RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

MAY 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

Issue link: http://remag.rismedia.com/i/1109029

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Page 17 of 118

RISMedia's REAL ESTATE May 2019 13 {Policy Matters} D uring the National Asso- ciation of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meet- ings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., from May 13 - 19, 2019, members will advance public policy issues important to the real estate industry through Capitol Hill and federal regulatory agency visits, special issues forums and committee meetings. NAR policy committees are con- stantly monitoring legislative and regulatory issues. Additionally, a wide-ranging public policy survey of members, and political intelligence from NAR's Advocacy Group, guide and direct the development of the 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda. The highlights are listed below: NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP) Flood insurance is required for a mortgage in more than 20,000 communities nationwide, and the NFIP is set to expire on May 31, 2019. NAR will urge Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP with meaningful reforms that open the door to private flood insurance and modernize flood mapping and mitigation invest - ments. While there is a growing private market for flood insurance, millions of small businesses and homeowners currently depend on the NFIP to protect their property against flooding, the most costly and common natural disaster in the United States. Without flood insur - ance, property owners would have to rely on the federal government for taxpayer-funded disaster relief after major floods. TAX EXTENDERS & TAX INDEXING NAR supports a permanent ex - tension of the tax exclusion on mortgage-debt forgiveness. NAR is monitoring the implementation of Opportunity Zones (OZ) and work - ing to ensure that the rules imple- menting the new OZs fulfill their promises. The current provisions that cap the Mortgage Interest De - duction (MID) loan limit at $750K, the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction at $10K, and the maxi - mum exclusion amounts for gain on sale of a principal residence ($250K/$500K) should be indexed to protect against future inflation. NAR also supports ending the mar - riage penalty in the SALT deduc- tion cap. Currently, single filers and married couples are subject to the same $10K cap. ACCESS TO CREDIT Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play key roles in the secondary mort - gage market, which is crucial in providing capital for mortgage lend - ing. NAR supports reforms to the housing finance system that ensure mortgage capital is available in all markets at all times, and under all economic conditions. Bipartisan congressional action is key to se - curing an explicit government guar- antee that protects the availability of long-term, fixed-rate mortgage products (i.e., 30-year fixed-rate mortgage). NAR's vision for compre - hensive reform supports replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with government-chartered authority(ies) subject to strong regulatory over - sight and accountability while mini- mizing taxpayer risk by encourag- ing private capital investment. The new entity(ies) will retain portfolio practices, emphasizing that the un - derlying mission continues to meet the needs of Middle America and underserved borrowers through a robust, competitive market. FAIR HOUSING For more than 100 years, REAL - TORS® have subscribed to a strict Code of Ethics. In Jan. 2014, an amendment to Article 10 of the Code of Ethics expanded protection against discrimination to include sexual orientation or gender iden - tity. REALTORS® are proud to lead the way toward greater equality in housing opportunities and urge Congress to adopt sexual orienta - tion and gender identity as protect- ed classes in the Fair Housing Act. FEDERAL MORTGAGE PROGRAMS NAR believes that federal mortgage finance programs such as the Fed - eral Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Rural Housing Service (RHS) occupy a critical role in the nation's housing finance system. These federal agencies ensure ac - cess to mortgage credit that's avail- able to all Americans; in particular, groups traditionally underserved by the private market, including low- to moderate-income, minority and first- time homebuyers. NAR continues to support proposals to preserve and strengthen these programs. There's a lot to accomplish this Congress, and REALTORS® have the resources and resolve necessary to promote and protect the ability of Americans to own, buy and sell real property. RE Shannon McGahn is the senior vice president of Government Affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®. 2019 REALTOR ® Federal Advocacy Efforts This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group. by Shannon McGahn

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