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  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:13 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Buyers Snap Up Single Family Home Sales in Kona and South Kohala

    The West Hawaii housing market saw a banner month in January with increased sales activity this January compared to last year. 

    Sales

    Single family home sales increased 35% year over year in North Kona and 150% in South Kohala, according to sales statistics from Hawaii Information Service for January 2020. Homes sales in North Kona rose from 34 homes sold in 2019 to 46 in 2020 and in South Kohala from 12 to 30. Condominium sales fell 12% in Kona year over year and rose 8.3% in South Kohala. Islandwide, residential homes sales rose 44.5% from 148 in 2019 to 214 in 2020. 

    Median Price 

    The median price of single family homes rose in both areas as demand for homes in West Hawaii increased dramatically from the fall and into the new year.  The median price of a home in North Kona rose 22.23% year over year from $609,500 to $745,000 and in South Kohala, prices rose from $545,000 to $702,500, a 31% increase from January 2019 to January 2020.  The median price of condos in North Kona rose 20% year over year from $325,000 to $390,500 and in South Kohala prices rose 31% from $482,000 to $632,500. 

    Sales Volume

    For sales volume for January in North Kona, single family homes rose 74% year over year and in South Kohala, the sales volume rose by 567%. 

    What Are They Saying?

    Industry leaders are sharing that the mortgage rates holding at historic lows are driving the national real estate market. Mortgage rates have fallen a full percentage point since October 2018 to around 3.7 percent.

    WHAR Realtors we spoke to shared that there are occurences of multiple offers in the local market, homes that have been sitting on the market for over 200 days are getting new interest and offers and there continues to be pent up buyer demand. Homes in the $600k-$750k range are seeing alot of interest and buyers looking for deals are often disappointed as buyer demand makes deals less and less common. 






  • Tuesday, February 04, 2020 2:46 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Join us at the Keauhou Shopping Center on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 12:00-6:00 pm for the Best of Kona Festival. The festival offers exposure to all aspects of life in Kona; education, healthcare food, agriculture, keiki activities and more!

    As one of the event sponsors, West Hawaii Association of REALTORS® (WHAR), will have REALTOR® members and mortgage professionals on hand to discuss the home buying process from 12:30-4:30.  All sessions will be held in the in the Keauhou-Kahaluu Heritage Center, which is located off of main courtyard of the shopping center.

    Information covered will include understanding the pre-approval process, dispelling the notion of a 20% down payment, credit worthiness, short term vacation rental information, down payment assistance programs, exactly how to go about buying a home in Hawaii from searching to contract and more!

    HOMEOWNERSHIP EDUCATION CENTER

    12:30-1:15 “Facts and Fiction About Getting A Mortgage” Sponsored by West Hawaii Association of REALTOR® Panelists: James Allen, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Susan Gordon, Premier Mortgage Resources; Barbara Welsh, APEX Mortgage.

    1:30-2:15 Homebuying 101- (REALTOR PanelSponsored by West Hawaii Association of REALTOR®.  Panelists Gretchen Osgood, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate; Kelly Shaw, Elite Pacific Properties; Angel Wannemacher, Hawaii Beach and Gold Properties.

    2:30-3:00 “What You Need To Know About Buying Second Homes and Vacation Property in West Hawaii” Panelists: Kathren Rosales, American Financial Network and Gretchen Osgood, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate

    Other presentations include:

    “3:15-4:00 “Debunking the Myths Stopping You from Buying a Home” Sponsored by the Wynn & Eagan Team-Citywide Home Loans  

    4:00-4:30 Accessing Down payment /Closing Cost Assistance Programs and Grants – Featuring Hawaii Homeownership Center

    For more information go to: bestofkonafestival.com.



  • Wednesday, January 29, 2020 4:13 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Effective August 1, 2020: Below memo, unless or until the Hawai'i County Code is amended to address the issues contained herein.

    This memorandum (memo) is to provide clarification regarding code interpretation and implementation of guest houses and detached bedrooms. Although there have been numerous director policy memos on this subject, former Director Duane Kanuha issued a memo on October 20, 2014 which rescinded all previous directors' memos. Effective August 1, 2020, this memo will rescind all previous memos regarding code interpretation and implementation of guest houses and detached bedrooms until an ordinance amending the guest house sections and related sections of the Hawai'i County Code can be adopted by the County Council, at which time this memo will be considered void.

