The Voice for Real Estate 87: GSEs, AHPs, Tax Fairness, Flood CFA

Big win for real estate as Dept. of Labor issues rule allowing independent contractors to participate in association health plans. Supreme Court rules in favor of brick-and-mortar businesses over online retailers in Internet tax fairness decision. Flood insurance Call for Action is out. NAR hosts meeting on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also, it's National Home Ownership Month but discrimination persists. And the latest on home sales.

Transcript

For the first time, real estate professionals are eligible for association health plans

Flood insurance faces an expiration deadline

And Washington turns its attention to the future of mortgage finance

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque of the National Association of Realtors

Big news out of Washington last week. The U.S. Department of Labor released a final rule that - for the first time - makes independent contractors, like real estate professionals, eligible to join an association health plan. Since the rule was proposed last year, NAR worked with the department to make it work for real estate professionals. Here’s NAR’s Christie DeSanctis on why the rule matters - and what you can expect.

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A lot of work remains to be done, before the plan becomes a reality. We’ll keep you up to date in the months ahead.

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Have you responded to the NAR Call for Action on flood insurance? Federal flood insurance—which is critical for home sales in flood-risk areas—expires at the end of July. If it does, thousands of closings will stall in more than 20,000 communities across America. NAR’s call for action went out last week. So please let your voice be heard. It only takes a minute to send letters to your members of Congress.

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The future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That was the focus as the country’s top experts on public policy and mortgage financing, met at NAR’s Washington office last week. Now, as you know, Fannie and Freddie are important to your business, because without them, 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgages would simply not exist as we know them today. But’s been a decade since the mortgage crisis. A crisis that led to tighter mortgage rules—and to the appointment of a conservator to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So, after 10 years of federal oversight – the experts are asking – what next for Fannie and Freddie?

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NAR is advocating for the continuation of federal backing of safe, affordable mortgage financing. Because that is central to the health of housing markets in the years to come.

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June is National Homeownership Month? Ever since 2006, the country has recogned the importance of homeownership to America every June. But, hurdles for many potential homebuyers remain, including housing discrimination. Here’s Margo Wheeler, managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Seattle, Wash., on challenges she’s faced when trying to buy.

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Wheeler and other Realtors talk about their experiences and the need to keep breaking down barriers in a new Fair Housing Focus video that commemorates the Fair Housing Act, which was enacted 50 years ago.

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And now a home sales update. For the second month in a row existing-home sales are down. And that drop happened even though the economy is growing at a fast clip and unemployment is at the lowest level in a decade. The reason for the drop? Home prices are on the rise, and that’s creating challenges for buyers. Here’s NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

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Despite the dip in sales, there is a positive sign: improvement in the number of homes available for sale. There are 1.85 million homes on the market now, up from less than 1.5 million six months ago. Of course, inventory needs to go even higher. It’s still historically low, when compared to demand. But if inventory keeps improving, home price growth could relax and that could give wages a chance to catch up so potential buyers can finally land a home of their own.

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That’s our show for the week of June 25. You can get more on everything we talked about today at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us and be sure to visit us again when we bring you the latest news in The Voice for Real Estate.

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