Passage of Omnibus Spending Bill Critical for Affordable Housing Funding, Flood Reauthorization

Real Estate In-Depth | March 2018

The United States Capitol

WASHINGTON—With six months remaining in the 2018 federal fiscal year the National Association of Realtors supported the passage of the $1.3-billion omnibus appropriations bill that was approved by the U.S. House and Senate on March 22, and signed by President Donald Trump, despite some misgivings, the next day.

The measure funds the federal government through Sept. 30, 2018.

The 2,232-page bill contains important provisions related to housing that Realtors have been fighting for, including alleviating the weakening of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from the new tax law, and extending the National Flood Insurance Program through at least mid-summer.

The highlights critical to the continued health of the nation’s housing market include:

  • Meaningful improvements to the LIHTC, including a significant increase in funding and a change in the average income test, which should result in hundreds of thousands of new affordable housing units.
  • An extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until July 31, 2018. This avoids another lapse and provides several more months for the Senate to act on five-year reauthorization and reform legislation adopted by the House last November.
  • Doubling flood map funding to $263 million, up from $177 million in the previous year and more than a 150% increase over the administration’s request this year.
  • Maintains funding for the flood mitigation, proofing and elevation of properties ($175 million), as well as the Office of the Flood Insurance Consumer Advocate ($5 million) to assist homeowners with concerns over flood mapping and/or insurance ratings.
National Association of Realtors’ President Elizabeth Mendenhall

National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall, says of the omnibus spending bill, “In addition to extending the NFIP through July, with the goal of passing a long-term reauthorization and reform of the program soon, this spending bill contains significant improvements for providing affordable housing options for low-income households,” she said.

The sixth-generation Realtor from Columbia, MO and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, added, “Realtors were a key part of a larger coalition that fought for these necessary changes, and we’re pleased to see the steps taken to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to address our country’s housing needs.”