On Tuesday there was a sea of REALTOR® blue at Nationals Park in Washington DC for the REALTOR® National Block Party. Agents from across the nation met with their members of Congress and their staffers at the ballpark. One of the hot-button issues NAR was pushing back against was the series of changes to the LLPA fees announced by the FHF. Yesterday, the FHFA decided to rescind the controversial Debt to Income LLPA.
The other priority issues discussed were to address America's housing shortage. Inventory, supply, and affordable housing are at the top of this year's REALTOR® Priorities.
* Incentivize more owners to sell their homes by increasing the maximum amount of capital gains a homeowner can exclude on the sale of a principal residence and annually adjusting it for inflation. Bipartisan legislation on this issue has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The More Homes on the Market Act (H.R. 1321) is sponsored by Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA).
* Attract private investment for building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes by offering tax credits that create a pathway to neighborhood stability through sustainable home ownership. Providing this powerful incentive to build and rehabilitate homes for low- and moderate-income homeowners can fill the gap in areas where it is often more expensive to develop or rehabilitate than appraisal values will support. Bipartisan legislation on this issue has been introduced in the Senate. The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (S. 657) is sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
* Incentivize the conversion of unused commercial buildings to residential and mixed-use properties. Many commercial properties can be adapted to better suit the needs of communities and create job opportunities, including adding multifamily and affordable housing, warehouse and industrial properties, and mixed-use spaces.
* Create incentives for housing provider participation in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Legislators should also increase funding to assist homeless veterans living on tribal land, update HUD’s methodology for determining rents paid to housing providers participating in the program and reduce burdensome inspection delays. Bipartisan legislation on this issue has been introduced in the Senate. The Choice in Affordable Housing Act (S.32) is sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jerry Moran (R-KS)
A recent NAR study estimates that the U.S. has developed an under building gap” of at least 5.5 million housing units over the last 20 years.This translates into a more than $4 trillion under investment in housing. Even relatively modest steps taken now to reduce this gap will unleash tremendous economic activity and create millions of new jobs.
This was a fun evening for the NAR members who volunteer, serve in leadership at the local and State associations, and advocate for our legislative issues. Ballpark fare was served, and I was able to take a few swings in the batting cages and throw a couple of pitches in the bullpen. It was great networking with the many members who have become great friends that I have met over my years in leadership.