Gov't Affairs, Govt - National Assoc. of Realtors® (NAR)

NAR’s Talking Points for Meetings with Legislators

Next week Realtors® from across the country will converge in Washington DC for NAR’s annual Mid-Year Meetings. This is good information with which we should all be familiar, so here is a synopsis of the talking points distributed by NAR for Congressional hill visits that will occur during the meetings:

Tax Code Reform: As Congress considers proposals to reform the federal tax code, lawmakers should consider the vital role that real estate tax provisions play in the nation’s housing markets and economy, as well as the financial well-being of Americans and their families. NAR’s message to Congress is, “Do no harm.” For 100 years, the Mortgage Interest Deduction has helped make homeownership more affordable for families of moderate means, strengthening our communities. Oppose efforts to change or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for primary and second homes. Property taxes paid are properly not considered “income” that should be subject to federal income tax. Congress should not tax “income” that doesn’t exist and oppose elimination of the deduction for property taxes. Finally, Congress should maintain the capital gains exclusion on the sale of a principal residence.

GSE Loans: “Restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure that affordable mortgages are available to consumers in all types of markets, and to avoid a major disruption to the nation’s economy that would result from the total collapse of the housing finance sector.” The Federal Government must offer a guarantee of some mortgage instruments to ensure borrowers have access to affordable mortgage credit. Without government backing, creditworthy consumers will pay much higher mortgage interest rates and mortgages may at times not be readily available — as has happened in jumbo and commercial real estate loan markets. Furthermore, these mortgage products should include 15-year and 30-year fixed- rate loans, traditional adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), and other loan products that have stood the test of time and for which American homeowners have demonstrated a strong “ability to repay.”

FHA Loans: “Ensure that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide.” Without FHA, our nation’s housing recovery would never have begun. Do no harm to that recovery. Do not enact FHA reform legislation that unfairly restricts homebuyer access to safe, affordable mortgage credit.

·      Real Estate Activity Reports by Congressional District: NAR just released these nifty maps that organize real estate data by congressional district. The maps show real estate, demographic, and economic data to provide information about the status of homeownership, trends in the real estate market, and the economic conditions that underlie the demand for housing. They’ve been updated to reflect the 113th (current) Congress.