Representatives from the National Association of REALTORS® were in attendance at both the DNC and RNC, appearing and speaking at various real estate-related forums in support of housing issues.
During the North Carolina and Charlotte REALTOR® associations’ breakfast Wednesday welcoming member delegates, First Vice President Steve Brown of Dayton, Ohio, celebrated the increasing strength of real estate markets nationwide. With five consecutive months of sales increases, home sales are currently up 10.4 percent over last year, he said.
“This is the first time we’ve seen five consecutive months of sales increases since 2006,” Brown said. “So if anyone asks you, ‘Are we better off today than we were four years ago?’—even though I represent the REALTOR® Party, I’m here to tell you that yes, we are.”
Looking ahead at 2013, whether it’s Obama or Romney who wins the election, Brown was clear on the issues at hand for REALTORS®: distressed properties and releasing shadow inventory into the market, addressing tight lending standards, and preserving the mortgage interest deduction.
Summer Greene, 2012 president of the Florida REALTORS® and DNC delegate, said one of the biggest issues facing her members is a lack of inventory. The number of homes for sale is down 50 percent year-over-year in Florida.
“Regardless of who wins, I think we have to bring bipartisanship back to our country. Everybody is so polarized and focused on their party issues instead of the issues of the American people,” Greene said.
For Greene, the real issue is keeping home ownership front and center when it comes to lawmakers. “It’s about our economy…and it’s about not using things such as flood insurance as a political football to advance their own party’s objectives,” she said.
Access to credit is another critical issue that Asa Fleming, president-elect of the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, hopes this next administration addresses. He also wants to see the preservation of the MID, as well as an emphasis on home ownership and its interrelation to all other areas of the political sphere—education, job growth, health, and civic involvement. “Owning a home is key to making it here in America,” he said.
“There is no question that we need to continue to make the case that home ownership matters,” Brown said. “So many times at the convention I’m hearing people talk about education. What helps someone stay in school and get better grades? Where are they from? They’re from homes that people own. Home ownership helps people stay in school. There are even health benefits—people who own homes are healthier.”
Despite the differences between Republicans and Democrats, Brown praised the convention experience and the American electoral process. “Even though it’s fraught with controversy and debate, it’s a remarkable process and a tremendous opportunity to see our democracy at work,” Brown said.