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CENTURY 21 Real Estate recently announced that approximately 500 independent brokers and agents affiliated with the CENTURY 21® System recently took to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of the nation’s home buyers and sellers. CENTURY 21 took this leadership position to further establish strong relationships with congressional leaders and build the strength of its collective voice as the franchisor with the largest global network of offices in the residential real estate industry.

“Our voice on behalf of our nation’s real estate owners and consumers is one of the most powerful tools we have,” says Rick Davidson, president & CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC, who, having been on the Hill numerous other times, led the C21® contingent in its efforts to drive home the important issues facing the industry. “This was a terrific opportunity to support the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and to build on the strength of our own voice with legislators by offering ways to create a more stable, efficient and attainable housing market for all Americans.”

A primary issue for CENTURY 21 System members was to urge Congress to act quickly on HR 1002, introduced by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Charles Rangel (D-NY) and S 351, introduced by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). These bills would retroactively extend the provisions of The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 to cover a period from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016. Among the provisions included in the “extenders” package are:

·       Tax relief for mortgage debt forgiveness

·       15-year cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements

·       Election to expense certain qualified real property

·       Deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings

“These bills will provide continued tax relief where Americans are forced to walk away from their homes and under current legislation are required to pay taxes on the mortgage debt forgiven,” explains Davidson. “Every day we fail to act, more and more distressed homeowners may choose to default into foreclosure simply abandon their property which in turn destabilizes communities, drives down values in surrounding neighborhoods and will help slow the still-fragile housing market recovery.”

While on Capitol Hill, CENTURY 21 System members participated in 275 Congressional meetings with the elected officials from their districts. At those meetings, C21 brokers urged Congress to consider two other issues of concern, including:

  • Mortgage Interest Deductibility—CENTURY 21 System members asked Congress to preserve the current Mortgage Interest Deductibility (MID) and consider indexing it for inflation, noting NAR research that shows changes to the MID could critically erode home prices and the value of homes by as much as 15 percent or some $2.5 trillion nationwide, and that MID has not been indexed for inflation since its inception in 1987.
  • Three Percent (3 percent) Cap on Fees and Points – As a result of a problematic definition in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, many affiliated loans, particularly those made to low-and moderate-income borrowers, would not qualify as qualified mortgages and would be unlikely to be made, or would only be available at higher rates, due to heightened liability risks. CENTURY 21 System members encouraged legislators to amend the “Truth in Lending Act” so to improve upon the definitions provided for points and fees in connection with a mortgage transaction.

“Supporting MID and amending the 3 percent language is crucial for our nation’s homeowners and those who aspire to secure the American Dream,” added Davidson. “Real estate’s impact on the economy is significant, and we need to continue moving this current housing recovery forward.”

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