November 13, 2009

Whitehouse Hears from Local Homeowners About The Housing Market Crisis

Warwick, RI – As millions of American homeowners continue to struggle against the tide of home foreclosures, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) heard from Rhode Island homebuyers and realtors yesterday about the recession’s impact on the local housing market. Whitehouse hosted a roundtable discussion at The Rhode Island Association of Realtors in Warwick.

Whitehouse stressed to the participants the importance of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit established last year and expanded this year by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Congress recently passed legislation to further extend and expand this tax credit to permit existing homeowners who have owned their homes for at least five years to receive credits of up to $6,500 on new home purchases.

“The homebuyer tax credit legislation is critical to getting our housing market back on track,” said Whitehouse. “Not only does this tax credit make home ownership more accessible to Rhode Islanders, it pumps needed money into our state’s economy by creating jobs, stabilizing home prices, and rebuilding communities.”

The participants reported having difficulty dealing with larger lending institutions who often seem uninterested in customer service. They also report that the short sale process takes too long and is often unsuccessful.

In August, Whitehouse brought together a panel of experts and homeowners to discuss ways to help families keep their homes during an official, public field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee at Rhode Island Housing. Whitehouse is also a cosponsor of the Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009 (S. 61), introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), which would allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of home mortgages to prevent foreclosures in the same manner that they are currently permitted to modify the terms of almost every other type of contract.


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