We’re back from a great set of National Association of Realtors® meetings in Orlando and I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on Realtor® federal legislative priorities in the new year. We need to educate our congressmen about our three top issues and why they are important to homeowners.
NAR doesn’t expect reorganization and reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be a priority in the first two years of the new presidential term. It’s important to begin the discussion with members of Congress about the importance of these lending entities. NAR has eight principles concerning GSEs and will be urging lawmakers to consider these principles when creating reform.
A top priority next year will be reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, which is due to sunset again in September 2017. NAR believes this will be a heavy lift to extend this program long term. The last time the program was reauthorized, a bill had already passed the House and Banking Committee. Today, no bill on this program has been introduced in either the House or the Senate, according to Austin Perez, NAR’s senior policy representative on environmental issues.
This issue is critical to our industry but we’re about eight to 10 months behind this time. NAR estimates the delay of reauthorizing the NFIP cost the industry 40,000 lost home sales. NAR has testified twice on this issue. It’s a difficult issue, but our members of Congress need to fully understand the importance and implications of this program.
NAR’s looking at a three-pronged approach to the issue: push for long-term reauthorization, attempt to address issues through FEMA regulations if possible, and urge states to authorize private flood insurance.
Realtors® have been urging Congress to maintain the mortgage interest deduction and the other tax benefits of owning a home. However, three of the proposed tax reform plans promise to protect MID but in fact make it of little value, according to Evan Liddiard, NAR’s senior policy representative on tax issues.
He explains that the three plans increase the standard deduction, repeal the state and local tax deduction and the medical deductions. He said in these three plans, while still maintaining the MID, there will be very little tax advantage to buying a home over renting.