Employer-Assisted Housing Regional Forums NAR held the first of our two regional EAH Forums in Philadelphia on November 19. The Forum was designed to bring together regional, state and local housing leaders, local and county government, REALTORS® and business professionals to inform and educate them about employer-assisted housing. As a conference host, NAR played a strong role in the Forum, with REALTORS® serving on panels and giving remarks at various segments of the program. Participants were actively engaged in discussions with industry professionals as they presented models of a variety of EAH programs, including a presentation of a Realtor-driven EAH model established in Maryland. One of the panels provided an in-depth look at the creation of the city of Philadelphia’s EAH program. Steve Wing of CVS Corporation, who was the keynote speaker, shared insights and best practices on implementing a successful EAH program. View the speaker presentations.  
  Housing Opportunity Speaker Series In January 2010, the Housing Opportunity Program will launch a web-based Speakers Series, which will cover a variety of housing opportunity topics of interest to Realtors® and Realtor® association staff. The Speakers Series will consist of monthly, one-hour, web-based presentations. The Speakers Series will provide an avenue for the Housing Opportunity Program and its strategic partners to share important information and resources on a more regular basis. The schedule for the 2010 Speaker Series will be on realtor.org and will be included each month in Housing Opportunity Notes. Each webinar will be recorded and available for download from realtor.org.  
  Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Update At the NAR Annual Conference, representatives from three state associations (CA,FL,WA) that have already received grants through the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing grants program gave presentations on their programs and their experience in the grant application process. To date, 13 states have been awarded grants totaling $1.6 million. Get the latest update on the grants and find out how your state association can apply.  
  Expanding Housing Opportunities Class Update The final 2009 Expanding Housing Opportunities Pilot Class is scheduled for Wednesday, December 9, in Chicago, IL. The class provides a comprehensive overview of affordable housing and the REALTORS®’ role in that market. Register for the class.  
  Home From Work/Employer-Assisted Housing Class Update Starting in January, the Home From Work class will be called the Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) Class. The EAH class encourages and promotes employer-assisted housing (EAH) which is housing benefits employers can offer to help strengthen their employees’ potential to purchase their own homes. The class teaches Realtors® how to work with local employers to implement an EAH benefit. The updated class will be four hours and has four modules: Workforce Housing Overview; EAH as a Workforce Housing Solution; Types of EAH; and Your Action Plan. Tools have been created to assist with the Action Plan, including letter templates to the employer, lender and non-profit; a script and talking points for the meeting with the employer; a homebuyer workshop PowerPoint and worksheets. For more information, visit Realtor.org.  
  Good Neighbor Winners Help Those in Need Home renovations for the poor, assistance for persons with disabilities, and feeding the hungry are among the services provided by this year’s winners of the REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor awards. Take a look at this year’s winners.  
  Legislative & Regulatory News
  Tax Credit Extension, Expansion Passed The Senate and House both passed legislation to extend the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to May 1, 2010, for first-time buyers. More people are now eligible to take advantage of the law, which includes a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who are current home owners and have lived in their home for five of the past eight years. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama on November 6.Compare the existing credit to the newly passed version.

Home Buyer Tax Credit FAQ

  Fannie Mae Announces Deed-For-Lease Program On November 5, 2009, Fannie Mae announced its new Deed-for-Lease Program (D4L) that allows eligible borrowers facing foreclosure (or their tenants) to stay in their primary residences. Under D4L, the borrower transfers ownership of the property to the lender through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure and the borrower (or the tenant) signs a lease for up to 12 months. The program is designed for borrowers who do not qualify for other workout solutions, including modifications, or who do not meet their obligations under the modification. Read the details on Fannie Mae’s website.  
  New Rules to Clarify Fees New regulations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will require that closing costs be spelled out on a revised and consumer-friendly version of the good-faith estimate form that borrowers are supposed to receive within three days of applying for a mortgage. Read the details.  
  Treasury Department Announces Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program On November 30, 2009, the Treasury Department released guidelines and forms for its new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA). HAFA is part of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAFA provides incentives in connection with a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL) used to avoid foreclosure on a loan eligible for modification under the HAMP program. Read more on the guidelines from HAMP and from NAR.  
  Housing & Economic Indicators
  Pending Home Sales Index and Forecast Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales are experiencing a pendulum swing. “Keep in mind that housing had been underperforming over most of the past year” he said. Read the Press Release.  
  Existing-Home Sales Index Existing-home sales are up and inventories are down, thanks in large part to the home buyer tax credit. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, was surprised at the size of the gain. “Many buyers have been rushing to beat the deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, and similarly robust sales may be occurring in November,” he said. Read the news release

See all the housing & economic indicators from NAR’s Research Department.