Approximately 400 Realtors from across Washington State descended upon Olympia last month for the annual Washington Realtor Association (WR) Legislative Day or Hill Day. I was one of them! In fact, we had 13 members of our small association in Mason County attend. That's almost 10% of our membership!
It was a rewarding day. We met with legislators from our district and presented them with our Legislative Priorities for 2009. The response from the legislators was extremely positive. Relief even, not only were we not there asking for money, but we were also there to provide solutions. And - best of all - they listened!! Our goal was to impress upon lawmakers that the real estate industry has to recover before the overall economy can prosper. Many state funding programs depend on the real estate industry such as supporting public schools, providing critical roads and public infrastructure as well as protecting the vulnerable.
It's painfully obvious that Washington State's economic health depends on a healthy and vibrant housing market. The real estate industry as a whole accounts for 24% of the state's employment and is responsible for a large percentage of state tax revenue. Additionally, the housing market provides social benefits such as community stability and wealth creation.
Therefore, in order to stimulate the economy, you MUST stimulate the housing market! This requires paying attention to both the supply and demand side of the market.
We asked that the legislature take steps to stimulate demand by assisting first time home buyers. This can be accomplished by expanding the state run program of home-buyer education and by opening up down-payment assistance programs as well.
In order to address the supply side of the equation, we have asked the legislature to help struggling families so they are able to keep their homes. Provide refinancing options and assist with education for people in danger of being foreclosed upon.
The Realtors are at work for you. We are protecting the rights of homeowners, and helping to create opportunity for more Americans to become homeowners! I am proud of the work we are doing, and happy to be a part of such a positive and proactive group!