2012 FEDERAL PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES
Each year, NAR commissions its Research Division to develop an all-member survey to poll members on which issues they feel will be of critical importance to the industry in the upcoming year. For 2012, the results of this survey were presented at NAR's REALTOR® Party Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC on January 29. A brief summary of some, but not all, of the key issues NAR will be focusing on in 2012 is below:
A variety of tax laws, including those affecting commercial and residential real estate, could be debated in the coming year.
- Mortgage Interest Deduction: NAR opposes any changes that would limit or undermine current law. NAR has secured 183 bi-partisan co-sponsors for H. Res 25 which "expresses the sense of the Congress that the current Federal income tax deduction for interest paid on debt secured by a first or second home should not be further restricted."
- Property Tax Deduction: NAR opposes any changes that would change current law.
REAL ESTATE FINANCE
Coupled with a lack of available and affordable mortgage financing, delinquencies and foreclosure rates continue to be a significant concern. Federal policymakers are weighing a number of proposals aimed at creating healthier housing and mortgage markets.
- Government Sponsored Enterprises: NAR recommends that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be restructured in a manner that ensures consumers have a reliable source of mortgage funding in all types of markets, under all types of economic conditions. The restructured entities should be explicitly backed by the government, have no shareholders and be subject to tighter regulations on product, revenue generation and usage, and retained portfolios in order to accomplish their mission and protect the taxpayer.
- Credit Policies: NAR opposes a narrow definition of what constitutes a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) and supports a Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition that establishes strong consumer protections, incorporates important ability-to-repay standards, and offers lenders a safe harbor that reduces litigation exposure.
- Short Sales: NAR continues to push the lending industry to expedite short sales and is working with Congress to get legislation passed to make the short sales process more efficient.
Congress has extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through May 31, 2012. NAR is urging Congress to use the additional time to complete work on a 5-year NFIP re-authorization bill to provide certainty and avoid further disruption to real estate markets.
NAR strongly supports the independence of appraisers and the appraisal process. Additionally, NAR opposes the use of indemnification clauses by Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) which places pressure on the appraiser, compromises their independence, and has a negative effect on the quality of appraisal reports.
More than $1.2 trillion in commercial real estate loans will come due over the next few years, and many of these deals will have trouble getting financing. NAR believes Congress and the federal government should consider legislation and regulation aimed at improving commercial real estate markets including: (1) accelerated depreciation, (2) increasing the cap on credit union member business lending (MBL), (3) additional banking agency guidance related to term extensions, (4) creation of a mortgage insurance program for performing commercial loans, (5) improving credit availability for small businesses and (6) creation of a U.S. covered bond market.
To view a more in-depth list of the 2012 federal public policy priorities, please visit www.nar.realtor/government_affairs/gapublic/2012_policy_priorities
To view a full list of all the issues NAR is monitoring, please visit www.nar.realtor/politicaladvocacy.