WASHINGTON, — President Donald Trump addressed a room of nearly 2,000 Realtors® at the National Association of Realtors®‘ Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo on Friday afternoon. The President highlighted the value of Realtors® in the housing industry while addressing administration priorities and deregulation efforts that could potentially benefit the real estate market.
“I’m honored to be here with the hardworking men and women who help millions of families live the American Dream – the incredible members of the National Association of Realtors®,” President Trump said. “Homeownership and what you do as Realtors® is a part of Americana. You work hard, you love people, you love this country.”
President Trump said deregulation and economic growth have helped support the industry and improved business prospects for many of those in attendance Friday. “Americans buy homes for the ones you love the most,” he said. “This is a time of extraordinary opportunity for our country. There’s truly never been a better time, in my opinion, to build and break ground in America.”
The President touched on a host of other Realtor® priorities, including association health plans, the Waters of the U.S. rule, opportunity zones and housing finance reform. He invited NAR member Bob Turner and Nevada Association of Realtors® CEO Teresa McKee on stage to discuss specific policy efforts, and also highlighted Realtors®‘ connection and contribution to the overall U.S. economy.
“I’m here today because Realtors® play a special role in the economy,” President Trump said. “When a young family needs room to grow; when a new job sparks a new adventure in a brand new beautiful city; when parents want to find the right neighborhood and schools for their children, Americans puts our trust in you, our great Realtors®.”
NAR President John Smaby opened the event, introducing America’s 45th President to the crowd at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
“The National Association of Realtors® thanks President Trump for his participation at our annual Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo,” Smaby said. “I’m so proud of the thousands of Realtors® who travelled to our nation’s capital this week to share our story with legislators and policymakers about the many ways Realtors® help build vibrant communities accessible to all. Our Realtor® voice has been heard on Capitol Hill and today our story reaches the Oval Office. I can think of no better way to wrap up our time in Washington than by sharing the Realtor® story with our nation’s Chief Executive.”
2019 Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
In addition to the President’s visit Friday, the 2019 Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo welcomed 9,000 Realtors® to the nation’s capital to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and speak with various administration officials. In total, 486 NAR Federal Policy Coordinators met with Members of Congress, including all House and Senate Leadership on both the Republican and Democratic sides.
Realtors® heard from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria at NAR’s Regulatory Issues Forum. The former NAR economist spoke about his vision for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with a host of other policy issues in front of him at the FHFA. Specifically, he outlined his priorities for ensuring the GSEs can appropriately move away from conservatorship.
“I would not feel comfortable having [the GSEs] exit conservatorship until I’m comfortable knowing that we never go back to the old days, pre-crisis, and that we have a Fannie and Freddie that are responsible, good corporate citizens that don’t have the arrogance we saw before the crisis,” he said.
Following Calabria’s remarks, Realtors® spent time highlighting its housing finance reform plan, which proposes a utility model to ensure a reliable and affordable source of mortgage capital for Americans going forward.
“I commend NAR for taking on this complex issue,” Bethany McLean, forum moderator, journalist and author, told the audience in regards to the Realtors®‘ vision for housing finance reform. “[NAR’s] plan is the smartest one we’ve heard yet.”
Earlier in the conference, NAR heard from former Governors Terry McAuliffe and Haley Barbour in a discussion centered around state and local policies and their impact on regional real estate markets. The Governors focused on how the right policies can help soften affordability and inventory concerns impacting much of the nation.
Governor Barbour reiterated concerns surrounding affordable housing shortages and underscored that state and local governments must take the lead in promoting policies that create opportunities for aspiring homeowners. “The idea that the federal government’s solution is going to work everywhere is a crazy idea. The answer to this is in state and local government,” he said.
Governor McAuliffe was also asked how Realtors® can ensure the value of real estate resonates in today’s political environment. “The real estate business is so powerful in politics because it touches everybody’s lives,” Virginia’s 72ndGovernor said. “Everything we do somehow has a connection to the real estate industry.”
For more information about the Realtors®’ 2019 Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo visit www.legislative.realtor/. Next year’s conference will be held May 11-16 in D.C.’s Woodley Park neighborhood.
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.