Leaders of the Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVAR) and the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR) met with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other members of Nevada’s congressional delegation last week in Washington, D.C., urging them to continue helping local homeowners and to keep housing issues at the top of their legislative agendas.
NVAR President Mike Young and GLVAR President Paul Bell led a group of nearly 50 REALTORS® from throughout the state who joined more than 8,000 REALTORS® from across the country in the nation’s capital as part of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Mid-year Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, held May 9-13. During the meetings, REALTORS® met with public policy officials, industry representatives and academic leaders to generate solutions for the challenges facing today’s real estate market and economy.
NVAR President Mike Young said the meetings focused on issues that are important for the housing market in Nevada and nationwide, ranging from ways to streamline short sales to maintaining opportunities for home ownership.
“We made our lawmakers and others aware of how crucial it is to make sure that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home can do so – today and well into the future,” Young said.
Bell said Nevada REALTORS® urged government officials to do more to streamline short sales, which account for nearly one in four Southern Nevada home sales. Bell said REALTORS® also advocated for ensuring access to affordable mortgage products, reforming the secondary mortgage market so that a continual flow of mortgage liquidity is available in all markets, and preserving tax benefits for home ownership, especially the mortgage interest deduction.
“Reducing or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would basically be a tax increase on homeowners – who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax,” Bell said. “We also oppose proposals that would increase loan limits because they would put home ownership out of reach for middle-class Americans. Requiring higher down payments does little to reduce default risks. Instead, it cuts into the savings of prospective buyers and decreases the number of borrowers who can afford to buy a home.”
As for reforming the secondary mortgage market, in particular Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Young said REALTORS® believe the federal government must continue playing a key role in the secondary mortgage market to ensure capital and liquidity in the market.
NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., added that “members of Congress were reminded that NAR is the leading advocate for home ownership, housing issues and private property rights. REALTORS® are working together to make sure the housing issues that matter most to consumers throughout the country are addressed in our nation’s capital.”
About the NVAR
The Nevada Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association with nearly 15,000 members. NVAR is committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.NVAR.org.
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