    The traditional single-family dwelling unit comprised of a single structure containing all functions of a dwelling is still applicable. Today landowners often want to utilize an architectural style of dwelling design commonly referred to as "pod" or "pod design" where the functions of a home are dispersed across several structures. However, pod construction does not comply with the county code. The current code only allows for one detached guest house with a maximum of 500 square feet of gross floor area.

    A previous director had implemented a policy that offered a solution that meets the requirements of the current code while allowing the possibility of having pod style  dwelling.  This alternative was termed a "structural attachment." A structural attachment establishes a common roof line where the structures share a roof or a common wall line where the structures share a wall. The structural attachment maintains the single-family definition of a house as it may be considered one structure while allowing the appearance and functionality of a detached structure.

    This memo returns to the policy of structural attachment as it provides architectural guidance to designers and landowners for application submittals, as well as to staff for review of the requirements for application approvals.

    Therefore, the department will implement the following:

    Guest House

    Section 25-1-5 of HCC defines a guest house as the following:

    '"Guest house' means an accessory building used as sleeping quarters for guests of the occupants of the main dwelling and having no cooking facilities." (underline added for emphasis)

    By definition, a guest house is sleeping quarters. Bedrooms are spaces within dwellings where occupants sleep, so they are also sleeping quarters. Thereby, a detached guest house and a detached bedroom are the same thing pursuant to the following:

    Section 25-4-9 of the Hawai'i County Code (HCC) states:

    "One guest house may only be established on a building site that is at least seven thousand five hundred square feet in area. A guest house shall not exceed five hundred square feet in gross floor area, shall not be more than twenty feet in height, and shall not have a kitchen." (underline added for emphasis)

    Gross Floor Area

    Section 25-1-5 of HCC defines gross floor area as the following:

    '"Floor area, gross' means the total area of all floors of a building including a basement measured along the exterior walls of such building."

    The planning department continues to interpret the gross floor area to include all interior space and any attached area including, garages, car ports, lanai's, decks, balcony's, etc. This will now include living areas that are structurally attached as outlined in this memo.

    Structural Attachment

    If the structure or living space is structurally attached, the 500 sq.ft. limitation does not apply. The structural attachment provides the planning department a reasonable argument to identify all structures attached by roof or wall as one structure.


    Maximum Distance for Primary and Accessory Structure Relationship

    This applies to both detached guest houses and structurally attached living spaces. As noted in the definition of a guest house, it is an accessory building and is accessory to the primary dwelling. As the accessory structure increases in distance from the primary structure, it loses its relationship to the primary structure or use.

    This memo establishes a policy that has been a long-standing practice for the accessory structure to be within thirty (30) feet of the primary structure to maintain the relationship between structures. If a hardship is clearly identified on the application and found to be reasonable by the department, a distance of no greater than fifty (50) feet can be allowed between the primary and assessor structures on a case by case basis. Potential hardships may include but are not limited to: a change of grade on the site, existing vegetation that is to remain or is difficult to relocate like a large tree, siting of utilities like wastewater septic system, etc.

    Summary

    •  A dwelling may have separated living spaces that are structurally attached by a common roof or wall.
    •  In addition to structurally attached living spaces, a dwelling may have one (1) guest house in accordance with the Hawai 'i County Code.
    • Both guest houses and structurally attached living spaces must be within thirty (30) feet of the primary structure, subject to demonstration of a hardship, which may allow a distance of up to fifty (50) feet.
    • The above is subject to compliance with all other Hawai 'i County Codes.


  • Saturday, January 11, 2020 2:20 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Much has been written ad nauseam about how to sell a house. Clean, declutter, reorganize, pressure wash, paint, freshen up landscaping, make repairs, update light fixtures and plumbing hardware, stage, repeat. The list goes on and on.

    Most times, sellers implement some of the agent’s  recommendations, but not all. Financial and time constraints are often two of the biggest factors that influence what items they accomplish and what they leave alone, whether intentionally or not.

