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NEFAR and realMLS were well represented as more than 9,000 REALTORS® from throughout the nation converged at the National Association of REALTORS week-long legislative event held in Washington D.C. and nearby National Harbor, Maryland along the Potomac River May 1-6.
During the week-long event, NEFAR President Mark Rosener and Millie Kanyar, a member of the Florida Real Estate Commission, were invited to meet with Florida Senator Rick Scott during a special “invitation-only” session on Capitol Hill.
Also, Nicole Jensen, CEO of realMLS, facilitated one of the MLS Roundtables and presented the NAR Multiple Listings Issues and Policy Committee with an update on the NAR Statewide Data Sharing Presidential Advisory Group.
Meanwhile, many NEFAR officers and members enjoyed listening in on sessions conducted by NAR’s economists, legislative staff, and many committee chairmen. They also cheered on the nine NEFAR members who qualified to walk the stage during the national association’s RPAC Hall of Fame ceremony.
RPAC Hall of Fame recognition honored REALTORS® who have made significant lifetime donations to the REALTOR® Political Action Committee through the years up until 2021. Six NEFAR REALTORS® were recognized as new Hall of Famers by contributing $25,000 over the years. They included Dee Bumbarger of Buck & Buck Realty; Diana Galavis of Watson Realty; Kim Knapp of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty; NEFAR Accounting Systems Manager Celeta McClamma; Wanda McReynolds of EXIT Real Estate Gallery; and Gonzalo Mejia of Watson Realty.
Three other NEFAR members have made such significant contributions they were able to move up to the next level. Included in this lofty group are William A. Watson, Jr., founder of Watson Realty, who joined the $200,000 level; Millie Kanyar of Watson Realty and NEFAR CEO William Glenn East moved from the $50,000 level to the $75,000 level.
Other NEFAR Hall of Famers who previous were inducted into the prestigious club in past years at their current levels are Ron Stephan, former CEO of realMLS, at the $50,000 level, and Cathy Whatley of Buck & Buck Realty at the $100,000 level, and 11 who reside at the $25,000 level – Wendall Davis of PMI Davis Realty; Beverly Garvin of Watson Realty; Russell Grooms of Watson Realty; Selby Kaiser of The Legends of Real Estate; Audrey Lackie of The Legends of Real Estate; Linda McMorrow of The Legends of Real Estate; Holly McMurry of The Legends of Real Estate; Roy Orren of Discover Realty Inc.; and Linda Sherrer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
REALTORS® from across the state of Florida had the opportunity to meet with Florida Junior Senator Rick Scott during the NAR Legislative meetings on May 3. “Senator Scott welcomed us and was grateful to be able to meet in-person to hear our issues,” said Rosener, who noted that he and Millie Kanyar, a REALTOR® with Watson Realty Corp., represented NEFAR at the meeting. “He was supportive of our legislative priorities to address America’s affordable housing shortage by improving access to home ownership, as well as our industry’s desire to increase housing inventory and encourage adaptive reuse of commercial properties,” Rosener said.
Early in the week, NAR’s Council of Multiple Listing Service hosted MLS Roundtables. Nicole Jensen, CEO of realMLS, facilitated one of the rooms and several realMLS and NEFAR members participated in the MLS centric discussions.
Jensen also presented the NAR Multiple Listings Issues & Policy Committee with an update on the NAR Statewide Data Sharing Presidential Advisory Group (PAG). As the chair of PAG, she has participated in regular meetings with the group since mid-2021. Jensen was appointed to her position by 2021 NAR President Charlie Oppler and asked to study MLS data sharing beyond the local MLS.
“2022 NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith has supported the PAG and asked it to continue its work into 2022,” Jensen said. “A final PAG report will be provided to the NAR Leadership Team in Orlando at the NAR Convention & Expo.”
Throughout the week, the legislative meetings focused on several priority issues including the need for more housing inventory, fair housing, and making members and government officials aware of NAR’s research and resources regarding housing issues.
Through its inventory and supply initiative, NAR is concerned about addressing America’s affordable housing shortage by supporting four pieces of legislation on a national level – the Housing Supply and Affordability Act, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, the GREATER Revitalization of Shopping Centers Act, and the Revitalizing Downtowns Act. Through these programs, the national organization wants to improve access to homeownership, increase housing inventory, and encourage the adaptive reuse of commercial properties.
The bipartisan Housing Supply and Affordability Act will create a Local Housing Policy Grant program for cities, states, tribes, and regional associations to enact pro-housing policies at the local level.
The bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA) offers tax credits to attract private investment for building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes thereby creating a pathway to neighborhood stability through sustainable homeownership. The NHIA will expand homeownership opportunities and provide a powerful incentive to build and rehabilitate 500,000 homes for low- and moderate-income homeowners over the next decade. The NHIA is intended to fill the gap in areas where it is often more expensive to develop or rehabilitate than appraisal values will support.
The GREATER Revitalization of Shopping Centers Act is another important piece of legislation that NAR supports. It creates a grant within the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program to incentivize public and private investment in abandoned and underutilized shopping malls. The Section 108 Program provides communities with a source of low-cost, long-term financing for economic and community development projects, which has proven effective in drawing additional investments into projects. This legislation would provide an additional grant of up to $5 million to communities with qualifying shopping centers to repurpose them for a range of uses, including the development of affordable housing.
The Revitalizing Downtowns Act creates a Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties.
To ensure fair housing for all, NAR is supporting the Housing Fairness Act, which would reauthorize and increase funding for HUD fair-housing testing and enforcement programs.
Meanwhile, the NAR Research Department has developed several products to help inform both REALTORS® and Members of Congress. NAR economists produce and analyze a wide range of data converting it into useful reports about different aspects of the real estate industry. Included among these valuable research reports that can influence policymaking are:
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