More than 9,000 Realtors gathered in Washington, D.C., last week during the Realtors 2013 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Louis Vinci, President of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, was among them. Vinci and fellow Realtors from across the country attended meetings and visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill to address critical housing and private property issues.
This year's meetings centered on a number of pressing issues affecting real estate markets and the nation's more than 75 million current and aspiring homeowners. Various sessions focused on mortgage finance reform, tax laws for homeownership and real estate investment, and keeping the Federal Housing Administration single-family mortgage program affordable.
"Realtors know that homeownership is an investment in your future," Vinci said. "It's also an investment in our country, because housing plays a critical role in the long- and short-term health of this nation. As the leading advocate for private property rights, homeownership and housing issues, Realtors are committed to keeping housing first in the halls of Congress and in their communities across the country.
While in Washington, Realtors met with Congressman Chris Collins; Congressman Brian Higgins' assistant; and senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Capitol Hill to address critical issues related to today's housing market - particularly maintaining the current mortgage interest deduction, and the need to preserve the mission and purpose of the FHA (to protect homeownership tax policies and urge comprehensive restructuring of the secondary mortgage market).
"Realtors gathered on Capitol Hill to meet with legislators about the issues that matter most to Realtor' businesses, communities and the consumers they represent," said John Leonardi, BNAR CEO. "It is imperative that we continue to advocate for public policies that promote sustainable homeownership and help move the real estate market forward toward a full recovery."
Throughout the week, Realtors participated in sessions with a number of government officials and industry experts who addressed many of today's critical housing, mortgage finance and real estate investment issues. Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spoke about the agency's efforts to help the housing market recover from the financial crisis. Congressman Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and commentator and analyst Jeffrey Birnbaum shared their perspectives on current issues being debated in Congress and implications for the real estate industry.
Realtors also heard from executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who discussed the impact of regulations on mortgage finance markets, as well as valuation problems with Fannie and Freddie short sales and the role of appraisal management companies in the appraisal process. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shared his latest outlook for the economy and residential and commercial markets, and expects positive market improvements throughout 2013.
Leonardi also had the chance to explore the latest industry innovations and stay up-to-date on how new products are transforming the real estate business, as more than 125 exhibitors showcased the newest real estate products and services for the industry during the trade expo.
The Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS is one of more than 1,600 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Locally, BNAR is the "Voice for Real Estate" in the Buffalo Niagara area.