As Election Season Heats Up, REALTORS Remain Committed to Protecting Homeownership
REALTORS® have always been politically engaged, whether they are making their voices heard in the voting booth or getting involved on a grassroots level. An overwhelming majority of NAR members – 93 percent – voted in the last national election, and earlier this year nearly 14,000 of them gathered in our nation’s capital for the Rally to Protect the American Dream. Through the years, the National Association of REALTORS® has remained vocal and active in protecting the rights of the nation’s 75 million homeowners and those who aspire to homeownership.
During this election season, REALTORS® aren’t the only ones defending homeownership. Housing is a top-of-mind issue for voters. In a recent national survey by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 62 percent of voters rated the importance of homeownership as a 10 on a scale of 0–10. A majority of respondents also believed that increasing homeownership should be a national priority.
“Issues like the mortgage interest deduction, foreclosures and short sales, and access to affordable financing don’t just affect people who own a home – homeownership shapes communities and strengthens the nation’s economy,” said Joanne Zettl, Chair-Elect for the Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® (CABOR). “As the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, REALTORS® want our country’s current and future leaders to understand the vital role real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of this nation.”
The Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® says housing is a key driver in our national economy. Housing accounts for more than 15 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and home sales in this country generate more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year. And for every two homes sold, a job is created.
“The housing market plays an essential role in the future of our nation’s economy,” said Zettl. “While the housing market and the economy are continuing to recover we need to focus on doing no harm to the market and ensuring public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership.”
Another housing issue REALTORS® are fighting to protect is the mortgage interest deduction. This important benefit allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage during tax time, which can reduce the carrying costs of owning a home and provide significant savings for many American families.
“The mortgage interest deduction makes a big difference for middle- and lower income families,” said Zettl. “Sixty-five percent of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year. Reducing or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would hinder the fragile housing market, as well as the broader economy, and Realtors® remain strongly committed to ensuring that all homeowners continue to receive this important benefit.”
“The decision to become a homeowner is a very personal one, but anyone who is willing and able to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream,” said Zettl. “As the leading advocate for homeownership, REALTORS® will continue to urge lawmakers to make sure housing and homeownership issues are a top priority in this year’s important election.”