LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Realtors Head to D.C. for Capitol Hill Visits

Philip Weiden | May 2019

HGAR members, along with Realtors from across the country, are headed at press time to the annual NAR Legislative meetings in Washington DC to meet with their Congressional representatives and advocate for Realtor issues.

Among the topics of discussion this year include the National Flood Insurance program. Realtors are fighting to reauthorize the program for at least five years. Currently the flood program expires on May 31st of this year. NAR and HGAR are advocating for meaningful reforms to include more accurate flood mapping along with aligning insurance rates to actual risk, providing property risk mitigation resources and opening the door to private flood insurance. Private flood insurance would afford property owners an opportunity to opt for the level of insurance they prefer and hopefully drive down the cost by creating competition among insurance companies.

A relatively new issue this year will be The Qualified Opportunity Zone program (QOZ). Created in 2017, the program aims to encourage development and job creation in economically distressed communities through tax incentives for investments in designated areas. Rulemaking to finalize the program is currently taking place and Realtors are active with helping the Treasury Department make the new program a success.

The third issue to be addressed will be infrastructure improvements, which have been shown to enhance property values by creating, livable communities and business districts. Poorly maintained streets and traffic congestion in an area impose extra costs throughout the local economy. Realtors support infrastructure policies that reflect a broad community vision and a level playing field for both highway and public transit funding.

Finally, Realtors support strengthening GSEs (Fannie and Freddie), which play a crucial role in providing capital for mortgage lending. NAR has unveiled a comprehensive vision to reform our nation’s housing finance system and ensure that people in Springfield, MO have the same rates and access to mortgage products as those in Springfield, MA.

America’s uniqueness of offering a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, ensures affordable mortgage credit for middle income Americans. Government guarantee and oversight of the system stimulates and protects the flow of private capital to homebuyers.

Stay tuned for updates on these agenda items.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.