REALTORS® from across the country converged on Washington D.C. for a rally to protect homeownership. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has been working to make home ownership in America more attainable for over 100 years. In 1900, fewer than 50% of Americans owned their home. Today that number is closer to 70%.
Members of NAR are rallying today to make sure that Congress understands the issues important to homeowners. These include taxation, real estate finance, property insurance, appraisal issues, and commercial real estate related issues.
- The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID)-REALTORS® are working to protect the mortgage interest tax deduction that homeowners take on their federal income taxes.
- Capital Gains-When a homeowner sells their primary residence, the profit that they make from the sale of their home (up to $250K for a single person and $500K for married couples) is not taxed. REALTORS® are working to protect this benefit.
- Property Tax Deduction-REALTORS® oppose any changes that would reduce or change current laws.
Real Estate Finance
- Government Sponsored Enterprises-NAR is supports reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. According to REALTOR.org. “NAR’s priority, which is to encourage private investors to return to the secondary market while replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with an entity that continues to back conforming loans but as a nonprofit, not as a for-profit company.”
- Credit Policies-NAR wants Congress to reassess the nation’s entire credit structure in an effort to make getting a mortgage easier for those who are good credit risks. Specifically, NAR supports “The Helping Responsible Homeowners Act.”
- Short Sales-A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept less than what is owed on a property when it is sold. These have become more common, and necessary, in the wake of the economic meltdown. However, they are time-consuming and sometimes the banks even foreclose at a substantial cost and subsequently sell the property for even less that what they could have recovered if they agreed to a short sale in a timely manner. NAR continues to push the lending industry to expedite short sales, but is also seeking help from Congress to pass legislation to help make the short sale process more efficient.
National Flood Insurance
- Although Congress has been approving short-term extensions on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The existing extension expires at the end of May. NAR wants Congress to pass a 5 year extension by the end of May.
- NAR supports the independence of appraisers and the appraisal process. NAR specifically opposes the use by Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) of indemnification clauses, which puts pressure on appraisers and, subsequently, has an adverse impact on the integrity of the appraisal itself.
Commercial- NAR is asking Congress to consider legislation that will help the economy rebound by implementing the following with the goal of helping businesses.
- Accelerated depreciation on commercial real estate for tax purposes
- Lift the cap on credit union member business lending (MBL)
- Additional banking agency guidance related to term extensions
- Creation of a mortgage insurance program for commercial loans
- Improving credit availability for small businesses
- The creation of a U.S. covered bond market.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in western Massachusetts, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.