Every year thousands of Realtors from across the country gather in Washington D.C. for the Annual Legislative Meetings hosted by the National Association of Realtors. As the President-Elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors for 2018, I was able to attend and represent our customers, homeowners and property owners from across the state of Minnesota.
Politicians generally have one thing in common no matter what side of the aisle they sit on…they understand how important housing is to our overall economy.
Our goal when we met with our government leaders was to help them understand the ramifications of any new legislation and how it affects Minnesota homeowners. I was able to meet with Senator Tina Smith, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Representative Jason Lewis, Representative Erik Paulsen, Representative Tom Emmer and Representative Rick Nolan.
This year the meeting had 4 main talking points:
Equal access to housing.
2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Regardless of race, religion or views, we all deserve an opportunity to own a home. In terms of minority homeownership, Minneapolis ranks last when compared with the 100 largest metro areas across the country. We focused our discussions on how we as Minnesotans can help to make homeownership more affordable for all.
Supporting Net Neutrality.
The vast majority of Realtors believe that everyone should have the same level of access to the internet. If we were to let big business control via pricing and other measures who has fast, slow or first access to information, it would hurt our homeowners, small businesses, and local real estate markets.
While we were there meeting with Senator Klobuchar, Congress passed the Net Neutrality legislation promising an equal playing field for all of us.
National Flood Insurance Reform.
Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and rivers. Many of our property owners are required by their lenders to have flood insurance, especially if they live in a known flood plain. Currently, our National Government offers this program to homeowners due to the high costs charged by insurance companies providing this type of insurance. If this program were to go away it would affect 40,000 sales/closing per month across the country, with many of those affected being Minnesota residents.
*As of today, July 31, 2018 – the Senate and the House have extended this bill until the end of November. 125,000 Realtors wrote letters to their representatives and helped make this possible but reform still needs to take place. Stay tuned.
While many are still trying to figure out how the tax reform of 2017 is going to affect us in 2018, one thing is clear: Under current law, if you’re single or married you can receive a $10,000 deduction on state and local taxes by itemizing. This equates to a marriage penalty. We believe that the deduction should be raised to $20,000 if you’re married or $10,000 each.
This conference equated to a week spent networking with other agents from across the country, sharing best practice ideas and learning from some of the best minds in the world on where we think our real estate market is heading in the immediate future as well as the long term. I am happy to report a perspective shared by our broker, no one at the conference is predicting a bubble or major losses in the housing market. Our annual appreciation has been hovering at 5% to 7% in the last few years which is sustainable and shows yet another reason why real estate is one of the greatest investments you can make.
Realtor / Direct of Agent Development
President-Elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors