Sheryl Hunter – 2014 Newsletter Committee Vice-Chair

I visited the offices of the following Congressmen:  Kevin Brady, Pete Olson, Randy Weber, Steve Stockman and Michael McCaul with a delegation of a dozen HAR and TAR representatives to discuss residential and economic issues and trends that are important to homeowners.

The issues that were discussed were:

Opposition to H. R. 2767  Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH ) ACT

The PATH ACT alters and reduces the role of FHA, curtailing opportunities for millions of Americans.   Troubling changes to the FHA program include:

Increasing FHA down payment

Lowering FHA Loan Limits

Significantly restricting who can use the program (1st time & low income buyers).

Preserving Tax Real Estate Related Taxes:

Several Tax Provisions vital to all homeowners, including distressed owners and commercial real estate have expired and need to be extended.  No comprehensive tax reform plan has been introduced.  However there are currently drafts circulating in the House and Senate.  We ask that you encourage your representatives to act as follows:

Mortgage Interest Deduction – We oppose efforts to eliminate or weaken the Mortgage Interest Deduction for primary and secondary homes.    Eliminating this deduction discourages home ownership.  We would go from encouraging homeownership to encouraging folks to renting.

Property Tax Deduction – We oppose eliminating this deduction.  This is the largest tax deduction for homeowners long after the mortgage is paid off.  Again, this will discourage homeownership.

Mortgage Forgiveness Act – This Act expired at the end of 2013.  We ask that Congress extend this tax.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Act waives income tax on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale or work out for a homeowners principal residence.  If they have to pay a phantom tax, many will not go through with the short sale or work out programs, resulting in foreclosures in your neighborhoods.


Like-Kind Exchanges –  Encourage your representative not to repeal this provision.

The Like-Kind Exchange allows investment real estate to be exchanged for a property of a like kind on a tax differed basis.  Exchanges are a key part of a high percentage of investment transactions.  If repealed, we will realize fewer redevelopment projects will go forward resulting in fewer jobs.  The like-kind exchange provision provides liquidity to an illiquid asset, and repealing it would harm economic growth.