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NAR Goes to White House, Discusses Housing

CEO Bob Goldberg met with White House officials and other industry reps to discuss the nation’s housing supply and affordability constraints.

WASHINGTON – National Association of Realtors® (NAR)Chief Executive Officer Bob Goldberg joined White House officials and industry representatives Wednesday to discuss the Biden administration’s response to housing supply and affordability constraints

After the meeting, NAR President Kenny Parcell followed up with a letter to White House officials outlining priorities the trade association believes would help address these ongoing challenges.

“When it comes to affordability, the administration has several tools it can use now to reduce costs, especially in higher-cost markets where housing options continue to diminish,” says Parcell. “Reducing fees for first-time homebuyers, providing more Housing Choice Vouchers, and providing incentives for more housing providers to participate in that program would provide direct and immediate support for renters and aspiring homeowners.

“NAR continues to stress that government must invest in boosting our nation’s housing supply if we are to make housing affordable in the long run. We need to invest in new construction, make zoning reforms, and provide tax incentives to spur more housing investment and conversion of unused commercial space into residential units.”

On Capitol Hill, NAR is working to advance the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, two pieces of legislation it argues would increase affordable housing options. The former would mobilize private investment to build and rehabilitate 500,000 affordable homes over the next decade, and the latter would improve the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

At the Wednesday meeting, administration officials and representatives from various real estate groups specifically discussed several measures to promote housing opportunity:

  • Reductions in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mortgage Interest Premium and the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ (GSE’s) guarantee fees (G-fees).
  • Efforts to expand and improve the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to assist tenants.
  • Support for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) affirmative fair housing initiatives.

NAR has advocated on behalf of each proposal.

In the meeting, NAR stressed its continued opposition to some proposals that have been advanced, including rent caps on GSE-backed rental properties, which it contends would be detrimental for renters, small businesses and housing providers.

In the letter to administration officials, Parcell wrote that proposals to place control or stabilization measures on rental properties backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which represent a significant share of the market – would cause considerable harm to the rental housing sector in America.

“Such policies would drive housing providers from the market – especially smaller, ‘mom-and-pop’ landlords who own just a few units and are unable to absorb rising costs that increase at a rate higher than rents do,” Parcell said.

NAR says it will continue to engage with the administration and other industry groups to advance reasonable market solutions that result in the greatest benefit for Americans and the economy, promote fair housing and racial equity, and support underserved communities.

“Amid mounting, ongoing concerns about rising inflation and escalating mortgage rates, NAR greatly appreciates the ongoing opportunities the administration has afforded to industry leaders, housing advocates, and civil rights leaders to collaborate with administration officials on ways to tackle these consumer and market obstacles,” Parcell concluded.

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