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Public Policy Update May 10, 2024

By Kymberly Franklin posted 8 days ago

  

May 10, 2024

Public Policy Update

Hello everyone. The big news of the week happened on Tuesday when Gov. DeSantis held a press conference in Cape Canaveral to announce the signing of HB 7073, which is next fiscal year’s tax package. This bill typically ends up being one of our priority bills each session, and this year was no different as the tax package includes a one-year exemption on insurance premium taxes on homeowners’ insurance policies and flood insurance policies. 

The total savings that this insurance tax break will produce for Floridians is estimated to be north of $500 million, which should translate to a small amount of insurance premium relief for many people throughout the state.

In addition to the insurance relief, the tax package also includes some other items such as five sales tax holidays, a corporate income tax credit for businesses that hire persons with disabilities and a limitation on documentary stamp tax assessments for reverse mortgages, among other things.

Here are the details on the tax holidays so you can set your calendars:

  • Two Disaster Preparedness Holidays: June 1—14 and August 24—September 6, families can prepare for hurricane season with items like tarps, batteries, and flashlights, sales tax free.
  • The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday: July 29—August 11, families can save on pens, pencils, computers, clothing, and other school supplies.
  • The Tool Time Sales Tax Holiday: September 1—7, Floridians can save on power tools, hand tools, toolboxes, and other items.
  • The Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday: July 1—31, Florida families can purchase summer items like pool floats, fishing supplies, and outdoor equipment, in addition to admissions to museums and state parks, sales tax free.

You can read the governor’s full announcement about the tax savings here. Additionally, if you’d like to watch his press conference on the bill signing, you can do that here.


Florida Realtors Past President Christine Hansen Named NAR First VP

We wanted to extend a big congrats to Christine Hansen, Florida Realtors® 2018 president and broker-owner of Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale, for being elected the NAR 2025 first vice president on Thursday. As 2025 first vice president, she will run for 2026 president-elect.

Hansen, a second-generation real estate professional and Realtor® for 35 years, has served on 175 committee and task force posts at the national, state and local levels in the past two decades, including the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale Association (RAPM-GFLR). Some of her other recent volunteer activities include NAR executive committee member (present), NAR vice president of advocacy (2020), NAR director (2006-2010; 2011-2023) and Realtor party director (2019). 

In her campaign, Hansen focused on four central pillars: courage in action, best in class advocacy, connection and working together to navigate the challenges of an ever-changing profession. On her campaign website, she underscored her desire to serve. 

Read the full news article here.


NAR Practice Changes to Take Effect Aug. 17

The NAR announced Friday new details regarding the proposed settlement agreement, which received preliminary approval from the court on April 23.  

The announcement, shared with Realtor® Magazine, provides important information regarding the practice changes required for NAR members under the settlement agreement; it also establishes Aug. 17 as the effective date for these changes.

In a communication distributed to members, NAR Chief Legal Officer and Chief Member Experience Officer Katie Johnson explained the deadline will provide a three-month window for NAR members and MLSs to prepare to implement the policy adjustments.

“Our settlement requires NAR to implement the practice changes no later than the date plaintiffs can issue class notice,” wrote Johnson. “Through the preliminary settlement approval process, we now know the earliest date of class notice is Aug. 17. We are announcing these important changes now to ensure NAR members and MLSs have ample time to prepare.”

MLSs that have opted into the settlement agreement have until Sept. 16 to implement the necessary policy changes and to be considered released parties, as provided in the relevant appendices they executed. In accordance with mandatory NAR policy, REALTOR®-owned MLSs must implement the practice changes by Aug. 17. NAR recommends all opting-in MLSs implement the practice changes by this date.

The policy changes were reviewed by the MLS Emerging Issues and Technology Advisory Board and adopted by the NAR Leadership Team. The revised policy reflects the practice changes required by the settlement. Details of those practice changes are in the full news article, which can be found here.


Lawmakers Launch Bipartisan Real Estate Caucus

A group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill have announced the new Bipartisan Congressional Real Estate Caucus, which will address the lack of housing affordability and inventory nationwide.

The National Association of Realtors®, along with the National Association of Home Builders, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Land Title Association and other groups, lauded the move as a step toward creating more policies that could help to resolve some of the housing market’s most pressing issues.

Housing supply tops the new caucus’s agenda. Researchers have placed the national housing shortage at anywhere from a 1.5 million- to 5.5. million-unit deficit, pointing to population growth and housing underproduction across the country. Economists blame the inventory shortage for rising home prices.

“Lawmakers from across the political spectrum are in overwhelming agreement that this nation is facing a housing affordability crisis," NAR said in a statement. "Homeownership is a bipartisan issue, and we applaud these members of Congress for forming a caucus to work across the aisle to make housing more accessible. We look forward to working closely with this group to further advance our advocacy efforts to increase the housing supply and help individuals from all backgrounds find a path to homeownership.”

Read the full news article here.


Group Files Lawsuit Challenging Interests of Foreign Countries Law

Housing and real estate groups filed a federal lawsuit on Monday alleging Florida’s law that restricts property ownership by people from China and six other countries is discriminatory. The lawsuit, filed in Miami, contends that the law violates the federal Fair Housing Act and part of the Florida Constitution.

It came after four people and a real estate broker filed a lawsuit last year challenging restrictions focused on people from China, including arguing that the law violates equal protection rights and the federal Fair Housing Act. That lawsuit is pending at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case filed Monday is broader, as it also applies to restrictions placed on people from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria — each of which Florida calls a “foreign country of concern.”

The property restrictions apply to people who are “domiciled” in a foreign country of concern and are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. That can include, for example, people in the U.S. on student visas.

Gov. DeSantis and other supporters approved the restrictions while citing a need, at least in part, to curb the influence of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party in Florida.

Read the full news article here.


NAR Membership Stands at More Than 1.5M

NAR Treasurer Greg Hrabcak reported at the National Association of Realtors® Board of Directors meeting Thursday that membership stood at 1,509,195 as of April 30. That’s higher than the numbers reported in February and March but roughly 2% lower than a year ago.

Hrabcak, a Westerville, Ohio, broker specializing in commercial real estate, said the number of Realtors® remains several percentage points ahead of the association’s forecast. 

NAR leaders began planning for fewer members back in 2021. With inflation heating up, they reasoned, interest rates would climb causing markets to cool, driving some licensees to take jobs outside of real estate.

“When there are fewer market opportunities, some people leave the business. It’s as simple as that,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The report allayed fears that membership would decline more than expected as a result of organizational changes or the pending class-action litigation settlement. The numbers indicate that members continue to recognize the value of the advocacy, resources and tools available through NAR.

Read the full news article here.


Please reach out to us at publicpolicy@floridarealtors.org with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

 

 


Andy Gonzalez
Vice President of Public Policy
Florida Realtors®

 

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