WASHINGTON (April 19, 2022) – The National Association of Realtors® Vice President of Policy Advocacy Bryan Greene joined national think tank Third Way for a discussion today on how to solve the housing crisis, with an emphasis on increasing availability, affordability, and accessibility for all.
Greene was joined by Gene Sperling, American Rescue Plan Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President; Erika Poethig, Special Assistant to the President for Housing and Urban Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council; and Lisa Rice, President and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance. Greene served for 29 years at HUD's Office of Fair Housing before joining NAR in 2019.
"We're the nation's largest trade organization, with 1.5 million members nationwide, so when we roar, we're heard," Greene said. "We've been roaring about housing supply."
Greene highlighted policy proposals NAR is pursuing to make homeownership accessible to more people, including down payment assistance, alternative credit, and special purpose credit programs. As a founding member of the Black Homeownership Collaborative, NAR supports the 3by30 initiative, which promotes many of these policy solutions with the goal of adding three million net new Black homeowners by 2030.
"The big challenge is that, even doing all those things, it's going to be hard to keep up with the ever-rising prices and, on top of that, the increase in interest rates," Greene said. "So, we have to address the root cause … lack of housing production."
Greene outlined supply solutions that can be activated immediately, such as converting underutilized commercial properties to residential, rehabilitating homes through the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, and reducing capital gains taxes to promote the sale of single-family homes that are currently being held back from the market.
"Overall, we need to advocate that this is a national priority," he added.
Greene also touted the work of the NAR Research team. "They're putting out the research calling attention to these issues, and policymakers are listening."
Greene cited recent NAR reports that examine how the housing crisis is impacting prospective home buyers in various demographic groups. The Double Trouble of the Housing Market examines how the "two troubles" simultaneously impacting the real estate market – record-high home prices and record-low inventory – are creating roadblocks for many Americans to achieve homeownership, particularly Black Americans. 2022 Obstacles to Home Buying explores current obstacles to home buying broken down by race/ethnicity and finds the lack of affordable homes is the top obstacle holding back potential home buyers of all races. Housing is Critical Infrastructure highlights the vast underbuilding gap in the U.S. and the consequences of underinvesting in housing.
In his opening remarks, Sperling stressed the important role the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has played in keeping people in their homes during the pandemic. While acknowledging the challenges in its rollout, he deemed it "one of the most rewarding programs" in the American Rescue Plan. NAR advocated heavily for this assistance on behalf of struggling tenants and mom-and-pop landlords, helping to secure nearly $50 billion in funding.
"At this moment, five million payments have gone out to households and landlords," Sperling said. "There's never been anything like this."
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
# # #