The Voice for Real Estate 42: Clean Water Act, Condos

The Voice for Real Estate 42: Clean Water Act, Condos

Mar 23, 2016
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The U.S. Supreme Court plans to look at whether you can sue the federal government if it makes you get a permit under the Clean water Act before it's even clear whether your property has a wetlands on it. NAR believes you should be able to sue before you have to go through the expensive and time-consuming permit process. But the government says you have to get the permit first. NAR will be watching the case closely as the Supreme Court weighs in.

Featured Segments:

  • Condo Loans
  • Clean Water Act
  • Renters (HOME survey)
  • Young Buyers
  • Legal Help
  • February Sales
  • AE Institute

Get more on all the topics covered in this video:

Featured segments:

Voice for Real Estate 42: Transcript

Clean Water Act, Condos

Stephen Gasque Voice Over: 

NAR urges the Senate to ease condo financing
The Supreme Court to will hear a land case - that matters
to you
And young households are racing to the suburbs
These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate
Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque with the National Association of
Did you know buyers use FHA financing on fewer than 10
percent of all condominiums in the United States? That’s
because FHA requires at least half of all condominium
units to be owner-occupied—a tough threshold because
many owners rent their units out. But that's not the only
issue. Under the current rules, FHA won’t let more than
25 percent of the property be used for commercial
purpose, and, it requires condo boards to undergo
frequent expensive, time-consuming certifications.
These hurdles are a problem for real estate markets,
because a condo purchase is typically one of the most
affordable avenues into homeownership. And that’s why
NAR is asking the Senate to pass a bill the House passed
just a few weeks ago. It’s called the Housing Opportunities
Through Modernization Act, and it makes safe, affordable
FHA condo financing available for more buyers than ever.
. NAR Vice President Michael Labout, a branch broker at
ERA Shields Real Estate in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has
Once the bill passes the Senate, any differences with the
House bill will have to be ironed out and then sent to the
president, who is expected to sign it.
Question: what properties require a permit under the
Clean Water Act? It's a tough question, especially because
the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers have increased the jurisdiction of the
Clean Water Act. They want it to cover many more bodies
of water all across America.
However - a federal judge has temporarily blocked that -
while the issue heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's a huge issue. Because as more bodies of water are
covered - more property owners often challenge the
federal government - about whether they have the right -
to invoke Clean Water rules - on private property.
In the upcoming Supreme Court case, the justices will look
at whether landowners can sue the federal government if
they believe their land is NOT covered under the law. Right
now, if the government says you’re covered, you can’t
challenge that without first going through an expensive
and time-consuming permitting process. NAR’s Russell
Riggs has more.
The Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on this
important issue this spring. We’ll keep you - updated on
the issue.
Most Americans think it’s a good time to buy a home, but
among renters? That positive view is shrinking. That's
according to NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and
Market Experience—or HOME—survey. NAR Chief
Economist Lawrence Yun says Renters are
disproportionately affected by rising prices, because they
can’t count on home equity to fund their down payment.
Another NAR report finds — there’s no bigger home
buying group in the United States than millennials—those
under 35 years of age. That's the conclusion of the Home
Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report - just released
by NAR. It finds that Millennials make up 35 percent of all
homebuyers. For years we’ve talked about their
preference for urban living, but now that they’re buying,
most are choosing a single-family home in the suburbs.
NAR’s Jessica Lautz has more.
In another finding, 89 percent of millennials chose to work
with an agent on their purchase, a rate higher than that of
any other generation.
NAR wants all its members to know about a very powerful
ally they have, in important legal fights: NAR’s Legal Action
program. For more than 40 years, it's been fighting for
private property rights, and fair business practices - on
behalf of brokerages, and state and local associations of
Over the years, NAR has helped in hundreds of cases,
sometimes providing money to help a broker or
association cover legal costs, and sometimes providing
expert legal commentary.
There are many reasons NAR might get involved in a case.
NAR Deputy General Counsel Ralph Holmen talks about
what the association looks for when an application for
assistance is submitted under its Legal Action program.
Learn more about the Legal Action program in a new video
from NAR Legal Affairs.
Home sales took a hit last month, dropping several
percentage points in February from the previous month.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says a continued
shortage of inventory remains a big problem, in many
markets around the nation.
Despite the setback, the sales pace remains on track for a
solid year, with more than 5 million home sales expected.
What could be more important to you as a real estate
professional than serving your clients as well as you can?
Well, the professionals who staff your state and local
associations of Realtors just completed the 2016
Association Executive Institute in San Antonio, Texas. And
it was all about finding ways to serve you better.
Big topics this year were the future of multiple listing
services, techniques for managing data, and protecting
brokers and MLSs from misuse of copyrighted listing
And that’s our show for the week of March 21. You can get
more on everything we talked about today at The Voice
for Real Estate page on Thank you for joining
us, and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest
news on The Voice for Real Estate.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.
Window to the Law is a monthly video series that provides valuable risk management tips and information to help real estate professionals navigate legal issues facing the real estate industry.
From the advocacy efforts to technology advances and updates on commercial industry trends, the topics in this series all relate to what’s happening in commercial real estate now and what trends are on the horizon.
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