    Do we really have to do all of that? Isn’t a buyer going to want to come in and paint the walls a color of their own choosing anyway? What’s the point of making repairs when an inspector is going to poke around and come up with a “list”?

    Despite an agent’s proactive efforts, many potential sellers insist on doing things their own way. Sometimes it’s better to tell your sellers what not to do.

    Telling people what they should do can often have an opposite effect (rather than pointing out what not to do and robbing a seller of maximum equity). Did your ears perk up? Without further ado, here’s how not to sell a home:

    1. Overpricing 

    This is one of the most common sale sabotaging tactics that sellers do. Everyone wants the most the market will bear for their home, of course; however, the buyer’s perception along with agent perceptions are likely to be less than how the seller sees the value of what they are offering.

    Sellers are fearful of leaving money on the table, but that money is perceived, not actual dollars and cents in their pocket.

    There’s a saying that you can’t lose what you don’t have, and overpricing is a classic example of this. While a home sits on the market with a high price, buyers are making offers on the competition that is more reasonably priced.

    2. Lacking preparation 

    To do anything well in life requires planning and preparation, and selling a home is no exception. Why risk the single largest investment by leaving it all to chance?

    Trending

    The notion that you don’t really have to do anything and can throw a home on the market to see what sticks is plain foolish. Every property has strong points, weak points and challenges.

    Many can be overcome with proper preparation — cleaning, painting, repairs, staging, etc. Some cannot be changed such as location or layout, but the more preparation that takes place, the better the chance of a more positive outcome.

    Just assuming buyers can see past the clutter, overgrown landscaping, old worn furniture and not notice the dog smell is like taking money out of your wallet and flushing it down the toilet.

    3. Making it difficult to show

    What’s the point of being on the market if the ability to see the home is more of a rarity than an everyday event? Complicated showing instructions, lots of notice, specific blocks of time during the day or certain days that the property cannot be shown will only contribute to the property sitting.

    Depending on the price point, if the majority of the competition is relatively easy to show and is on a lockbox, then a seller’s home that is about to come on the market should be as well (luxury and unique homes or those with special circumstances where listing agents need to be present excluded).

    Do you really think an agent is going to go out of their way to coordinate with your listing agent so they can be present when they are showing five or six other homes in the neighborhood that are accessible via lockbox?

    Showing homes is an on the fly, any time and all the time business, and when showings need to happen, they need to happen.

    You don’t want your property to be a thorn in a showing agent’s side. Like it or not, the reality is agents absolutely can and do influence what a buyer ends up seeing and making an offer on.

    The home that is difficult to show when 15 other properties can easily be seen? Don’t expect an agent to go out of their way to rearrange all of the other showing appointments and unfairly inconvenience those sellers to make the difficult property a priority or double back when that’s an hour in a completely different direction.

    4. Hovering over showings

    Sellers who insist on being home or lurking around for every showing almost guarantees that an offer won’t be made on their home or that it’ll sit for a really, really, really long time on the market.

    There is nothing that makes buyers and their agents more uncomfortable than a seller who won’t allow a lockbox because they don’t trust anyone or the showing process and insist on being there for every viewing.

    When counseled on the perils of being home for showings, these sellers tell their agent, “I’ll just open the door and step aside.”

    What does that mean?

    The seller that goes into the office, listens to every word being said and takes note of how long the buyers and their agent spend in each room and what areas of the home they didn’t explore.

    No wonder the buyer doesn’t want to go in that area of the home at all. This plays out while the seller is texting their own agent in real time giving room-by-room updates.

    When the buyer leaves, the seller calls his or her agent to download about the showing, analyzing every move the buyer made and trying to figure out if they are the right one for the house.

    They also proceed to lament how the buyer didn’t even go in the backyard or just poked their head in the garage for a brief second, quickly walked around and then left.

    And the buyer’s agent? The seller vents that the buyer’s agent just didn’t seem to understand the home or appreciate all of the details.

    Disappointed, they are upset and quite worried that because these things were seemingly missed or skipped over, the buyer won’t make an offer for that reason. Hmm … if the seller only knew why that might be.

