Nearly 2,000 attendees gathered last week at the RPAC President’s Circle Conference to hear from REALTOR® champions and top political leaders. President’s Circle plays a key role in NAR’s powerful advocacy operation as we work to make the American Dream affordable, accessible, and available to all.
Two recent wins demonstrate the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts.
First, on February 22, Vice President Kamala Harris and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced a reduction in mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) by 30 basis points. This followed NAR’s robust advocacy on responsibly reducing mortgage insurance premiums to help qualified home buyers struggling with affordability in the current environment.
Mortgage rates have doubled over the past year, and home prices have increased more than 30 percent in some counties. In this competitive market, new and low- to moderate-income buyers are often left behind. This reduction in MIPs will help alleviate some of the financial stress those potential buyers encounter when purchasing a home.
FHA’s announcement strikes an appropriate balance between assisting homeowners and ensuring the capital reserve ratio and insurance fund remain strong. In their 2022 annual report to Congress, FHA reported having an 11 percent capital reserve ratio – 9 percent above what is statutorily required. FHA projects that this MIP reduction will save buyers with FHA mortgages an average of $800 in their first year of homeownership.
Secondly, on February 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2023. If the legislation becomes a federal law, the SECURE Notarization Act will provide meaningful relief to America’s homeowners and prospective buyers by allowing immediate, nationwide use of remote online notarization (RON) technology.
Current requirements for a signer to physically be in the presence of a notary are often impractical – and sometimes impossible. RON is a convenient alternative to traditional in-person notarization for all consumers, but it is particularly beneficial to those who are unable to easily travel, such as active-duty service members stationed overseas, child and elder caregivers, and sick or elderly persons.
Since 2018, NAR has supported remote online notarization by encouraging the passage of laws, regulations, and standards which advance the interstate adoption and recognition across the United States. Currently, 43 states and Washington, D.C. have approved the permanent use of RON technology. The SECURE Notarization Act would expand the availability of RON to consumers in all states, provide certainty for interstate recognition of RON, and establish minimum standards to ensure strong consumer protections. If a state has already passed a RON law that meets the minimum national standards outlined, that state’s law would supersede the national law.
NAR applauds the House for its efforts to promote more accessible, efficient, and secure real estate transactions, and we will continue to urge the bill’s passage in the Senate.
As we work to make homeownership a reality for more people, advancements like these play an important role in breaking down barriers. NAR will keep advocating for solutions that help expand the American Dream.
To learn more about President’s Circle, click here.