July is the time for baseball, summer fun, relaxation, and family vacations. But rest assured that we are continuing to work hard on your behalf! Here are a few hot topics of note:
Affordability & Supply
President Trump created a Housing Affordability Council, and recently signed an Executive Order that will eliminate barriers that limit access to affordable housing — namely zoning laws, environmental regulations, building codes and lengthy building permit processes. We anticipate there will be opportunities to provide information and input to this Council and will distribute information on an on-going basis as the work process of the Council is fleshed out.
Led by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, the Council will consist of members from eight Federal agencies. Members will engage with government leaders, elected officials, the private sector, and other stakeholders from across the country in the effort to identify and eliminate the “obstacles that impede the production of affordable homes.”
Association Health Plans
It’s more than a year since 12 attorney generals filed suit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), challenging the agency’s final rule which opened the door for small employers and self-employed individuals, including real estate professionals, to participate in Association Health Plans (AHPs). NAR is invested in efforts to pursue AHPs, and more than 200 state and local associations have agreed to support our latest work to secure affordable, high-quality health care options for members and their families. We joined in amicus brief in support of DOL’s rule through the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans. In addition, we created the AHP Toolkit is a resource for Associations to use as they investigate and seek to implement an AHP in their area.
On February 20, 2019, five federal regulatory agencies published final regulations clarifying lender acceptance of private flood insurance. These rules went into effect on July 1. NAR has been working as part of a coalition to make it easier for lenders to accept private flood insurance, which often offers better coverage at lower cost than the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). We will continue working with Congress and the administration to clarify any remaining issues of continuous private flood insurance coverage and address these issues as part of NFIP reauthorization and reform legislation.
Housing Finance Reform
We are continuing to push for a resolution to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae conservatorship. NAR’s plan would retain the government guarantee and the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and ensure the availability and affordability of mortgage credit for credit-worthy borrowers. We met with representatives from HUD and the Department of Treasury as well as the new FHFA Director about to discuss our Vision for Housing Finance Reform.
While we are busy working on your behalf, we ask you to be ready to take action at a moment’s notice on these or other important issues at the federal, state, and local levels of government. Sign up for the REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. Simply text the word REALTOR to 30644 or subscribe online before July 31 and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $250 Amazon gift card.