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Is Clinton neglecting housing?

The president has forgotten the "H" word, according a leading New Yorkbased real estate marketing consultant.

Of the many issues covered by President Clinton's plan for reviving the nations's economy, one he has almost completely neglected is the American dream of home ownership for the middleand lower-income classes, states Ric Katz, president of Pinnacle Marketing & Resources, Inc., A Manhattan-based real estate marketing firm.

"The president has drawn national attention to almost every conceivable issue facing America today, said Katz.

"The long, long list includes the deficit budget, health care, the environment, small and big businesses, urban blight, welfare, senior citizens, job training and day-care," he added. "But we hardly hear a thing about housing, and until this vital concern is addressed, this country will never completely recover its vitality and productiveness."

In calling for a national housing summit to close the affordability gap and reassert home ownership as a valued part of our national heritage," Katz warns that, if anything, President Clinton's economic plans may derail the fragile improvement in the housing industry that has been stirring among some geographic markets in recent months.

We've been experiencing some recovery recently, principally because disposable income has been created by refinancing mortgages and home equity loans at lower rates," said Katz. "But some of the president's new tax proposals threaten to eliminate these benefits. I only hope it doesn't put the real estate market back into tailspin."

Katz urges a little political activism to send a message to Washington about housing needs.

"It is imperative for all those concerned about the health of the nation's economy to write and call not only the President, but Congressional Representatives and Senators as well, urging that housing be restored to the national agenda," he said. "The U.S. home building industry has traditionally led us out of recession. President Clinton must act swiftly and decisively to make it possible, for young families to be able to make mortgage downpayments, and this can be effected with minimal cost to the Federal government."

Katz called for the housing industry to "close ranks" behind the following measures: * Allow cash-poor, first-time homebuyers who can otherwise carry the mortgage payments to finance the difference in the downpayments through second loans * Adopt legislation for government-backed mortgage bonds, issued in the same manner as federal savings bonds * Revitalize the Federal HOME Program, which allows moderate income buyers to subsidize their downpayments through grants and loans from local government agencies and non-profits

* Introduce as part of the new economic package, a measure which restores federal authorization for state housing agency mortgage revenue bonds, which has assisted in the financing of more than 100,000 mortgages for first time home buyers *Mandate FHA and VA programs to provide more mortgages to middle-income families in both the new home and resale markets

"A recent FANNIE MAE survey show that 78 percent of all Americans --of all races, creeds, religions and geographic regions believe home ownership is a good investment," noted Katz. "But 80 percent of the sampling are also conviriced that housing is too costly. Clearly, Clinton has a true national mandate to make home ownership affordable for all."
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Title Annotation:Pinnacle Marketing and Resources Inc. president Ric Katz evaluates President Clinton's economic recovery plan as it effects real estate industry
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 21, 1993
Words:524
Previous Article:Greenberger addresses SIOR.
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