WASHINGTON  – The National Association of Realtors (NAR) commended Congressional and White House efforts to protect the VA Home Loan Program after the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act was signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday night.

The Act, H.R. 299, eliminates the cap on home loans issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was unanimously passed by the Senate earlier this month after a federal court ruled the VA is required to provide health coverage to veterans exposed to the chemical known as “agent orange” during the Vietnam War. NAR says that Realtors secured a victory in the bill by limiting proposed VA home loan fee increases.

“As we aim to ensure our nation’s veterans have every possible opportunity to achieve the American Dream of homeownership, the National Association of Realtors has remained a strong supporter of the VA home loan guaranty program,” says NAR President John Smaby. “This vital tool encourages private lenders to offer favorable home loan terms to qualified veterans and provides a much needed resource to those who have sacrificed so much for this country.”

The VA home loan guarantee program encourages private lenders to offer favorable home loan terms to qualified veterans without requiring a downpayment. It has helped raise veteran homeownership rates to over 75% – much higher than the national average.

NAR, along with other housing industry trade groups and veterans affairs associations, has been actively engaged in Capitol Hill negotiations to ensure veteran health benefits could be extended without increasing unrelated VA home loan guarantee fees. NAR sent a letter to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last summer outlining the importance of the VA home loan guarantee for our nation’s veterans.

“Realtors support efforts to boost veteran participation in this program, but we also believe VA loan guarantee fees should be based on the risk of the loan made – not the costs of other VA programs or benefits,” Smaby adds.

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