With the presidential election just four days away, speculation is running high at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference and Expo on how the outcome could affect housing policy.
Jim Parrott, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and owner of Falling Creek Advisors, said that while it’s hard to determine exactly what housing policy will look like under the next administration, the current challenges facing housing policy are clear.
Parrott cited access to credit as one significant concern, noting that credit overlays have led to a point where borrowers who qualify for Federal Housing Administration loan might not be able to find a lender willing to give them one.
Brian Montgomery, vice chairman and co-founder of The Collingwood Group LLC, joined Parrott on the panel. He pointed to the rise of so-called non-bank lenders, noting that their growing domination of the FHA lending space. Montgomery cited concerns over the False Claims Act, among others, as reasons why larger institutions like Chase Bank and Bank of America have set aside their FHA lending practice.
Over the past year, the National Association of Realtors® has worked closely with FHA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal agencies to support policies that promote homeownership. NAR specifically worked with federal agencies on a range of issues including appraisals, condo regulations, and updates to the Know Before You Owe rule.
Parrott and Montgomery’s comments were followed by a deeper discussion of regulatory issues facing real estate professionals, including those related to RESPA, the recent PHH decision and others.
Jennifer Keas, a partner at Foley and Lardner LLP, joined Phil Schulman of Mayer Brown to give their take on the regulatory road ahead. According to Keas, one area Realtors® and other real estate professionals need to consider is social media policy as it pertains to RESPA.
She noted that while RESPA compliance in an offline environment typically gets a lot of attention, online activity must comply with RESPA rules as well. Keas encouraged those in attendance to remain vigilant as they market themselves, generate leads, and spread the word about their business on social media.
Phil Schulman turned his attention to the PHH decision and the future of the CFPB. He told the audience that while the CFPB’s Director structure was declared unconstitutional, it will likely continue to operate uninterrupted in the near future. Schulman advised that Realtors® keep their focus on working with the CFPB to improve regulations of interest to housing, consumers and the business of real estate.
Tom Salomone, NAR President and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, said his organization will continue to work with federal agencies to improve the landscape for consumers and aid its membership in providing expert service to their clients.
“Realtors® know that what happens in Washington can have a real affect across the country, and the business of buying and selling homes is no exception,” said Salomone. “Our job is to keep homeownership on the front-burner, and we aren’t going to let up in 2017.”
The event was moderated by NAR 2016 Vice President Michael Labout, and took place as part of the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo this week in Orlando, Florida.