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Real estate politics: Question 2

Posted by Rona Fischman November 2, 2010 01:42 PM

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The National Association of REALTORS® sent out a message to its members reminding them to vote today. As a member, I was asked to vote REALTOR® Party. I am a member of NAR and its local branches, but not the REALTOR® Party. I disagree with the owner-centered bias of NAR and have been on the other side of most of their political stands.

This year, I find myself in unusual agreement with the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS®. GBAR says vote No on Question 2. The GBAR website says:

… Ballot Question 2 poses a serious risk to our economy and the future of our Commonwealth. The question is designed to repeal the law that is responsible for producing the majority of Massachusetts’ housing outside our major cities over the last 10 plus years. That is why, as an organization, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board has taken a position and urges all its members to vote No on Question 2.

Repealing the Affordable House Law (40B) is not only bad community planning, it is bad business. Therefore I find a bedfellow with the REALTORS®. Since all three major candidates for Governor also agree to No on 2, there are some strange bedfellows, indeed, on this one. (For both sides of Question 2, read this.)

Back to the REALTOR® Party.
What do they stand for?

NAR states …we need elected officials in Washington, in our state capitols and in our city councils who will be on our side when facing important issues like mortgage interest deduction, expanding homeownership opportunities, and protecting property rights.

When I listen to the podcast from NAR’s outgoing president, the list of issues are: Transfer taxes, mortgage interest deduction, and expanding homeownership opportunities.

Here again, the only thing I agree with is support of the mortgage interest deduction. It has been important to middle class homeowners and should remain available.

Expanding homeownership opportunities:
If the number of people buying and selling goes down, it is bad for agents and brokers, but so be it. Expanding homeownership opportunities at all costs is part of what got us into the mess we are in. Home ownership is not for everyone. However, decent housing is for as many as possible (back to NO on 2!)

Protecting property rights often comes at the expense of the environment or poorer members of the community. I have been at odds with many REALTOR® actions against environmental acts such as waterway protection, and against transfer taxes. (Transfer taxes are a fee, based on price, paid when a new deed is recorded. Increases of these fees have been proposed to collect revenue that would go back to the community for affordable housing. )

Did you vote today? Do you disagree with me, Deval, Charlie, Tim, and the REALTORS® on Question 2? Are you REALTOR® Party and support their platform?

The polls close at 8 PM!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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