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Monday, March 3, 2014

With the General Assembly session winding down, our bills are doing great -- and Heidi has the latest update, including an interview with Delegate Tag Greason, sponsor of our first-time homebuyers savings plan bill.

Monday, March 3, 2014

In “Modernizing Our Housing Finance System” — part of our Pieces of Home Year-End Home Sales Report — Virginia Senator Mark Warner explains how he, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), and the other members of the Senate Banking Committee have introduced a “responsible and bipartisan blueprint to reform the federal government’s role in mortgage finance to make sure that taxpayers will not be asked once again to be the first responders.”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Our signature legislation for the 2014 session (which had passed the House of Delegates 99-0 on February 11), passed the Senate 39-1 and will go to Governor McAuliffe for his signature.

It was a close call after some members of the Senate tried to kill the First Time Homebuyer Savings Plans bill. VAR’s legislative advocacy staff put out an urgent call for action, and nearly 700 Virginia REALTORS® responded. Combined with some one-on-one visits and phone calls, our all-hands-on-deck effort made a huge difference in the outcome.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Neat little infographic from the folks at Keeping Current Matters about what professions have the highest percentage of home ownership.

Not surprisingly, real estate agents were right there at the top — just behind farmers.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether and how to regulate renovation and remodeling activities in public and commercial buildings. To gather data, the agency is planning to send out a nationwide questionnaire to commercial-building owners, contractors, and tenants to ask about their renovation and remodeling practices.

On Feb. 4, the broad-based Commercial Properties Coalition — of which NAR is a member — sent a comment letter to the EPA regarding the proposed survey. It cautioned that that proposed survey appears to assume that lead paint hazards exist in commercial buildings.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a draft tax reform plan today, and the National Association of Realtors® was quick to oppose it.

The plan called for limits on both the mortgage interest and capital gains deductions, as well as the repeal of deductions for state and local property taxes.

In a statement, NAR President Steve Brown wrote:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Congrats to the Richmond Association of REALTORS® which just saw its (successful) campaign to help fund area public schools featured on NAR’s Realtor® Action Center as a “Realtor® Party Success Story.

Quoth:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fannie Mae is offering to give some buyers of its REO properties a 3.5 percent cash incentive, but those buyers have to act quickly.

The company’s First Look program is designed to reduce its stock of properties by offering the 3.5 percent cash, which can be used toward closing costs — and is particularly helpful for first-time buyers.

Who’s eligible for the cash?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How did prices change in 2013 compared to the year before? Senior Associate C. Theodore Koeble, Ph.D., and Associate Mel Jones, of the Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech looked at the numbers for Pieces of Home:

Median sale price in 2013 was higher than in 2012 in every region of Virginia except Southside.

Southside Virginia continues to experience economic decline, reducing the demand for housing in the region. In every other region, the housing market continues to recover and prices continue to rise as a part of the market recovery.