For the first time in three years, thousands of REALTORS® descended on the nation’s capital last week to discuss the pressing issues impacting real estate and to take our message directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The 2022 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings drew 9,000 members and industry experts to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., for six days of in-depth discussions on the political climate and top issues facing our association and profession.
Thousands of REALTORS® also met with Members of Congress and their staff, raising three main priorities: addressing inventory, supply, and affordability; ensuring fair housing for all; and demonstrating how NAR research products can inform policymaking. Talking points and a comprehensive leave-behind document are available at FlyIn.realtor.
Many of the week’s sessions drilled down on these issues. The Advocacy Scoop, a reimagined policy deep-dive, featured the full NAR leadership team engaging in a rapid-fire Q&A session with three NAR policy experts.
Bryan Greene, vice president of policy advocacy, outlined NAR’s initiatives to expand homeownership to more people, especially groups that have been historically excluded. “The brick wall we face is supply,” he said. “If we don’t have housing, we can’t expand access. So, we’re engaged in a range of efforts to ensure we have housing supply.”
Evan Liddiard, director of federal taxation, provided updates on existing proposals to boost inventory through tax incentives, including renovating distressed properties, converting unused commercial properties to residential, and providing down payment assistance and tax credits to first-time buyers. But he also broached new ideas: “One potential solution we’re discussing is what if we offer some owners of rental properties a capital gains tax break if they sell to first-time buyers?”
Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, focused on how NAR’s research products can influence policymaking at all levels of government. “We’ve worked to ensure the research products we’re releasing can be used on the Hill and also in your local communities,” she said.
NAR Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn gave a “State of the Union” speech on real estate issues, stressing the importance of NAR’s nonpartisan, issue-focused advocacy structure. “No matter who is in power, our issues stay the same,” she said. “Our fight for all consumers continues. And we keep these legislative conversations going throughout the year, back in the districts.”
At another powerhouse session, the Federal Legislative and Political Forum, former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Trump adviser Ja’Ron Smith shared their insight and expertise on fair housing issues.
“We tend to talk to and complain amongst each other, but we often don’t push forward in making changes that need to be made,” Bottoms said. “Policy changes come from people saying, ‘This is what I see as an issue.'”
She went on to outline policies with the potential to expand homeownership, including alternate credit scoring methods and assistance for first-time homebuyers.
Smith, deputy assistant to the president at the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Office of American Innovation under President Trump, recounted his own struggles with affordable housing and highlighted NAR’s unique position to bring all parties together.
“We have to be very intentional about the problems we’re trying to solve,” he said. “We know these issues, we know the neighborhoods, we know the people. We have to come together collectively.
“I’ll tell you what, [NAR] is one of the strongest advocacy organizations in the country … Work with your local mayors and encourage [them] to work with your congresspeople … to come together to solve these challenges and close the racial wealth gap. This is not a Republican issue; this is not a Democrat issue. It’s an American issue.”
Bottoms agreed. “I believe [we are most successful] when we look at these issues in a nonpartisan way,” she added. “You remove the politics from it, and you put people first.”
Other highlights of the Legislative Meetings included a General Session discussion on the political landscape with Punchbowl News co-founders Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, the launch of a new implicit bias classroom course, and predictions from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on the residential and commercial markets.
To those who attended in person or virtually, thank you for your commitment to engaging on the issues that will shape the future of real estate. And please mark your calendars for the 2023 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, May 6-11, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Margel Dinino saysat
Ibuyers in some cities exacerbated the housing shortage even more by cash buying most of the inventory that did become available! Hedge funds, Foreign Investors, Wall Street and Corporations buying can be a problem for our future generations. Everyone will be renting from a corporation. We should want to keep the housing market open to all citizens who want to buy. Maybe the only one way some people gain a savings.
Lynda Dennemarck saysat
This is long overdue. I’m so sick of everything becoming a political issue, when in fact, they are all human issues. It is simply another reason to create a division in our country. Roe v. Wade is another prime example.
I lived in Germany for 25 years and they loved to come to the States for vacation. When I asked them what was their first and strongest impression, they said, “The poverty on the streets and in the housing areas.” That was for the last 25 years of the 20th century, i. e. 1975 – 2000. It has only gotten worse. We have to do something!!!!! It hurts in my soul.
Of course this is a nonpartisan issue… it’s a developer enabling issue to promote high density development/housing in areas where it would otherwise not be approved by local Planning and Zoning and community general plans. It seems this effort is part of a campaign in support of a developer’s “right” to develop property to the highest possible density for the purpose of their highest possible profit. Are you aware of Biden’s program to incent local communities to reconsider certain nonconforming projects?
Based on information and belief, among other things, this campaign is recruiting Realtors (voters) to influence “lawmakers” , actually elected officials, to advance an agenda to enhance their own financial gain.
Nonpartisan… of course, these guys ask you to jump on THEIR bandwagon, vote/support ANY candidate who is responsive to their agenda. Don’t worry, they always tell you who to vote for when the time comes.
As to fair housing/more affordable housing… suffice to say this type of effort always employs a call to human rights of some kind and really, who is not in favor of fair housing and affordable housing… without it they would just look self serving.
Please get informed, think for yourself, make sure you understand all the facets of the big picture before you allow yourself to be recruited, your vote dangled in front of elected officials and allowing yourself to be told for whom to cast your vote.
Make sure you know who’s driving that bandwagon and where it’s heading.
John Paul de Oliveira saysat
The pandemic raised mortality rates, And illegal immigration was severely curtailed for four years. In a tight market there are even more financial incentives to extend property life expectancy, as it generally is easier to maintain or repair a property than to build a new one. The numbers should reflect a housing surplus, not a shortage.
Are the wall street investment corporations warehousing housing stock? And artificially driving up rents and demand? Like they did in NYC back in the 80s onwards? Let us not forget they were and are borrowing at near zero percent interest rates, well below inflation, to robber-baron like acquire properties. They literally are getting paid (inflation minus interest rate) to take out loans to own single family homes across the country.
NAR is belatedly even acknowledging there is a fundamental problem that, in the first place, should never have arisen. Capital gains tax breaks for hedge funds that are causing the housing supply destruction? Focusing on minority ownership while missing the big picture? With ‘solutions’ like these being proposed, one has to wonder if NAR has any ties to other (opaque) political action committees?
It bears repeating that widespread real estate ownership is a core mission of our Realtor organization. Corporate institutional ownership of single family homes should be discouraged with extreme prejudice, as that truly constitutes systemic racism and oppression, depriving the lower and middle classes of partaking in a capital endeavour. It is Time for a new direction in leadership and ‘experts’.
If the VC procure enough properties, they will do away with Realtors.
Gladys Margarita Diaz saysat
Housing inventory can be created. The building industry has to work hand in hand with us, the realtors. Creating new projects that actually serve the market must incorporate info as to what is selling, how people live and work, etc. Several factors play into this: 1) Land use/ zoning policy that enables density/adaptive reuse easily 2) Incentive programs – increased density, tax benefits, reduced parking requirements 3) streamlined building departments (notorious for causing delays) 3) use of new building methods that expedite the process of delivery of product. I have over two decades of experience in urban policy, affordable housing and community development. Let me know how I can help.