Policy Advocacy 2023 Wins
NAR’s federal advocacy team worked tirelessly in 2023 to protect the real estate sector and make progress on several priorities.
Although not an exhaustive list, check out the 2023 victories that REALTORS® can be proud of.
Advocacy Accomplishments Through the Years
Since the founding of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) in 1969, REALTORS® have notched crucial wins for the real estate industry every year. Check out NAR's top advocacy accomplishments over the past six decades.
2023 Advocacy Wins
Fighting Regulation That Would Drive Housing Providers From the Market
Mobilizing Housing Providers
NAR informed the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) that its consideration of tenant demands where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cap rent increases on the multifamily properties they underwrite could force small housing providers out of the market, limiting housing options for consumers. NAR spearheaded a call for action of housing provider members and joined a coalition letter to emphasize the adverse impact of such a dramatic administrative action on housing providers.
Educating on Consumer Protections
NAR provided feedback to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission on tenant screening practices, emphasizing their role in supporting safe and healthy housing communities and NAR’s commitment to ensuring that members carry these out in a way that complies with all CFPB regulations and the Fair Housing Act.
NAR, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the National Apartment Association, filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court's review of two cases challenging a New York rent control law to stop government actions that exacerbate existing housing shortages and affordability problems.
Amplifying Housing Accessibility & Affordability
NAR supported recent action by the Administration to update policies on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as a means to create additional housing inventory and more opportunities for homeowners. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will now allow buyers to use actual or potential rental income of an ADU when qualifying for an FHA-insured loan.
Facilitating More Rental Housing
NAR advocated for a recent change made by the FHA that increased the threshold dollar amount for “Large Multifamily Loans” from $75 million to $120 million. This change will increase the number of multifamily loans that are eligible for standard underwriting for FHA insurance, facilitating the cost-effective creation of more rental housing.
Elimination of Problematic Mortgage Fees on Consumers
This spring, NAR repeatedly voiced concern regarding proposed hikes to upfront fees ("Loan-Level Price Adjustments" or "LLPAs") by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). NAR testified before the House Financial Services Committee in May on the impact on borrowers. As a result of NAR's advocacy, the FHFA rescinded a problematic fee on borrowers with a high debt-to-income ratios.
Lowering the Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)
As a result of NAR's advocacy, the FHA reduced mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) by 30 basis points, significantly helping new and low- to moderate-income buyers.
Reduce Rising Interest Rates
In an effort to address the historically high mortgage rates, NAR and coalition partners urged the National Economic Council, Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FHFA to take action to reduce the spread between 30-year mortgage rates and 10-year Treasuries (30/10 spread); actions to address the decline in demand for mortgage backed securities (MBS); and to enact other efforts to tame inflation.
Preserve Market Stability
NAR and coalition partners also asked the Federal Reserve take action to stabilize the market for MBS through clear guidance that would ease the upward pressure on long-term mortgage rates. This would provide the market with greater certainty about the Fed’s rate path and its plans for the MBS portfolio, reducing volatility.
Fighting Costly & Onerous Bank Rules
NAR joined a coalition of consumer and mortgage finance groups to warn the bank regulators of the adverse impact the proposed Basel III revisions could raise the cost of borrowing in high-cost areas, harm new programs for underserved groups, and weigh on housing supply.
Affordable Housing Funding
NAR supported the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) increased funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, which in 2023 provided $30.3 billion to public housing authorities– a $2.9 billion increase over 2022. HUD announced it will also award $50 million for new vouchers for homeless veterans, and $50 million for flexible new housing vouchers.
Incentives to Increase Housing Supply
Raise the Capital Gains Exclusion
NAR successfully advocated for the introduction of the "More Homes on the Market Act" (H.R. 1321), a bipartisan bill that would incentivize more owners to sell their homes by doubling the maximum amount of capital gains a homeowner can exclude on the sale of a principal residence and annually adjusting it for inflation. This would unlock a significant segment of inventory previously unavailable to prospective buyers.
