WASHINGTON (May 8, 2023) – Closing out the second day of the 2023 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, the Advocacy Scoop provided National Association of Realtors® members with an inside take on the state of real estate issues in Congress.
NAR Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn opened the session amplifying the advocacy team’s mission to support policies, policy makers, the real estate industry as a whole, saying “we have spent the last several years modernizing our advocacy efforts. We have the programs, people, and policies to achieve our goals.”
“How do we adjust our efforts and our team when we have a divided country? We don’t – we remain nimble and maintain relationships across the aisle,” McGahn continued.
She went on to highlight accomplishments from this year’s efforts working with Congress that included the government funding bill that included many of our priorities, the SECURE Notarization Act, several wins in the regulatory space, fighting for private property rights, standing against the WOTUS rule, and advocating for our members against rent control proposals.
McGahn outlined the four goals for NAR’s advocacy team in 2023: “Developing public policy roles and solutions, continue engaging with our family and friends, thinking modern [what does advocacy look like 10 years down the road], and promotion of NAR products, research reports and papers.”
McGahn then introduced the “all the above” policy team for a panel discussion, who together holds some of the industry’s greatest wealth of real estate policy knowledge.
Bryan Greene, vice president of policy advocacy, moderated a panel with Evan Liddiard, director of federal tax policy, Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, and Alexia Smokler, director of fair housing policy and programs.
Lautz opened the discussion by acknowledging “we’re in a very unique environment right now, and every single person in this room is in a very different real estate market. Some of you are seeing price gains in your market in double digits, which many of you in this room will say wow, we’re not seeing that at all.” She continued by highlighting that we don’t have enough inventory and the number of first-time homebuyers is at a 40-year-low. She ended her discussion on a positive note by citing Dr. Lawrence Yun, saying “he expects interest rates will tick down to the 5.8% range by the fourth quarter.”
Liddiard provided the stark reality of the inventory crisis that our country is seeing, “becoming one of the top domestic problems in our nation.” Liddiard then provided examples of tax incentives that could increase supply: to nudge long-term owners to sell their homes [including increasing capital gains exclusion levels], to encourage the conversion of unused and underutilized commercial real estate into residential units, and to pass the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.
Smokler touched on NAR’s research, Obstacles to Home Buying, showing that “the race homeownership gap is actually bigger today than it was in 1968 [when we passed the Fair Housing Act], and that’s alarming to an association that wants to expand homeownership and expand the real estate market.” She then addressed what can be done and what NAR has been doing to start closing this gap: reauthorize and increase funding for HUD fair housing enforcement programs, increasing the supply of affordable homes for purchase, continuously advocating for policies that increase access to mortgage finance [such as updated credit scoring models, special purpose credit programs, and down payment assistance for qualified buyers], and partnering with the Black Homeownership Collaborative which aims to add 3 million net new Black homeowners by 2030.
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The term Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
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