Improve Access to Homeownership, Increase Housing Inventory, and Encourage Adaptive Reuse of Commercial Properties
Address America’s Affordable Housing Shortage
REALTORS® strive to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to achieve homeownership, which is the centerpiece of the American Dream and the pathway to economic well-being and intergenerational wealth-building. However, a historic 50-year record shortage of affordable homes available for purchase has severely limited access to the residential real estate market.
A recent study estimates that the U.S. has developed an “underbuilding gap” of 5.5 million housing units over the last 20 years. This translates into a $4.4 trillion underinvestment in housing. Even relatively modest steps taken now to reduce this gap will unleash tremendous economic activity and create millions of new jobs.
At the same time, the pandemic created shifts in the commercial real estate market, especially in the office and retail sectors. Policies that support repurposing underutilized or vacant commercial properties can revitalize communities by creating new commercial uses and housing.
• Cosponsor the bipartisan Housing Supply and Affordability Act, which creates a Local Housing Policy Grant program for cities, states, tribes, and regional associations to enact pro-housing policies at the local level.
In the Senate, S. 902: sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
In the House, H.R. 2126: sponsored by Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH).
• Cosponsor the bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), which would offer tax credits
to attract private investment for building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes, creating a pathway to
neighborhood stability through sustainable homeownership. The NHIA would expand homeownership
opportunities and provide a powerful incentive to build and rehabilitate 500,000 homes for low- and
moderate-income homeowners over the next decade. The NHIA is intended to fill the gap in areas where it is often more expensive to develop or rehabilitate than appraisal values will support.
S.98: sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tim Scott (R-SC).
H.R. 2143: sponsored by Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY).
• Cosponsor the GREATER Revitalization of Shopping Centers Act, which creates a grant within the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program to incentivize public and private investment in abandoned and underutilized shopping malls. The Section 108 Program provides communities with a source of low-cost, long-term financing for economic and community development projects, which has proven effective in drawing additional investments into projects. This legislation would provide an additional grant of up to $5 million to communities with qualifying shopping centers to repurpose them for a range of uses, including the development of affordable housing.
H.R 5041: sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Cynthia Axne (D-IA).
• Cosponsor the Revitalizing Downtowns Act, which creates a Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties.
H.R. 4759: sponsored by Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), and John B. Larson (D-CT).
S. 2511: sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Ensure Fair Housing for All
Our economy, communities, and the American people suffer when discrimination and segregation artificially constrain homeownership and limit the intergenerational wealth it builds. As stewards of the right to own, use, and transfer private property, REALTORS® and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce know an open housing market free from discrimination benefits us all.
Yet, more than fifty years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, the homeownership rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans continues to lag behind that of White Americans. Our Delegation is firmly committed to the enforcement of fair housing laws and to policies that remove historic and systemic barriers to homeownership for all qualified buyers.
• Cosponsor the Housing Fairness Act, which would reauthorize and increase funding for HUD fair housing testing and enforcement programs.
S. 769: sponsored by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
H.R. 68: sponsored by Representative Al Green (D-TX).