Encourage Commercial to Residential Conversions
Thanks to NAR and its coalition partners, two House Ways & Means Committee members will introduce a bipartisan bill to incentivize the conversion of underutilized commercial property to residential units by offering a tax credit. Such a tax credit would be a triple win for REALTORS® and consumers by shoring up the commercial sector, increasing housing supply, and boosting the economy. A bipartisan Senate bill is in the works.
Expand Housing Development
NAR has been a strong advocate for the "Neighborhood Homes Investment Act" (NHIA) and for the "Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act" (AHTCIA), both of which are designed to significantly increase the number of homes available for lower- and middle-income families. The NHIA would attract private investment for building and renovating as many as 500,000 owner-occupied homes through tax credits. The AHTCIA would improve the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program to allow for the creation of over 2 million additional affordable homes over the next 10 years.
Remove State & Local Development Barriers
NAR educates state and local partners about HUD’s Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) grant program that supports communities removing barriers to new and affordable housing, including updating zoning and land use policies, improving permitting efficiencies, and decreasing threats from natural hazards.
Fair Housing and Homeownership Opportunity
Increasing Borrower Eligibility
After decades of NAR advocacy, the Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA) committed to evaluating and adding additional credit scoring models for borrower eligibility. The new models will incorporate positive rental and utility history, opening opportunities for otherwise-qualified borrowers with “thin” credit files, and giving borrowers credit for making reliable payments on other credit commitments.
FHFA also announced a new requirement that only two credit reports need be considered for eligibility, versus the traditional three. This will reduce costs for lenders and encourage competition and innovation in the credit scoring market.
Special Purpose Credit Programs
The final rule on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) established that Special Purpose Credit Programs, endorsed by NAR, are eligible for CRA credit. These programs allow banks to create targeted programs that serve economically disadvantaged groups. The three federal agencies overseeing the CRA committed to a “living” rulemaking process that will continue to examine who and where banks are serving, reassessing strategies to provide credit opportunities in more communities while truly evaluating the commitments from depository institutions in the communities they serve. The rule also adds flexibility and takes into account the move from a branch-lending model to a digital approach.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
NAR mobilized a coalition of real estate groups including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance to issue a statement in support of HUD’s Affirmatively Fair Housing Rule. The proposed rule, which encourages data-driven local solutions to housing segregation, includes a new emphasis on homeownership opportunity.
Heirs’ Property Rights
Since NAR urged state associations to support due process protections for owners of “heirs’ property” in 2022, the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act has been adopted by three additional states and the District of Columbia, bringing the total number of enactments up to 22. Seven additional states introduced bills in 2023.
State Fair Housing Requirements
NAR and its state association partners have championed state-level reforms to advance property rights and fair housing. Since NAR urged state associations to strengthen fair housing licensure requirements, 6 states have added new fair housing education requirements to their licensing regime, including California, Missouri, Wisconsin, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Preserving Homeownership, Property Rights, & Wealth Accumulation
NAR advocated for and supported FHA's forty-year loan modification to help avoid foreclosures. Under FHA's final rule, lenders can provide an extended loan modification to borrowers in distress by lowering their monthly payments over time.
Protecting Land Development
NAR is part of a large coalition that has been challenging the overreach of federal environmental regulation on the rights of owners to use and develop private land. The pending Waters of the U.S. ("WOTUS") litigation is currently stayed in light of the recent Supreme Court decision (Sackett v. EPA), which provided needed clarity under the Clean Water Act and the ability to build on land subject to this law.
Legal Clarity on Home Equity
The Supreme Court issued a decision in June upholding a property owner's entitlement to their surplus equity in their home, as advocated for by NAR in an amicus brief with the American Property Owners Alliance and the Minnesota REALTORS®. (Tyler v. Hennepin County)
Shaping Congressional & Administrative Action
Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
NAR successfully pressed Congressional leaders to successfully extend NFIP through November 17th, following our launch of an all-member call for action activating thousands of members to make tens of thousands of contacts with members of Congress. NAR’s estimates that 1,300 real estate transactions are affected each day of an extended NFIP lapse.
