Voice for Real Estate 75: Tax Reform, Equifax

Congress must protect the transfer of real property in any reforms to the tax code, a REALTOR® told senators in testimony as the tax reform process got underway in Washington. Also covered in the video: flood insurance extension, the impact of the Equifax data breach, protecting against data crimes, professional opportunities after the hurricanes, and why home sales have slowed. 


  • Tax reform 
  • Equifax 
  • Flood Insurance 
  • Data security 
  • Home sales


A Realtor talks tax reform – on Capitol Hill

Could the Equifax data breach put your home sale at risk?

And in the hurricane aftermath, the Small Business Administration needs help

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

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

Right now, lawmakers in Congress are looking at tax reform. How to reform our country’s tax code. And in the first hearing on the issue, they turned to a real estate professional for help. Iona Harrison of Pioneer Realty in Upper Marlboro, Md., testified before the Senate Finance Committee last week. And she said any curtailment or elimination of tax incentives for real estate -- would hurt communities and the economy’s ability to grow.


No one knows yet what tax reform legislation will look like, because the process is just starting, and the administration and Congress will still have a lot to say about it. But Harrison made one thing extremely clear in her testimony: Realtors will oppose any effort to reduce the importance of homeownership in our nation’s tax code,  by paring back itemized deductions, including state and local property tax deductions, even if the mortgage interest deduction is left intact. She also told Congress NAR would oppose any effort to curtail tax-deferred 1031 like-kind exchanges … which are essential for real estate investors, big and small.


You can see for yourself how important 1031 exchanges are to commercial real estate transactions in a Facebook Live event on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m., Central time, 2 p.m., Eastern time. Raphael Barta, a commercial professional with Century 21 RiverStone in Sandpoint, Idaho, and Dean Saunders, owner of Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, Fla., will walk you through what makes a good 1031 transaction. And you can ask them questions, too, during the live event.


It’s been all over the news: data on 143 million Americans at risk because of a security breach at Equifax, one of our nation’s three credit reporting companies. Few things are more important for households applying for a mortgage loan than their credit score, so the breach could become a big problem for many people. Here’s NAR CEO Bob Goldberg on how you, as a real estate professional, can counsel your clients if they’re concerned their credit report might be affected by the breach.


The breach underscores how important it is for you to do everything you can to prevent thefts of data—yours as well as your clients. That’s why NAR Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton hosted a Facebook Live event on data security last week.


If you missed that event, you can watch it at any time on NAR’s Facebook page. You can also get more information on nar.realtor. It’s updating its resources on data protection in October—which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.


Two devastating hurricanes have come and gone and weather forecasters are keeping their eyes on other storms forming in the Atlantic. It will be months, and possibly years before life returns to anything close to normal for many people in Houston and other parts of Texas and in many parts of Florida and the Caribbean. Realtors were front and center in efforts to help their neighbors during and after the storms and in donating money to the Realtors Relief Foundation.

There are professional opportunities as well. The U.S. Small Business Administration is looking for professionals to work with it as damage verifiers. These are people who can assist the agency in assessing properties damaged in the storms. Loan specialists are also being sought. You can learn more about these opportunities by sending an email to odahireme@sba.gov or calling 703/487-8100, ext. 6031.

One development that will help many people affected by the hurricanes is the three-month extension to the National Flood Insurance Program passed by Congress last week. Realtors sent tens of thousands of letters to their members of Congress, which helped push that extension through. As a result, the program has authority to keep writing insurance until December 8. NAR is already hard at work helping lawmakers come together to reauthorize the program for the long-term and make reforms that will make the program better for taxpayers. We’ll keep you up to date as these efforts advance.


A new look at the impact student loan debt is having on home sales. NAR teamed up with a nonprofit organization, American Student Assistance, and found in a research study that millennials—those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—are carrying a typical debt load of $41,200 while their typical annual income is just $38,800. That’s one of the reasons that the homeownership rate among them is just 20 percent. What’s more, millennials say it will be seven years before they will be able to buy because of their student debt load.


A small but significant drop in home sales last month – due to Hurricane Harvey.

NAR data for August show home sales declined 1.7 percent to a sales pace of about 5.35 million units. More impact will be felt next month, too, because the latest numbers don’t reflect the second storm that came through and hit Florida, Hurricane Irma. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has more.  


All of NAR’s research data is on nar.realtor under the Research and Statistics tab.


And that’s our show for the week of September 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 join us again as we being you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

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