Spring Break Report from NAR Government Affairs

APRIL 5, 2017

U.S. Capitol Building

Congress is approaching their April District Work Period. The District Work Period is an excellent opportunity to interact with your Members of Congress in advance of the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. May 15-20.

Several issues have emerged in the early stages of Congress that are of critical importance to REALTORS®. It is essential for REALTORS® to highlight NAR’s positions on these issues to ensure Members of Congress do not enact proposals that would disrupt real estate markets around the nation.

Tax Reform

Despite its status as one of the top priorities of both Congressional Leadership and the Trump Administration, tax reform remains in the discussion stages with much work remaining before any tax reform plan comes up for votes. The on-going debate places a number of tax laws, including those affecting commercial and residential real estate, under increased scrutiny.

Threats to the Tax Benefits of Homeownership

  • Massive increases to the standard deduction reduce the relevance of itemized deductions.
  • Taxpayers claim the higher of the actual itemized deductions or the standard deduction.
  • Elimination of most other itemized deductions, such as the deduction for state and local taxes paid, would greatly exacerbate the effect of a higher standard deduction.

Projected Timeline

Tax reform legislation is likely to come into focus in late summer 2017.

NAR’s Issue Summary(link is external)

National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization

NAR supports renewing and strengthening the long-term viability of the federal flood insurance program, as well as maintaining funding to update and improve the accuracy of flood maps. The current program expires on September 30, 2017. NAR is working closely with Congress to ensure the program does not lapse. A program lapse could affect nearly 40,000 real estate transactions per month.

NAR Flood Principles

  • Long Term Reauthorization
  • Affordable Rates
  • Accurately Priced Premiums
  • Increased oversight and training of insurance companies
  • Strong NFIP Homeowner’s Advocate
  • Improved Flood Mapping

Projected Timeline

NFIP legislation is likely to move in late spring 2017.

NAR’s Issue Summary(link is external)

Government Sponsored Enterprises Reform (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a key role in the secondary mortgage market, which is crucial in providing capital for mortgage lending. Without the GSEs and FHA-insured loans, there would be almost no capital available for mortgage lending. This would severely restrict, if not curtail, home sales and any supporting ancillary home sales services.

NAR GSE Reform Principles

  • NAR supports restructuring the secondary mortgage market to ensure a reliable and affordable source of mortgage capital for consumers
  • Restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to end government conservatorship

Projected Timeline

GSE legislation has no projected start date.

NAR’s Issue Summary(link is external)

GSE Guarantee Fees (G-fees)

NAR is very concerned with the high G-fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have translated into huge profits for the entities. These profits show that the current fees and pricing do not reflect the improved profitability or reduced credit losses that the GSEs experienced over the last few years. NAR will continue to push the GSEs for robust underwriting guidelines that put homeownership above profitability so that conventional borrowers are not priced out of the market.

Representatives Sanford (R-SC) and Sherman (D-CA) have introduced g-fee legislation H.R. 916(link is external), the “Risk Management and Homeowner Stability Act."

Projected Timeline

Currently it is unclear if similar legislation will be introduced in the U.S. Senate.

NAR’s Issue Summary

REALTOR Action Center Mobile App

Where will you be when you get the Call-for-Action? You can be anywhere because the REALTOR® Action Center mobile app contains a host of features to help you VOTE, ACT and INVEST on the go.

How to get started:

  1. The REALTOR® Action Center mobile app is currently available only for the iPhone and Droid platforms. Search for "NAR Action Center" on the iTunes Store or Droid Market and download the app today.
  2. After downloading the app, you will be asked to login using the email address associated with the REALTOR® Action Center and your NRDs number.
  3. When you login, you will be asked if you want to receive notifications from the REALTOR® Action Center. Click "Yes" to receive them.
  4. Once you are logged in, click on the button in the upper right corner that looks like three horizontal white lines to navigate the app.
  5. If you experience any problems downloading the app, retrieving your email or password, or logging into the app, send an email tocomments@realtoractioncenter.com and a member of the REALTOR® Action Center team will respond.

Contact Information

Alaska Association of REALTORS®
4205 Minnesota Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

(907) 563-7133 Office
(907) 561-1779 FAX
(800) 478-3763 Toll-Free

bobmanwaring@alaskarealtors.com