Realtors® Deliver Real Estate Agenda to Elected Officials

As Realtors® from across the country gather this week for the National Association of Realtors® they come committed to continue working with Congress and the administration on efforts to stimulate the housing market. The Realtors®‘ agenda also includes measures to protect commercial real estate markets and ensure the availability of affordable healthcare to the self-employed and small businesses.

The Realtors® launched this year’s meeting with its first ever Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy. The summit brought together some of the most influential and cutting-edge experts in the fields of housing, finance, government, academia and the media to find solutions to today’s economic conditions and move the economy as a whole toward recovery. The findings of the summit will be presented to Members of Congress during Realtors®‘ visits to Capitol Hill throughout the week.

“Housing is the engine of economic growth, and real estate is the road to economic recovery,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “With many of the country’s current problems resting on a wobbly foundation of declining home prices, rampant foreclosures and increasing job loss, our members will be asking Congress to pass further legislation that moves the housing market forward. Last year, NAR asked Congress to pass housing stimulus legislation, which passed and is beginning to show results. However, the work is far from finished.”

This year, NAR is advocating expanding the $8000 first-time home buyer tax credit to include all home buyers at all income levels. In addition, Congress should make permanent the 2008 loan limit increase formula and loan limit caps, as well as fortify Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure continued availability of capital for mortgage lending throughout all mortgage markets and in all conditions.

Although housing and related financial issues remain NAR’s principal focus in the current economy, small business health care also remains a legislative priority. “We will continue to push for health care reform that offers affordable health care options to the self-employed and small businesses. Congress and the Obama administration must address the inequities faced by those that do not have an employer-assisted plan covering all or part of the individual’s health care insurance premiums,” said McMillan.

In addition, Realtors® will urge that Congress move to stabilize and restore liquidity to commercial real estate markets. “Having a sound and functioning commercial and multifamily real estate sector is critical to our country’s economic growth and development,” McMillan said.

NAR is also working with Congress to develop reasonable energy efficiency practices. NAR supports reasonable, incentive-based approaches to encourage energy efficiency and opposes “energy labeling.” “Energy labels don’t save energy; home and building improvements do,” said McMillan.

“We are excited to be here at this important juncture. More than 8,000 Realtors® from across the country have come to Washington to remind Congress that a renewed, revitalized and robust real estate market is essential to generating commerce and helping families build wealth and stability,” McMillan said.

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