Are mortgage rates going to rise? Will banking reform change lending practices again and impact your ability to buy a house? Are the banks headed for more bailouts? Many voters are asking these questions as we prepare for a new administration. But these issues aren’t the only ones taking top priority for Realtors this year. We have a few other issues that also need to be watched in the coming year.
Realtors keep a close eye on political affairs because we are always working to protect consumers. We know that some important policies will be addressed in 2017 and Realtors are focusing primarily on three major areas of concern. The most obvious of those is the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires at the end of September. Congressional approval is required for the program, which provides flood insurance, manages floodplains, and develops maps of flood hazard zones. Without congressional approval, the NFIP will cease to exist. The last time reauthorization was needed, it took 17 extensions, four lapses and four long years to get authorization passed. This time around it looks like things will move more quickly. Congress has already held some preliminary meetings and it’s likely that some sort of approval will happen. As REALTORS, we want to ensure that the program requirements are written with the best interest of homeowners in mind.
Our second major policy focus will be keeping an eye on tax reform. We will be working to protect the mortgage interest deduction and state and local property tax deductions for homeowners. In the world of commercial real estate, we want to protect the 1031 exchange to preserve the flexibility of investors and businesses to preserve their cash if needed.
Finally, Realtors will be very proactive when it comes to housing finance reform. We want to ensure that if the current system including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are dismantled, then whatever replaces it still includes some federal guarantees for the secondary market, and that it retains some profits to cushion against market fluctuations. The strength of the mortgage industry and the ability for consumers to obtain mortgages must be at the forefront of any policies enacted. You can be certain that REALTORS are working hard in Washington, Austin, and right here in Dallas to ensure that your interests are heard by lawmakers. After all, we’re homeowners, too.
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® is comprised of more than 16,000 licensed agents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information on buying, selling, and leasing property in Texas, visit www.dfwrealestate.com.