    5. Not disclosing and denying repairs

    Sellers who are in la la land when it comes to their home’s condition will only contribute to losing potential buyers. What seemingly appeared as the perfect home suddenly turns into anything but after inspections.

    There are things that scream attention, yet the seller shrugs their shoulders and thinks it is the buyer’s problem to deal with. The sellers who offer to do very little or throw a couple of hundred dollars toward a several thousand dollar issue is likely going to send the buyer running for the hills.

    Old water heater that is corroding with a slow leak? What’s the big deal? Multiple electrical issues that are potential fire hazards? The seller’s attitude is they’ve lived with it for years, so it can’t really be that dangerous.

    Not their problem to deal with in their view. Confusing and incomplete answers on a seller’s disclosure is also another area of concern for buyers.

    When the buyer (through their agent) seeks clarification and does not get much in the way of answers or information is a surefire way for a buyer to grow suspicious and think the worst.

    6. Stepping over dimes to save nickels

    Everyone loves to save money when it comes to selling a house. Nickel and diming the buyer to death in a negotiation is not the way to do it.

    Sellers who counter nearly every item in the offer that has been requested is a huge turnoff. Especially when they keep trying to step over dimes to save nickels.

    Home warranty? No way. When the buyer pushes back in the negotiation asking for one again, the seller only agrees to pay a certain amount toward it and only for basic coverage.

    They will not leave their refrigerator or washer and dryer, but they will be happy to sell them to the buyer at a price nearing the equivalent of purchasing new ones.

    They intentionally exclude their perceived fancy light fixtures and fans and list out the cost of everything they spent on each component in a home to  justify the number they are coming back with.

    The back-and-forth is endless with no conclusion in sight. When it appears to be close, the seller asks for a different closing date that is the most inconvenient date for all involved but the seller.

    The buyer might just walk away out of pure mental exhaustion. If it is this difficult now, they tell themselves, what will it be like once they go under contract?

    7. Putting unreasonable conditions on the sale

    Although this practice is done in some markets — particularly low inventory, high-price markets like California — this type of contingency creates too much uncertainty for all involved.

    A buyer needs to know where they are going and by when. An entire contagion effect comes into play and that might stall a buyer’s ability to sell and close on their current home if they own one or hamper them terminating a lease.

    To try to match up the timing of a seller finding the ideal property while they are trying to find a buyer for their home might be extremely difficult.

    It could also cause the seller to miss the market for their home, costing them not only time and a potentially higher selling price, but also and most of all, inability to move forward on a property that they like because you never know when your dream home will hit the market.

    Inspired daily by the takeaways learned in the field, top producer Cara Ameer has 18 years under her belt with licenses in both Florida and California. A self-proclaimed fitness fanatic, she loves working out, finds cleaning and organizing relaxing and can’t say no to strawberries


  • Tuesday, January 07, 2020 3:02 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Controversial policy will require brokers to submit listing to MLS within 1 business day of marketing

    November 11, 2019 

    UPDATED 11:15 a.m., Nov. 11: The National Association of Realtors’ board approved a controversial policy that could drastically cut down on pocket listings, a popular practice in the world of luxe real estate.

    A roughly 120-member NAR committee overwhelmingly approved the Clear Cooperation Policy on Saturday morning, sending it to the organization’s Executive Committee for consideration, according to Inman. On Monday, NAR’s board passed the policy 729-70.

    The policy would require brokers to submit a listing to the Multiple Listings Service within one business day of marketing a property to the public. NAR argues it will help make the business more transparent.

    Bright MLS Chair Jon Coile said pocket listings undermine the “social contract” that Realtors have with each other. Other supporters say it will help the NAR compete with off-MLS services popping up across the country.

    Pocket listings are popular in the higher stratas of residential markets in top-tier cities such as New York, L.A., and Miami for a few reasons. They help obscure ownership and listings for high-profile clients and allow agents to be more flexible with asking prices.

    They can be extremely lucrative for agents who have them because they essentially cut out outside agents. Those agents often end up representing both parties in deals.

    The proposed policy has a cutout allowing brokers to make a listing an office exclusive and keep it off the MLS and platforms that aggregate from the MLS, including Redfin and Zillow, which could alleviate concerns for celebrity clients.

