This year, I’m very honored to be chairing the Federal Committee of the California Association of Realtors. This committee engages with federal laws as they relate to California’s real estate industry and market. Each year, Committee and C.A.R. leadership travel to Washington to meet with lawmakers and regulators. This will be my second year traveling with this group.
It’s been a highlight of my career to be able to meet with lawmakers to share stories and examples of how laws and policies created so far away impact our difficult housing market. This year, much of our advocacy focused on securing continued and better availability of safe and affordable home purchase loans and fighting policies that result in fewer affordable single family homes available for first time buyers.
Last year, one big focus was tax reform. Our concerns included possible tax increases for homeowners in high cost/tax states like California and the impact of reducing the tax incentives to purchase and own homes. Although California Realtors were very active in opposing some of the changes that stood to raise taxes on California homeowners, Congress ultimately approved The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Here is a chart that compares the homeownership provisions of the new law to the previous one: Key Tax Code Changes for Homeowners
Even though it’s not always easy to take time to travel when there is so much work to do here, I feel that it’s critical that people making laws that impact homeownership have input from those of us working directly with home buyers and sellers. I grew up in a working and middle class community where the overwhelming majority of people owned their homes and I saw how empowering homeownership is. It’s really hard to see how difficult the Bay Area market is for millennials and first time buyers, particularly those who aren’t able to count on significant help from family. So many hard working, long-time residents are finding themselves priced out of homes anywhere near where they work. For these reasons, I’m committed to continuing to do what I can to help expand homeownership opportunities in my community.