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Looking Ahead: 2017: A Note From the President

February 3, 2017

We’ve entered a new year, and there is no doubt about it, changes are on the horizon. 2017 will be a year of transition, not only within the political and policy arenas, but also within our own arena. Real estate practitioners – brace yourselves! There is a revolution brewing on almost every level of organized real estate, whether legislative, technology, or market forces drive it. These winds of change mandate REALTORS® to work vigilantly to ensure our interests be safeguarded. Change and transition can seem formidable, but REALTORS® cannot be daunted. We must, and we will, use this period of transition to best shape the future of our industry.

With transitions in leadership at the local, state, and federal levels, we must anticipate and prepare for possible changes, both large and small, in the policies affecting property ownership and real estate investment. While it is impossible to know right out of the gate what those changes will be, our priorities remain the same. Property ownership is still an aspirational achievement for millions of Americans, and we will not compromise when it comes to protecting all real estate tax provisions, including, but not limited to the mortgage interest deduction, state and local property tax deduction, and 1031 like-kind exchanges.

As a practitioner whose sole business is multifamily investment and brokerage, I just like you understand how critical 1031 like-kind exchanges are for real estate investment. REALTORS® must educate legislators that 1031 exchanges are not a tax break, but rather a deferral that encourages further investment into a community and the economy. It is probable that any major tax reform discussion that comes before Congress will likely include the 1031 exchange. However, the National Association of REALTORS® is prepared to fight tooth-and-nail to protect this critical policy.

We also expect two other significant debates: one will examine revisions to Dodd-Frank and the second will focus on reform of the Government Sponsored Enterprises, more commonly known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. DoddFrank has had a tremendous impact on commercial business especially in relation to community banks and small-cap market lenders. However, as REALTORS®, we have adapted; crowdfunding, lending technologies, and alternative lending sources have grown rapidly within the commercial market in response to tightening lending conditions. It’s imperative to our profession that the REALTOR® voice is heard loud and clear when it comes to conversations focused on Dodd-Frank and GSE reform. We must help drive any policy reform to ensure our interests are secure.

The bottom line is while changes are likely coming, we are well-prepared to defend and to shape the issues important to our industry. REALTOR® champions posted big wins in the 2016 elections at all levels of government, putting us in a strong position to advance policies that strengthen real estate markets and protect private property rights. Our focus has, and will always be, non-partisan. We are committed to building dynamic communities accessible to all.

No matter what 2017 has in store for us, rest-assured that the National Association of REALTORS® will strive tirelessly to safeguard our interests and protect our livelihoods. Success, however, depends on your support. Join me in taking an active role in this REALTOR® revolution by supporting the REALTOR® Party, responding to Calls for Action, and becoming more involved at the local, state, and national levels. Your involvement matters now, more than ever.