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New NAR president optimistic about future

SAN DIEGO – Nov. 16, 2015 – Housing prices have roared back and confidence in the marketplace has followed, said 2016 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Tom Salomone at a news conference during the 2015 Realtors Conference & Expo.
In 2003, Salomone served as Florida Realtors president. Salomone officially takes office as NAR’s president today: Monday, Nov. 16.
“At the same time, job growth allows more buyers to enter the market, and rising home equity is giving homeowners the confidence to sell. Based on that optimistic outlook, real estate markets may have finally transitioned from recovery to stabilization,” Salomone said.
“The economy and real estate market are back in a major way,” said Salomone, broker/owner of Real Estate II in Coral Springs, Florida. “To keep that momentum going, Realtors remain focused on advancing initiatives that drive further market growth and bring benefits to consumers, as well as on the legislative and regulatory policies that affect real estate.”
While markets have come a long way since the downturn, some challenges remain. Low inventories of for-sale homes combined with rising rents and home prices make it difficult for many would-be buyers to save for a downpayment and purchase a home. Newly released data from NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows the share of first-time buyers declined for the third consecutive year to its lowest point in nearly three decades.
Since millennials account for most first-time buyers and nearly one-third of recent buyers, NAR wants to ensure that both first-time and repeat buyers who have the means to responsibly purchase a home can achieve that goal.
As part of that, Salomone thanked the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ed Golding for announcing yesterday to a crowd of Realtors and guests that it would make immediate changes to overly restrictive policies holding back condominium sales, since condos are often the most affordable homeownership option for many buyers. The condo mortgage problem has been especially problematic in Florida.
Another 2016 NAR priority: Reaching out to buyers about the value of homeownership and the importance of having a Realtor at their side throughout the transaction. To that end, NAR is launching a new creative direction for its consumer advertising campaign. “Our goal is to make certain that when consumers think about real estate, they think Realtor,” said Salomone.
Realtors will also continue to work closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ensure new loan documents and rules that rolled out on Oct. 3 are implemented with as little interruption to buyers as possible.
Despite 43 consecutive months of year-over-year home price gains, some families still remain underwater on their homes. NAR continues to push for a renewal of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which expired at the end of 2014. The Act waives income tax on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale or a workout for principal residences.
Commercial real estate markets could also be dramatically impacted if Congress alters or repeals current like-kind exchange tax rules, which are an important vehicle for investors disposing of and acquiring properties and support the nation’s financial growth, job creation and economy. NAR hopes that Congress will oppose any proposal that would repeal like-kind exchanges.
Salomone also emphasized his commitment to service and giving back to communities. NAR will soon kick off a relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of America, whose structure of local clubs and governance mirrors that of the Realtor organization. Members and associations across the country will have an opportunity to join in.
“Realtors are more than just business people, and our work doesn’t stop at the closing table. We are committed members of our communities,” Salomone said. “I’m encouraging all one million of our members to get involved. I’ve already seen Realtors stepping up with their time and financial support to give back. It’s great to see.”
© 2015 Florida Realtors®
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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