Ensuring Safety with New AVMs
NAR sent a response to the joint banking and finance regulators on their proposed a joint rule to set rules for the use of automated valuation models (AVMs). AVMs are increasingly being used as an alternative to traditional appraisers and NAR urged regulators to set sound standards, apply them to all market participants, and to ensure that consumers receive the AVM estimates used to grant them an appraisal waiver.
Prioritizing Residential to Commercial Conversions
NAR continues to encourage incentivizes for the conversion of unused commercial buildings to residential and mixed-use properties with a tax credit for qualified property conversion expenditures to better suit the needs of communities and create job opportunities, including adding multifamily and affordable housing, and mixed-use spaces. The Administration’s October 27th announcement recognized this necessary housing supply solution, and we encourage a legislative fix to further incentivize such conversions.
Strengthening Lead Regulations
NAR, in coalition with other real estate stakeholders, submitted comments on the EPA's proposed regulations to strengthen requirements for the removal of lead-based paint dust in homes and childcare facilities built before 1978. The comments focus on concerns that the proposed rule will have significant negative impacts on all aspects of the housing and real estate market, including affordable housing that would have direct negative health impacts.
Support for Small Businesses
NAR spearheaded the introduction of new bipartisan legislation, the “Direct Seller and Real Estate Agent Harmonization Act,” (H.R. 5419) to harmonize federal statutes to reduce uncertainty and minimize regulatory burdens for independent contractor real estate professionals. NAR also supports expanded access to association health plans (AHPs) for more Americans, including self-employed real estate professionals. This NAR supported bill was included in the “CHOICE Arrangement Act,” which passed the House on June 21, 2023.
Download: Advocacy Wins in Previous Years
50+ Years of Advocacy Wins
1970: Supported the Solid Waste Disposal Act and Clean Air Act amendments.
1971: Included in the Banking Reform Act a prohibition against requiring an equity participation as a condition for making a mortgage loan.
1972: Helped pass the Emergency Mortgage Credit Act.
1973: Eliminated the blanket registration of commercial and industrial properties under the Interstate Land Sales Registration Act.
1974: Supported a tax reform bill that repealed the applicability of the Asset Depreciation Range to real property.
1975: Amended the Land Use and Resource Conservation Act to assure the involvement of local government and property owners in the land use process.
1976: Supported Regulation Q of the Mortgage Loan Disclosure Act, which created more mortgage credit.
1977: Supported the passage of the Housing and Community Development Act.
1978: Supported the Revenue Act, which lowered the tax on capital gains for individuals.
1979: Supported reforms to the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act that eased complicated registration and reporting requirements.
1980: Supported the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act, which repealed the estate tax carryover basis rule.
1981: Secured safeguards for private property owners in the National Historical Preservation Act.
1982: Supported provisions that clarified REALTORS®’ right to be independent contractors for federal tax purposes.
1983: Reduced the tax burden on the self-employed in the Social Security Reform package.
1984: Supported Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act amendments to prohibit the use of new multifamily program funds by communities imposing rent control on newly constructed units.
1985: Reformed a provision in the law increasing the minimum interest rate that sellers who financed the sale of real estate had to charge.
1986: Secured continued protection of the mortgage interest deduction in the tax reform package.
1987: Opposed and defeated a proposal to limit tax-deferred like-kind exchanges.
1988: Achieved the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, working with a broad coalition of civil rights advocacy groups.
1989: Preserved deferral of capital gains taxes on most exchanges of like-kind property.
1990: Issued Call for Action to reform the passive-loss tax rules that unfairly penalized real estate practitioners.
1991: Scored a major win when Congress approved a bill limiting the powers of federally chartered banks in the real estate arena and rolling back the existing authority of state- chartered banks to engage in real estate activities.
