WASHINGTON (May 10, 2011) - Now is the time for Realtors® to come to the aid of their industry, on behalf of the nation’s 75 million home owners, aspiring home owners, real estate investors, and the nation’s economy. That was the message delivered today during “59 and ½ Minutes: A Member-Director Forum” during the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here.
“As the leading advocate for home ownership, housing issues and private property rights, the National Association of Realtors® and our members are committed to keeping housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda, because housing and home ownership issues affect all Americans,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Now is the time to ‘seize the day,’ and I am confident that Realtors® have the strength, wisdom and leadership to shape a bright and positive future for our industry and our nation.”
The current economic environment has led some to question the value of home ownership for individuals and families as well as the nation as a whole. Long-standing benefits like the mortgage interest deduction and financing products like the 30-year mortgage may be in jeopardy in coming years, and Realtors® at the session were called to action.
“We need to make our voices heard in Washington and beyond,” said Phipps. “NAR must remain actively engaged to ensure that current and future home buyers have the opportunity to pursue home ownership and that owning a home remains an attainable goal for hard-working American families.”
Realtors® are a politically active group. According to data from the most recent NAR Member Profile, 93 percent of Realtors® voted in the last national election, and 81 percent voted in their last local election. During the session, Realtors® heard insights into motivating action on real estate issues at the local, state and national level.
Two NAR Federal Policy Coordinators were presented with the FPC Meritorious Service Award at the session for their long history of commitment to NAR and the Realtor® Party Agenda. FPCs forge relationships with their members of Congress to ensure that legislators understand real estate’s most important issues. Realtor® Joan Ballantyne of Cherokee, Iowa, was recognized for her outreach to Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, and Realtor® Darlene Breen of Dayton, Ohio, was honored for her work with Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio.
Expounding on the efforts of these FPCs, NAR First Vice President Gary Thomas, a former FPC himself, said, “Realtor® involvement in the political process and public policy making is more important today than ever before. Each and every day, everyone in this room, and indeed every Realtor®, must show the same winning spirit to public policy makers and consumers about why home ownership matters.”
Approximately 8,000 Realtors® and guests are expected to attend the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week, Realtors® will also meet with legislators on Capitol Hill to urge action toward streamlining short sales, ensuring access to affordable financing, and preserving the tax benefits associated with home ownership. For more information about the meetings, visit www.nar.realtor/midyear.
The National Association of Realtors® “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.