Last week, nearly 9,000 REALTORS® descended on Washington, D.C. for the 2023 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. We spent six days discussing the most pressing issues affecting the real estate industry and met with members of Congress and their staff at the inaugural REALTOR® National Block Party, which 95% of Capitol Hill offices registered to attend! Nationals Park became a sea of blue that demonstrated the unmatched impact REALTORS® have in their communities.
What You Need to Know
Following significant urging from NAR, last week the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rescinded its proposed loan level pricing adjustment (LLPA) upfront fee on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios greater than 40 percent that was slated to go into effect August 1. NAR applauded the FHFA for listening to the industry’s concerns about imposing this cost on borrowers at a time when affordability is already stretched.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Julia Gordon keynoted the Regulatory Issues Forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. In her remarks, she shared that more than 82% of FHA’s borrowers this year are first-time homebuyers and outlined ways REALTORS® and FHA can work together to “serve the people who are getting their foot on that first rung of the homeownership ladder.”
The NAR Board of Directors approved numerous committee recommendations related to the association’s advocacy agenda at its May 11 meeting in Washington, D.C., including requiring new applicants for membership to complete 2 hours of fair housing training and existing members to complete 2 hours of training every three years. Recommendations were also approved in the areas of federal taxation, federal financing and housing, and conventional finance.
During the Federal Legislative and Political Forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, two of the nation’s top economists had a lively discussion on the debt limit and shared their predictions on how it will be addressed. Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board, gave a sober warning that “everything” shuts down if there is a debt limit breach. “That (shutdown) cuts 6 percentage points from GDP, ensuring an immediate recession,” she said.
At the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the Federal Reserve’s most recent rate hike was unnecessary, and he expects the Fed will stop raising interest rates further. “Inflation will not reignite – inflation will come down closer to 3% by the year’s end,” Yun stated.
A coalition of 5 housing groups – including NAR – recently united in support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that provides guidance and tools for cities and states that receive HUD funding to find local solutions to reverse segregated housing patterns. The regulation is designed to implement the Fair Housing Act’s directive that HUD and its funding recipients take action to overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from discrimination.
As of April 21, RPAC fundraising reached 51% of its national goal with more than $25.5 million raised at all three levels of the association, and 75% of its federal disbursements allocation goal with more than $7 million raised at the national level. RPAC currently has more than 4,000 Major Investors, 1,000 President’s Circle members, and a 28% participation rate.
The REALTOR® Party At Work
Don’t forget to bookmark NAR’s Washington Report for the latest policy updates.
Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® Produces Video on Local History and Continued Impact of Discriminatory Real Estate Practices
In a new documentary co-created by the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®, and with the help of a REALTOR® Party Fair Housing Grant, a young activist-filmmaker states that historic housing discrimination is “a history we were not taught, but it’s a history we deserve to know.” That same spirit spurred the local REALTORS® to co-produce the 20-minute video in partnership with its community partner, the Antiracist Curriculum Project (ACP), to explain the ongoing impact of redlining and racially restrictive covenants.
A nearly four-mile swath of downtown Huntsville, Ala. has a bright new outlook thanks to local REALTORS® and the REALTOR® Party’s Transforming Neighborhoods program, a partnership with the Counselors of Real Estate® (CRE) Consulting Corps. This elite team of experts advises communities on redevelopment with an emphasis on housing and economic growth. Working with the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®, the city received one of the CRE’s three consultations sponsored by NAR last year, and with the final report in hand, is looking forward to implementing its plans.
Thanks to the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® and a REALTOR® Party Placemaking Grant, a dimly lit, little-used service alley in downtown Huntsville, Ala., has found new purpose as a creative, interactive community gathering space. Once a dingy spot that pedestrians would avoid, the newly minted Chandelier Alley has sprung to brilliant life with sparkling lights, interactive art, and bustling crowds.
Housing costs are high all over, but in Juneau, Alaska, this has always been the case. Land is not only limited but physically isolated from the continent by a rugged glacier field, requiring building materials to be flown or shipped into the capital city. When the Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance forcing property purchase prices to be made public, the Southeast Alaska Board of REALTORS® recognized that transfer taxes would not be far behind – and would result in even higher housing costs. With help from a REALTOR® Party Issues Mobilization Grant, they launched a citizens’ ballot initiative to overturn the ordinance.
Resources & Opportunities
The popularity of Community Outreach Grants has surpassed our expectations! Due to the high demand for Fair Housing, Housing Opportunity, Smart Growth, Placemaking, and Rural Outreach Grants, we expect to reach our maximum capacity before the application period ends on October 15. Once capacity is reached, the application window will close and reopen on January 2, 2024. We understand the significance of these grants to our REALTOR® associations and encourage you to apply if you are conducting an eligible initiative in the near future and planning on grant support.
Questions? Contact Christine Windle at 202-383-1135.
his new guide is a collection of strategies, resources, and success stories to inspire REALTORS® and associations with ways they can help improve their community’s land use and transportation systems for long-term success. It also spotlights REALTORS® engaged in the direction of their community’s growth and development through elected and appointed office.
Questions? Contact Hugh Morris.
Learn how to finance the preservation of historic buildings, develop downtown revitalization strategies, encourage adaptive reuse, and rebuild stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods. An online version is available via the OCG APP (Apple) (Google Play). Over 35,000 copies will be distributed to state and local associations and elected officials.
Use the State and Local Polling Growth Program to survey residents on growth and development priorities to inform land use policies. Learn how the Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® used the program to assess voter attitudes toward infrastructure and housing development.
Questions? Contact Hugh Morris.
The Advocacy Resource Guide – Vote, Act, and Invest, REALTOR® Party – includes resources and tools that can help associations reach their advocacy goals and meet Core Standards requirements. State and local REALTOR® association staff can request printed copies for events and conferences by contacting Ted Wright. Requests for printed guides must be submitted two weeks prior to the event.
Giving back is part of who REALTORS® are and what you do. Join REALTORS® around the country for a nationwide volunteering effort June 3-11! Don’t miss this opportunity to show the world your compassion and pride in our profession. The Volunteer Days page has plenty of resources to help you plan out your volunteer activity.
REALTORS® who can speak with authority about a home’s sustainable features are at a major advantage in every market. Access the 2023 REALTORS® and Sustainability Report to check out its findings and learn why sustainability is becoming ever more important in the home-buying process.