The GAD Top Three | May 1st, 2023

The GAD Top Three | May 1st, 2023 slideshow item

NAR Releases 2023 Legislative Priorities, Recap of the 35th Annual Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Workshop Series, and NAR Advocates for FHFA to Maintain Affordability for All Homebuyers

Leading off Michael Kent’s favorite part of the Aspire Weekly, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has just released their Legislative Priorities for 2023 just in time for the 2023 REALTORS Legislative Meetings next week, a quick(ish) recap of the 35th Annual Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Workshop Series, and NAR Advocates for FHFA to maintain affordability for all homebuyers by not imposing new fees on borrowers.

1. NAR Releases 2023 Legislative Priorities

Check out a detailed breakdown and FAQs on the 2023 REALTOR Legislative Priorities HERE.

2. Recap of the 35th Annual Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Workshop Series

This past week I (Connor Miller), along with Aspire North REALTORS Board President, Stephanie Koppe, and Board member, Doug Swartz, attended the virtual 35th Annual Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Workshop Series event on Thursday, April 27th. Below is my quick recap of the event:

  • 9 am to 10 am - Welcome and Plenary featuring Dr. Andre Perry, Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro
    • Dr. Andre Perry gave background on the devaluation that Black homes experience on average in America before sharing The Black Progress Index, which examines the social factors that influence Black well-being. The top 3 positive factors in a community that The Black Progress Index found for Black life expectancy were in order:
      • Percent of black adults who are foreign-born (Dr. Andre explained this is likely due to the fact that many black adults to migrate to America are pretty wealthy)
      • Black median household income
      • Black homeownership rate
    • Dr. Andre stated that he believes investing in black homeownership and black businesses is the low-hanging fruit to improve Black life expectancy.
  • 10 am to 12:15 pm - Back-to-Back Workshops in Housing, Health, and the Environment
    • Workshop 1: Social Determinants of Health defined as “the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affects a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
      • A study was presented by the University of Michigan Housing Solutions for Health Equity on the health impacts of previously ”residential security maps,” including redlined districts from the 1930s. Their study found that even to this day there are significant social determinants of health that are negatively affected by being in a “redlined” district verse a “green” district.
      • A second presenter shared that poor housing quality is the most consistent and strongest predictor of emotional and behavioral problems in low-income children and youth among housing characteristics studied. They advocated for health justice where all persons have equal ability to be free from social determinants that jeopardize their health and well-being.
    • Workshop 2: Health, Heat & Habitat, a presentation on the social costs of increased temperature and how they affect our health and well-being
      • Dr. Vivek Shandas presented maps of studies that have been done on the impact of heat waves on cities and their disproportionate impact on redlined communities. He stressed the importance of correcting the high heat spots on these maps as they are very strong indicators of where deaths have or will occur as a result of heat waves in communities.
      • Representatives of the Grand Rapids C4 community group presented their efforts to add green space and renewable energy sources to Grand Rapids communities in redlined districts to support communities that aren’t genuinely represented in the current environmental and climate change movement.
  • 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm - Event Program & Keynote with Debby Goldberg
    • Debby Goldberg, with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), presented on the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (A new rule that NAR, along with a broad coalition of organizations have voiced support for) She stated that this ruling understands the idea that where you live matters and determines your access. She is excited about this ruling that would require HUD grantees to improve equitability in all their work and projects as a contingency of their funding. Also, it would emphasize goalsetting, increase transparency for public review and comments, foster a local commitment to addressing fair housing issues, and provide mechanisms for regular program evaluation and greater accountability. If passed this new rule would be phased in over 4 years starting in late 2023 or early 2024.

3. NAR Advocates for FHFA to Maintain Affordability for All Homebuyers

NAR is continuing to push back on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) implementation of loan level pricing adjustments (LLPAs) - upfront fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) charge individual borrowers based on their credit score, down payment, or other risk factors. Fees were raised on some stronger-credit borrowers. Lenders are required to start complying with these adjustments starting May 1st (today). NAR continues to urge FHFA to rescind this measure which is unnecessary given their current financial strength and the affordability concerns plaguing homebuyers nationwide. Also, starting on August 1st, FHFA will impose a new fee on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios (DTIs) greater than 40 percent. NAR opposes this upfront fee as DTI is a poor measure of a borrower’s ability to repay and urges the FHFA to reconsider tying any fees to fluctuating factors such as DTI that may make homebuying further out of reach for more Americans. Read NAR’s latest update HERE.

Connor Miller photo
Connor Miller
Government Affairs Director

As the Government Affairs Director, I work to advocate for the real estate industry through programming that promotes the election of pro-REALTOR® candidates; engage, inform, and activate membership and local government officials on key local and state real estate policies; provide staff support to the REALTOR® Political Action Committee that invests members' voluntary contributions to protect and promote the real estate industry; and support the Aspire North memberships’ involvement in community projects to further grow and strengthen our region.