By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
In the wake of recent legislative successes, including the extension and expansion of the home buyer tax credit and the restoration of the rural housing program, more challenges remain for REALTORS®, NAR leaders said this morning at the 2010 Leadership Summit.
A few issues stand out above all the others. First and foremost, reforming government-sponsored enterprises’ involvement in the mortgage financing space is critical to getting the housing sector back on track. Discussions in Washington on how to do this are expected to begin next year.
“There have been some hearings [on GSE reform] already, and we’re out of the comment period,” said Gary Thomas, NAR’s 2011 first vice president, in a Leadership Team Town Hall session. “That’s at the top of our list. Instead of reacting to it, we were the first ones to come up with a solution to it. We feel very confident that we’ll get this going in the right direction.”
Another concern is the continued support of the mortgage-interest deduction, said 2010 NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “With some of the attacks we’ve seen on our industry, I’m expecting that we’ll see some attacks on the mortgage interest deduction. What we don’t want is for Congress to see blood in the water and have them hurt housing even more,” she said.
Other important issues include a long-term renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program and the FHA Reform Bill.
To successfully influence policy and legislation in these and other matters, REALTORS® need to maintain a united front and keep the pressure on decision makers in D.C., who tend to have a short attention span, said NAR Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello in a panel discussion on political relationships. That’s why things like the Broker Involvement Program are so important.
“We’ve got to be together, and we’ve got to be organized,” he said.
Or, as NAR 2011 President-Elect Moe Veissi said in response to a question about flood insurance earlier that morning, “Be engaged. This is your business. This is your livelihood. This is how you protect yourself and your family.”