    Last year, Pacific Union International launched an online platform that acts as a pre-MLS listing service. Pacific Union properties go on that platform with limited information starting when an agent signs on to represent a seller until it hits the MLS, which can take up to 10 days or so. Pacific Union says that lets agents gauge interest before listings start to accrue “days on the market.” In 2017, The Agency broker Christopher Dyson partnered with the firm’s CEO Mauricio Umansky and “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” stars James Harris and David Parnes on a new online platform dubbed “The Pocket Listing Service,” or ThePLS.com, which allows brokers to share and search nationally for off-market properties.

    The NAR vote suggests there is strong support for such a policy. If approved by the Executive Committee, the measure would go to NAR’s board of directors for final approval, according to Inman. The policy would come into effect January 1, 2020. [Inman] – Dennis Lynch


  • Tuesday, January 07, 2020 2:17 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    According to data from the Hawaii Information Service and the monthly Griggs Report, the North Kona residential market shows inventory is down substantially from a year ago.    On the demand side, pending sales are up from last year.   This limited supply and strong demand is now elevating the median price of both single-family homes and condos, but by less than 3% for both.  

    The median sales price of single family homes remained stable in the $635,000 price range for almost two years and is now $780,000, according to HIS statistics, although, more indicative is the year to date numbers which show the median price of a single family home is $650,000.

    Year to date data shows that single family home sales in North Kona have increased 13% year to date from December 2018 to 2019, although sales have dropped year over year from 40 in 2018 to 35 in 2019. Condos also saw a year over year sales drop from 44 to 38, a drop of 13.64%, but rose 8.33% year to date from 432 to 468.

    According to the Griggs Report, there has been a gain of 50 home sales in the $500K to $700k price range since last year.  In the $900K to $1.5M range, is also showing an increase with 26 more sales than 2018.    

    The percentage of listings of REO or short sales on the market increased slightly for the first time in many months.   The increase was seen in all market areas except North Kona.

    For South Kohala, the median price of a single-family home year over year rose 7.5%, from $603,000 to $649,000, however year to date, prices rose only .5% from $596,000 to $599,000.  Interesting to note, that year over year sales volume in South Kohala rose 129% for single family homes, but fell 41%, year over year for condos, but only 13% year to date.

    Island wide median sales fell month over month in December 10% for single family homes and 8% for condos. Lack of inventory and buyers sitting on the fence waiting for homes may have contributed to the sales decrease and the same market forces are driving up prices for buyers unwilling to wait for more homes to come onto the market.

    The Griggs Report is published semi-monthly by Michael B. Griggs, PB, GRI 

    Click here for December 2019 Statistics

  • Tuesday, January 07, 2020 2:08 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to create consistent monthly marketing for lead nurturing? Have you struggled to create, write and send out monthly email newsletters? We have a solution for you. Join a monthly accountability writers group at WHAR the last Tuesday of each month for 90 minutes from 11:30 am-1 pm.

    365Kona blogger and author, Julie Ziemelis, will lead the group and provide content ideas and links to complimentary WHAR and industry real estate articles for your use and provide ideas for local content in the monthly workshops. She will also be available to help you create email campaigns using an e-newsletter program if you are not currently using an email newsletter/CRM provider. You can also learn how to track open rates and fine tune your campaigns. Best of all, you will send out a campaign each month.

    All content you create in the workshop for the newsletter can also be utilized for social media and other marketing materials.

    This workshop is a complimentary member benefit being held in the WHAR conference room each month. Seating is limited. Please RSVP by signing up HERE.


  • Tuesday, December 24, 2019 9:55 AM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    The real estate market is affected by so many factors, and yet, elite and top agents have found a way to always grow and thrive in any market.

    I remember my first manager telling me that I could make it in any market because I went out and “made it happen,” and didn’t rely on one particular lead source for all my business.

    When you truly know how to add value and deliver Ritz Carlton-level service, you create your own success. It takes grit, dedication, a business plan and a winning mindset. I want to share what I consider the uncommon characteristics of top-selling, elite real estate agents that allow them to keep growing their business, regardless of outside economic factors, so you, too, can be an elite real estate agent! These uncommon but totally necessary behaviors ring true with all elite agents. These secret attributes will be the difference maker you need to go from good to great and from wishful thinking to reality of doubling or tripling your production and income. After all, real estate is easy hard work. It is easy if you like to proactively help people and solve their problems, but it requires a strong work ethic and commitment to work the business and make it happen.

