You’re probably familiar with the statistic: Homeowners have a median net worth that is nearly 40 times greater than that of their renter counterparts, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Owners gained a staggering $3.2 trillion in home equity in 2021. Yet the current low inventory and high prices, as well as the continued burdens of student loan debt and historic racial inequalities, have essentially closed off this great wealth builder for many Americans.
“To get more people into homeownership … we need to overcome the ‘double trouble’ dilemma of low inventory and high prices—and now interest rates,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith in her Presidential Quarterly Update video released in late May.
That’s something the National Association of REALTORS® is working hard to do. NAR kicks off the month with the launch of a new Homeownership Month landing page that gathers the association’s policy priorities, research, and resources in one place.
“Our job is to fight for your clients, consumers, and the entire industry to make sure we have enough housing supply to make homeownership accessible, available, and affordable,” says NAR Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn.
Here are some of the activities and initiatives that NAR is highlighting as part of Homeownership Month:
1. NAR is working closely with the White House, Congress, and industry partners on solutions to increase housing supply and affordability. The association championed the inclusion of a historic funding request for affordable housing in the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2023 budget and applauded the White House for marking the importance of National Homeownership Month with a new proclamation. NAR is also currently advocating for the following key pieces of legislation:
- Housing Supply and Affordability Act (S. 902, H.R. 2126), which would create a Local Housing Policy Grant program for cities, states, and tribes to enact pro-housing policies at the local level.
- Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (S. 98, H.R. 2143), which would offer tax credits to attract private investment in building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes.
- GREATER Revitalization of Shopping Centers Act (H.R. 5041), which would create a grant within the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program to incentivize public and private investment in abandoned and underutilized shopping malls.
- Revitalizing Downtowns Act (S. 2511, H.R. 4759), which would offer a tax credit to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties.
- Housing Fairness Act (S. 769, H.R. 68), which would reauthorize and increase funding for HUD fair housing testing and enforcement programs.
2. As a founding member of the Black Homeownership Collaborative, NAR is working with coalition partners to add 3 million net new Black homeowners in the U.S. by 2030 through the 3by30 plan.
3. NAR Research has produced a number of landmark reports and analyses on housing supply and affordability that are valuable resources for members, policymakers, and the public:
- The 2022 Obstacles to Home Buying report explores current obstacles to home buying broken down by race and ethnicity.
- The Double Trouble of the Housing Market report examines the two challenges that are simultaneously impacting the housing market: record home prices and record low inventory.
- A Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America looks at homeownership trends, the mortgage market, and affordability by race and homebuyer demographics.
- Analysis and Case Studies in Office-to-Housing Conversions offers an in-depth study of how vacant office buildings are being converted into housing.
- State and local REALTOR® associations are promoting homeownership in their communities with the support of REALTOR® Party grants. For example, the West Georgia Board of REALTORS® recently leveraged a Housing Opportunity Grant to offer a homeownership course for first-time buyers, and Michigan REALTORS® successfully advocated for the passage of first-time homebuyer savings legislation with the assistance of an Issues Mobilization Grant. In addition, associations can apply for Fair Housing Grants to offer education and activities that further the mission of fair housing throughout the year.
4. Drive With NAR, the popular new REALTOR® Magazine podcast, will release a Homeownership Month–themed episode on June 6 that will focus on how to help new homeowners enter the market.
6. You can show your support for expanding homeownership by downloading NAR’s new Homeownership Month graphics and sharing them on your social channels. A 2022 graphic and general graphic are available.