Browse Tag: National Flood Insurance Program

NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong Podcast: 2013 Look-Ahead


National Assciation of Realtors, Washington, D...
NAR Offices, Washington DC

NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong’s 2013 look-ahead podcast summarizes 2012’s achievements for commercial REALTORS® while at the same time looks into the tea leaves for 2013.  The highlights:

  • Amid modestly improving commercial market fundamental, NAR expects vacancy rates to decline in all 4 major commercial sectors – office, retail, industrial, multifamily.
  • In June 2012 NAR was able to successfully gain a full year extension for the National Flood Insurance Program. This program provides access to affordable flood insurance for millions including many business owners.  It’s the culmination of a successful multiyear campaign, and means business owners will continue to have acces to the flood insurance and not be forced to take their chances in the virtually nonexistent private flood insurance market.
  • NAR made significant progress on lease accounting issues in 2012 by holding back a rules proposal from the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the IASB.  The proposed rules would have forced the frontloading of assets and liabilities arising from lease contreacts. Ultimately, this would hurt the bottom line of many businesses, especially in commercial real estate. NAR  built a strong coalition of  other industrial organizations and we got many members of Congress to contact FASB and IASB to ask them to reconsider their proposal.  Because of NAR’s actions the two accounting boards listened and withdrew the proposed rules.  “We plan to keep ourselves in the middle of the conversation on lease accounting rules as it takes place,” said Bill
  • Because tight lending has been hurting the CRE market. NAR has been working vigorously to regularly meet on Capitol Hill to reiterate the need to increase liquidity in the marketplace  NAR continues to beat the drum and encourage new sources of capital. One example is increased lending by credit unions. Friend to NAR,  Senator Mark Udall (CO) introduced a bill will increase the cap on credit union member business lending from 12.25% to 27.5% percent of total assets for well-capitalized credit unions. NAR will continue to urge the switft passage of this legislation.

What can NAR commercial members expect in 2013? NAR action in the following areas and more:

  • Bill said lease accounting rules could be taken up again in this year’s second quarter.
  • Congress may also vote to extend the Transaction Account Guarnatee Program for two years.  This program will help to increase liquidity available to community banks.

2012 also brought exciting new member benefits, said Bill.

  • In November,  we saw the launch of the RPR Commercial application.  “I truly believe it is a valuable benefit for our members. It gives REALTORS and only REALTORS an edge when viewing and searching properties, viewing property detail, analyzing markets and creating reports for your clients all in one place. I urge you to see it all for yourself at blog.narrrpr.com/commercial.”
  • 2012 marked NAR’s new partnership with Xceligent “This will provide a suite of commercial real estate info services and preferred pricing exclusively for NAR members.  For the first time, REALTORS in the commercial sector will have a prowerful alternative to when it comes to how you research and market properties.
  • 2012 saw the merger of the REALTORS Federal Credit Union with Northwest Federal Credit Union. They offer vitral banking, plus access to 4600 brick-and-mortar service centers and thousands of  ATMs nationwide.  They have money to lend at extremely comepetitive rates for owner-occupied CRE.  To join online today go to realtorsfcu.org

 

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Commercial Podcast: Flood Insurance Program Renewal Passes In DC

capitol hill

 

In the latest Commercial Podcast from NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong, news comes of the passage on Capitol Hill of the National Flood Insurance Program.  You can hear the cast, called “Flood Insurance Win” in its entirety here.

On June 29th, the Senate passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Bill, and President Obama signed it into law on July 9th. This is a  culmination of years of steady effort by NAR members and its legislative team, including  a final push at NAR’s Midyear Legislative Meetings and REALTOR® Rally.

The years of temporary extensions to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were by definition unable to offer protections to commercial property markets, and in fact led twice to shutdowns, including one that stalled more than 40,000 real estate transactions requiring flood insurance for financing in June 2010 alone.

Reauthorization of NFIP means stakeholders will no longer need to take their chances in the virtually nonexistent market for private flood insurance. There are 21,000 communities across the US that require flood insurance as a financing prerequisite, and the passage of the bill ensure that 5.6 million business and home owners will have access to the coverage they need.

The bill addresses not just the coverage but also sources of the problem in the market.  It has provisions for more accurate flood plain mapping so that the industry can better target where flood insurance is required and where it is not.  Also included are provisions for a more streamlined process for challenging the accuracy of the flood plain map in use by the federal government in a business’s area of operation.

Biggert-Waters ensures that taxpayers will spend less for federal assistance for flood disasters over the long run.  You can be sure NAR will carefully monitor the program’s new implementation and be on the lookout for reforms as needed to protect commercial property owners.

Listen to Bill’s podcast here.

 

(Photo credit: Kynan Tait)

 

 

 

Flood Insurance, Small Business Credit Help And More: NAR Commercial 2011 Legislative Wrap Up

Washington dc

NAR 2012 Treasurer Bill Armstrong’s podcast wrapping up the year in legislative issues for REALTORS® touched on a series of important issues affecting commercial real estate. Podcasts are great (I like to listen in the car), but when the issues include far-reaching legislation, it’s important to break out and take a closer look at the content in text – to make it visible to readers and in the search engines.  So let’s break it out:

  • NFIP Flood Insurance:  The House and Senate recently signed off on a second short-term extension (through December 16th 2011) to the National Flood Insurance Program.  This benefits both commercial and residential real estate practitioners.  That means there’s been no lapse in the NFIP authority to issue flood insurance.  Bill also mentioned that NAR will continue to urge Congress to pass a five-year extension, and reminded REALTORS to respond to NAR’s call to action in support of the NFIP extension at realtoractioncenter.com 
  • FHA Mortgage Loan Limits: Congress restored a two year extension to FHA mortgage loan limits. Through 2013, the limit stands at 125% of local area median home prices. “While that doesn’t impact commercial real estate directly, our industry depends on a thriving workforce and housing market, so this is an issue that all commercial practitioners will benefit from”, said Armstrong.
  • Credit Union Member Business Lending Bill: The House Financial Services Subcommittee held a hearing after NAR’s support for this idea.    This bill impacts commercial practtcioners by raising the cap on credit union member business lending lending from 12.15% to 27.5% of total assets (for well-capitalized credit unions). This allows more capital to be available to struggling small businesses occupying commercial buildings. “NAR will continue to engage Congress and other stakeholders to push for a raise of the business lending cap for credit unions,” said Armstrong.
  • As part of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, NAR was able to help create a new commercial refinance program implemented by the Small Business Administration.  This allows small businesses to refinance certain owner-occupied commercial real esatte loans.  The new refi option was initially restricted to small businesses with CRE mortages maturing by end of 2012.  After extensive NAR lobbying, small business borrowers will be allowed to refinance certain CRE loans maturing after that date.
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