    1. An Inner Drive to Succeed


    When you want to succeed, you will do whatever it takes to make your goals happen. Know what you’re driven to accomplish. Is it an income goal or an achievement goal?  Knowing what drives you will help you stay committed to the goals you set. Top real estate agents know what their inner drive to succeed is, and it stays alive and drives them each day. Know yours, and share it with another person, your manager or a coach. I can’t motivate a satisfied person—in fact, no one can. What motivates each of us is different, but it is that inner drive to succeed that is in every top agent I know. Find it and embrace it and run with it.

    2. Totally Focused and Disciplined

    Agents who are successful have a laser focus every day, week and month on what they want to accomplish—how many listings, sales or calls need to be made to hit their goals. Staying focused and avoiding distractions requires discipline, which helps you achieve success faster and with better clarity. Nothing interrupts the top agent’s schedule to create new leads, for example. Get zeroed in with discipline and focus, and watch results happen immediately.

    3. A Winning Mindset


    Every top agent believes they are already a winner, and that they can and will achieve their desired goals. Your mindset totally impacts your behavior and your daily actions. Develop the mindset that you have a listing or sale this week (you just don’t know the address yet!), you are as good as the other agents in your market and that you can increase your average sale price or break into the luxury market successfully. I remember believing that I was already a $10 million-dollar producer before I was, and it gave me the self-confidence to act like I already had achieved my goals. Developing a winning mindset starts your day off in the right direction, and you will see results happen just like you intended them to.

    4. A Beyond-Positive Attitude


    I love when people say, “Are you always so positive?” I say, “Yes, of course!” A top trait of successful REALTORS® is that they are beyond positive—positive about the market they sell in, positive about any offer they are negotiating and positive about any listing they are trying to sell…just always positive. Other agents love to sell homes with these agents because they are positive, and keep everyone in the transaction positive, too.  It’s a winning trait and it works.

    5. Action-Based

    Top agents are not talking about what they want to do; rather, they are constantly taking action, trying new things and making success happen for themselves. They are not waiting for leads to come to them; they are going out and finding the opportunities. What types of action will you take to increase your business for yourself? Taking action makes opportunities happen, and top agents know this and live it!

    6. Perseverance and "‘Never Give Up"


    There is always a way to solve an issue if you have the perseverance and attitude to exhaust all options to help put or keep a deal together. Top agents have a “never, ever give up” mentality, and it’s obvious. They will find a way to bring buyer and seller together for the good of both clients. This trait goes beyond the norm and really shows the dedication of adding value to clients.

    7. Passion, Humility and Gratitude

    Top agents have a humble and grateful attitude, and my belief is that this is what makes them even more amazing. They are passionate about serving.

    8. Focus on Listings

    Top agents have always been focused on listings. Listings are the most important business activity an agent can do—all the marketing, name recognition, spin-off sales and listings, all the credit goes to the listing agent. Top agents have mastered the art of servicing seller clients, and the payoffs are huge. Focusing on listings will make you the “name brand” and most recognized top agent in your market. Create a plan to increase your listing inventory and dominate your market with more for-sale signs with your name on them. This will create more and more success for your business.

    Adopting these attitudes and behaviors will give you the ability to survive any market, and you’ll be magnetically creating your own success each month. For a copy of my Exclusive Business Plan, click here.

    By Sherri JohnsonCEO and founder, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Homes.com Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. Sign up for a free 30-minute coaching strategy session or visit www.sherrijohnson.com for more information.


  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019 3:21 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    A few hours ago, the House of Representatives voted to approve a spending package that will fund the federal government through fiscal year 2020. The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week and President Trump has pledged to sign the bill by Friday to avert a government shutdown.

