Voice for Real Estate 85: GDPR, AMCs, Midyear Mtgs, Infrastructure

Brokers and associations face changes to their websites and other data collection activities as a European Union rule to protect privacy takes effect. AMC-ordered appraisals don't overvalue property at a higher rate than appraisals ordered by lenders. A two-year goal for federal environmental reviews for infrastructure projects are ambitious. Sales are up for the second month in a row, and REALTORS® will be focusing on tax policy changes, Fair Housing, Net Neutrality, and flood insurance on their visits to members of Congress in mid-May for the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington. 

Featured segments: 

  • EU privacy rule (GDPR) 
  • Appraisal management companies (AMCs) 
  • Infrastructure environmental reviews 
  • Home sales 
  • Town hall on 2018 federal lobbying priorities 


Will you be affected by Europe’s new privacy rule?

The federal government takes a close look at the work of appraisal management companies

And home sales head up

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

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

A rule by the European Union that takes effect next month may require changes to your website. The rule—called the General Data Privacy Regulation, or GDPR—seeks to protect the privacy and security of people who live within in the European Economic Area, which covers more than 30 countries. It requires you to get an affirmative opt-in from European residents before you can put a cookie, or data tracking code, on their computer when they come to your site to browse listings or access other information. And it requires you to delete or take other actions with their data if they request it. NAR’s Liz Sturrock has more.


Sturrock and Finley Maxson, NAR senior counsel, discussed and answered questions about the rule in a Facebook Live event NAR hosted last week. You can access that webcast on NAR’s YouTube channel.


Has the growth in appraisal management companies, or AMCs, over the last several years led to more over-valuations in appraisals? That’s a question researchers at the Federal Housing Finance Agency looked at and their answer is no. Appraisals ordered by AMCs don’t result in overvaluations of property any more than appraisals ordered directly by the lender.

Here’s Rebecca Jones, chair of NAR’s Real Property Valuation Committee, on FHFA’s findings.


AMCs have been part of the industry for decades but their use increased dramatically after the financial crisis a decade ago. That’s when the Federal Housing Finance Agency encouraged their use by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of an agreement known as the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, or HVCC. The idea was to create a firewall between lenders and appraisers by having AMCs act as middlemen. NAR supports their use as one option of many for promoting appraisal accuracy.


Good news on the effort to repair and replace our nation’s infrastructure. Twelve federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency, have release a joint agreement that sets a goal of two-year project approval times. NAR’s Russell Riggs has more. [How long does it take now typically?] Yes! Either in Stephen’s comments or in the first thing Russell says, we need to say what’s typical today.


Other aspects of the administration’s infrastructure plan, including the $200 billion in seed money to generate $1.3 trillion in private investment, must still be taken up in Congress.


Home sales were up by about 1 percent in March. That’s the second month in a row of higher home sales, even though low inventories and mortgage interest rate increases are pushing the cost of homeownership up. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has more on pressures facing markets across the country.


Next week, NAR releases its latest data on contract signings, and we’ll see if sales continue to trend up.


In May, thousands of Realtors from across the United States will be in Washington. They’ll be here for the Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. High on their agenda will be meetings on Capitol Hill to help ensure members of Congress know exactly where Realtors stand on issues crucial to real estate. You can learn about those issues in a live town hall meeting on May 10 with NAR Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello and all of NAR’s legislative representatives. NAR Deputy Chief Lobbyist Jamie Gregory has more on the town hall meeting.


I'll be your host for the town hall meeting. Again, that's Wednesday, May 10, at 2 p.m., Eastern. You can sign up today online.


And that’s our show for the week of April 23. You can get more on everything we talked about at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest news from The Voice for Real Estate.


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