RENO — Elected leaders of the Nevada Association of Realtors (NVAR) and the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR) were among an estimated 15,000 REALTORS who trekked to Washington, D.C., last week for a rally at the Washington Monument to promote homeownership while attending the National Association of Realtors 2012 Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo.
NVAR President Blane Johnson, who lives in northern Nevada, and GLVAR President Kolleen Kelley, from southern Nevada, were among nearly 50 Nevadans who rallied on behalf of homeowners, real estate investors and aspiring homeowners.They also met with members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation to discuss key issues.
Highlighting this year’s meetings, the Rally to Protect the American Dream took place on May 17. Realtorsfrom every state in the country joined invited members of Congress to highlight the important role housing plays in the American economy and to advocate for policies that support homeownership. Speakers included Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.), and Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D-Md.)
“The realtor rally was a great experience,” Johnson said.”It was our way of letting Americans know that homeownership impacts families, communities, small businesses and the nation’s economy in a meaningful way. It’s an important part of the American dream, especially here in Nevada, and it needs to be promoted and preserved.
“Realtors have always been advocates for homeownership,” Kelley said. “We want to make sure that people who want to own a home and those who can afford to invest in real estate will continue to have the opportunity to do just that.
The year’s NAR meetings focused on a number of pressing issues that affect the real estate market in Nevada and nationwide, as well as the nation’s 75 million homeowners and aspiring homeowners. Sessions focused on the need for affordable financing, secondary mortgage market reform and economic issues related to residential and commercial real estate.
While in Washington, D.C., Johnson and Kelley met lawmakers on Capitol Hill to address issues such as the need to streamline short sales, preserve tax benefits for homeownership and bolster liquidity in the commercial market.
They also joined other NAR members in urging lawmakers to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which is currently set to expire on May 31.
Throughout the week, realtors participated in sessions with several government officials and industry experts, including representatives from the Federal Housing Administration, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Federal Reserve Board, National Economic Council, and the U.S. Treasury.
During the meetings, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, leading Democratic strategist Celinda Lake and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling participated in a panel discussion about how the 2012 elections could change the real estate industry.
Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke spoke during the joint Real Estate Services and Regulatory Issues Forum — Prescriptions for Housing Recovery. Duke discussed how a full housing market recovery could not happen until policymakers move forward with the difficult decisions regarding that future of the mortgage market.
A panel of industry experts and representatives including FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco, FHA Commissioner and Assistant Secretary for Housing Carol Galante, Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi and Wharton School of Business Professor Susan Watcher discussed housing policy, specifically the mortgage interest deduction, government-sponsored entities and the government’s role in promoting homeownership.