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Struggling real estate sector on the agenda for new US President’s first full day in office

Today the state of the nation's real estate sectors will be discussed as part of a wider examination of the economy.

There are already a number of proposals in line aimed at reforming the face of real estate in 2009. Obama already has a green light from Congress to unleash the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, and with legislation providing an additional $825 billion jolt to the economy also available.

The main measures look at boosting property purchases and preventing foreclosures. Some of those measures, including tax breaks for first-time homebuyers, and a return to the higher loan limits, are likely to be part of a massive economic stimulus bill.

Obama's top economic advisor, Larry Summers, has promised that future TARP expenditures will be aimed at increasing lending and driving an economic recovery, with the 'maximum degree of accountability and transparency.' Summers also committed to setting aside $50 billion to $100 billion in TARP funds to address foreclosures.

Summers said that the new administration plans to implement 'smart, aggressive policies to reduce the number of preventable foreclosures' by reducing mortgage payments for troubled borrowers, and by strengthening existing housing initiatives.

Other issues being examined include requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help provide fixed-rate mortgages at 4% or less which help prevent foreclosures and increase the availability of affordable new mortgages.

The administration may also look at a ban on financial holding companies and national banks from engaging in real estate brokerage or real estate management activities, a move that is widely backed by real estate agencies.

'Creating opportunities for sustainable homeownership will be a cornerstone to strengthening a crumbling housing market and breathing life back into the economy,' said Scott Syphax, president of the Nehemiah Corporation.