1992: Supported the Veterans Home Loan Program Amendments of 1992 that expanded the VA Guaranty Home Loan Program to members of the National Guard and military reserves.
1993: After a seven-year NAR lobbying campaign, Congress approved changes to passive loss rules enacted by the 1986 Tax Reform Act that had unfairly singled out real estate professionals.
1994: Following more than three years of NAR lobbying, Congress passed the Community Development and Financial Institutions Act that build the foundation for a commercial secondary mortgage market.
1995: Successfully opposed a proposal to dismantle the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and privatize the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
1996: Successfully opposed proposals to replace the federal income tax with a flat tax that would eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.
1997: Secured passage of tax legislation that raised the tax exclusion on the sale of a principal residence and allowed first-time buyers to withdraw up to $10K penalty-free from tax-deferred retirement savings to be used for home purchases.
1998: Supported legislation that raised the FHA’s mortgage insurance limits for single-family homes and provided uniformity to metropolitan areas with several different FHA limits.
1999: Secured adoption of a HUD rule to rely on the services of local real estate professionals to help sell HUD-owned single-family properties.
2000: Supported the White House’s livability agenda, promoting the development of smart
growth and quality of life programs in state and local governments.
2001: Supported congressional efforts to approve $25 million in FEMA funding for floodplain mapping.
2002: Prevented the Federal Reserve and Treasury from putting its banks in real estate proposal into effect.
2003: Supported legislation reducing the capital gains rate from 20% to 15% as well as a bonus depreciation provision that included tenant leasehold improvements.
2004: Supported legislation reauthorizing the flood insurance program through 2008.
2005: Prevented HUD from instituting its Valuation Conditions form and its Homebuyer Summary form related to the FHA appraisal process.
2006: Prevented large corporations from owning industrial loan companies that would have hurt competition in real estate.
2007: Supported legislation providing mortgage forgiveness debt relief.
2008: Supported a $7500 first-time homebuyer tax credit.
2009: After an eight-year fight, supported legislation that prevented banks from engaging in real estate brokerage.
2010: Secured extensions of the temporary higher loan limits for FHA and government sponsored enterprises (GSEs).
2011: Successfully opposed proposals to increase FHA’s down payment requirement to 5%.
2012: Successfully opposed proposed provisions of the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule that would have required a 20% down payment.
2013: Supported the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which extended the 50% bonus depreciation rule for qualifying property.
2014: Supported the Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which slowed flood insurance rates for homes and commercial properties.
2015: After an NAR Call for Action, Congress removed the use of guarantee fees (G-fees) as a financing mechanism for programs other than supporting the GSEs.
2016: Supported the FAA granting the use of drones in commercial real estate without requiring a Section 333 waiver.
2017: Improved the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure policy by seeking explicit clarity on the ability to share the Closing Disclosure with third parties, including real estate agents.
2018: Successfully opposed the repeal of 1031 like-kind exchanges and supported creation of a provision that allows REALTORS® to deduct 20% of their qualified business income. After decades of NAR advocacy, the U.S. Department of Labor issued final rules enabling independent contractors to join association health plans.
2019: Secured removal of the cap on the VA loan limit through the Blue Water Navy Act, as well as a seven-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.
2020: Sustained the real estate industry through the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting real estate as an essential service across the country and ensuring independent contractors were eligible for stimulus funds, rescue loans, and unemployment benefits. Secured permanent Section 179D deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings.
2021: Provided crucial support to the Alabama and Georgia REALTOR® associations in their victorious lawsuit against the nationwide eviction moratorium. Secured multiple REALTOR® priorities in the bipartisan infrastructure law, including funding to expand broadband.
2022: Successfully opposed nearly a dozen proposed tax increase provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that would have crippled the real estate market.
2023: Secured a 30-basis-point reduction in mortgage insurance premiums and successfully opposed the FHFA's proposed loan level pricing adjustment upfront fee on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios greater than 40 percent.