    In the lead up to its introduction, NAR was able to secure the inclusion of three critical items for the housing industry that will bring certainty and stability to the market as we head into the New Year:

     9-Month Extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30, 2020

    1. Extension of various critical tax provisions through December 31, 2020 and retroactive to 2018
    2. 7-Year Reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization (TRIP) through December 31, 2027

    National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

    NAR is pleased to see a 9-month program extension worked through Congress with little fanfare. While the agreement will ensure NFIP policies can be issued and renewed through the end of the fiscal year, we will continue to push lawmakers to use the afforded time to find compromise on a longer term reauthorization and reform package.

    As we know all too well, this program has operated on a string of short-term extensions and endured multiple lapses over the past two years. From Montana to Mississippi and everywhere in between, that unpredictability has put home sales in jeopardy and left insurance policies in limbo. While NAR research has shown that NFIP lapses threaten 1,300 transactions each day, the resulting uncertainty impacts our nation's overall housing market and economic stability.

    NAR has strongly supported the NFIP Reauthorization Act, also authored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), which includes a 5-year program reauthorization along with reforms to improve mapping, enhance mitigation, and remove obstacles to private flood insurance. H.R. 3167 is the product of extensive bipartisan negotiations between Waters and House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (NC-10), striking a delicate balance between NFIP sustainability and affordability. This legislation unanimously passed the Committee in June and we will maintain our call for lawmakers to work through the legislation this congress.

    Tax Extenders

    Also, included in the sending package are temporary extensions of three tax provisions directly impacting our industry:

    1) the exclusion of forgiven mortgage debt from gross income, meaning that owners of primary residences who sold them short and had part of their mortgage debt written off will not have to pay tax on the amount forgiven;

    2) the deductibility of premiums for mortgage insurance; and

    3) the deduction of the cost of improvements to commercial buildings that make them energy efficient.

    These provisions had all expired at the end of 2017, but the bill extends them, retroactive to the beginning of 2018, and through the end of 2020.

    Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIP)

    Finally, NAR scored a major victory, primarily for our commercial members, with the inclusion of the seven-year re-authorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program in the spending package.

    Terrorism risk insurance is often required to secure necessary financing for the thousands of commercial practitioners nationwide. Absent TRIP, the country would likely see a repeat of what happened in 2001, when many insurers raised terrorism risk insurance to unsustainable prices or stopped offering coverage entirely.

    NAR repeatedly called on Congress to reauthorize TRIP before its scheduled expiration in 2020, publicly supporting Chairwoman Maxine Waters’ Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Re-authorization Act of 2019.

    You may click here for the full statement released this afternoon from NAR President Vince Malta and a summary of these legislative alerts for social media.

    NAR News from Washington

    NAR Meets with Interior Secretary

    Secretary David Bernhardt mentioned a couple of specific efforts the Department is taking to reduce regulatory burdens on housing and the real estate sector. Click here for more.

    NAR Supports Group of Five Credit Scoring and Student Loan Bills

    NAR sent a letter of support to the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chairs for a group of bills, to be marked by the committee, impacting federal policy in credit policy and student loan debt. Click here for more.

    2020 FHA Loan Limits Published

    FHA published its 2020 loan limits on December 3, 2019. The high cost limit is now at $765,600, while the lowest FHA limit rose to $331,760. Click here for more.

    Loan Limits Increase in 2020

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published the 2020 conforming loan limits for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Click here for more.

    Oral Arguments Held in AHP Case

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently heard oral arguments in the case brought by a dozen attorneys general (AGs) challenging the Department of Labor (DOL) association health plan (AHP) rule issued in 2018. Click here for more.

    Board of Directors Special Report from NAR Annual: MLS ‘Clear Cooperation Policy’, Code of Ethics Tranining Requirment Recommendations Pass

    NAR’s Board of Directors approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy, at its meeting during the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public. The policy summary and Q&A is available here. The Board of Directors also approved a change to NAR's Code of Ethics training requirement. The change extends the training requirement from every two years to every three years and extends the current Cycle 6 deadline from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021. The next cycle (Cycle 7) will begin Jan. 1, 2022, and end Dec. 31, 2024. View additional board actions by clicking here.


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West Hawaii Association of REALTORS®
75-5995 Kuakini Hwy., #221, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Phone (808) 329-4874 Fax (808) 329-5191





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