Mortgage Bankers and the National Association of Home Builders. The GI Bill, which began as The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, provides educational and training opportunities for veterans. The GI Bill also offers the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, which is a vital homeownership tool that pro- vides veterans with a centralized, af- fordable and accessible method of purchasing homes as a benefit for their service to the nation. VA Home Loans provide government-backed financing with zero down payment. According to NAR's Home Buyers and Sellers Profile survey data from 2016 to 2018, 41 percent of vet- eran homebuyers obtaining mort- gage financing used the zero down- payment option. Speakers at the event took the opportunity to laud the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program. NAR Presi- dent John Smaby congratulated the VA on the great success of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program in providing veterans and their fami- lies access to safe and affordable mortgage financing: "At the Na- tional Association of REALTORS®, we believe that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. After all, it is homes that have allowed veterans the security to relocate, transition from military to civilian life, grow their families and even retire in a place they can call their own." Smaby stressed the ongoing support of REALTORS® for the VA Loan Program and the commitment of REALTORS® across the country in helping the nation's service mem - bers reach the American Dream of homeownership. NAR Research Analyst Brian Horowitz gave an in-depth analysis of the VA Home Loan Program. Ac- cording to Horowitz, the median age of a veteran homebuyer is 59, and one-fifth of veteran purchasers are first-time homebuyers. The current homeownership rate for veterans in the U.S. is 78 percent, compared to 68 percent for the non-military population. When looking at the makeup of veteran households, Horowitz noted that for many ser - vice members, family extends be- yond the traditional nuclear family, with vets providing homes to their grown children, grandchildren or par- ents. In fact, 17 percent of veterans are purchasing multigenerational housing, compared to 12 percent of the general U.S. population. The highlight of the celebration was the recognition of the 24 mil- lionth VA Home Loan to Sergeant First Class William Kopf, of Scran- ton, Pa. SFC Kopf's REALTOR®, Mar- ilou Saar, was also on hand for the event. Nine out of 10 veterans use a real estate agent when they pur- chase a home. These real estate agents are critical to ensuring that veterans find the right homes for their families. On the horizon for the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program is H.R. 299, the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veter- ans Act of 2019." This bill contains favorable provisions that would elimi- nate the loan cap on VA Home Loans, allowing veterans to use the benefit to purchase the homes they want wherever they prefer. REALTORS® support this measure and continued changes to the VA Loan Program that enable veterans access to safe, af- fordable financing for the homes of their dreams. For more information about VA Home Loan Programs, visit www.nar.realtor/veterans-affairs. RE Sehar Siddiqi is NAR's Federal Policy Representative. This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group. by Sehar Siddiqi The VA Loan Program: Creating a Path to Homeownership for 75 Years

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