Assessing Where We Are

With 2019 drawing to a close, we’re looking to build on our achievements to help REALTORS® stay strong in an evolving industry. 
From left, Elizabeth Mendenhall, Christine Hansen, Smaby, and Chris Reese

© National Association of REALTORS®

LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2019: From left, 2018 NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2019 REALTOR® Party Director Christine Hansen, Smaby, and 2020 Ohio REALTORS® President Chris Reese

Well, that was fast. My term as your NAR president may be winding down, but the momentum I’m feeling as we work together to keep our industry strong amid a whirlwind of change has never been greater. Through our “That’s Who We R” advertising campaign, we are “owning our story” every day in every conceivable platform. I’ve heard from hundreds of REALTORS® about how the campaign reinforces the pride they feel in their work and in their service as community leaders. The next chapter of the campaign ramps up early next year. Meanwhile, working every day on your behalf, we’ve achieved several important advocacy wins in 2019.

In October, new Federal Housing Administration condominium loan rules went into effect. The changes, which include greater flexibility in the mix of commercial and residential space and the return of single-loan approvals, should expand homeownership opportunities and reduce affordability constraints that are keeping buyers out of the market.

In late September, Congress passed a temporary extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, the 13th since 2017. Over the summer, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously approved a five-year extension including significant reforms to flood mapping and mitigation. We support that legislation and will continue to fight for a long-term solution, knowing that just a few days’ lapse in coverage can result in the delay or cancellation of thousands of sales contracts.

We’re hard at work helping our members put the new qualified opportunity zones program to work in their communities. The program is an element of the tax code with the potential to spur economic growth in underserved areas while providing tax benefits to investors.

We’re working with the Trump administration and Congress on housing finance reform, sharing our own vision for reform and working to ensure that creditworthy Americans in every corner of the country have access to affordable mortgages.

As we head into a national election in 2020, we’re developing new ideas to encourage construction and homeownership, to bring sensible regulations to our communities, and to elect REALTOR® champions at the local, state, and national level.

We’ve achieved a lot, but much work lies ahead, and not just in the government arena. The very nature of our business is evolving, and we’re harnessing opportunities to make REALTORS® the leaders of change with our Second Century Ventures investment arm and our award-winning Reach technology accelerator. It has been an exciting year, an honor to meet so many of you, and a true pleasure to share our REALTOR® story. Thank you.