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VOL. 36 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 25, 2012

Need some help from Washington partisans

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Last week thousands of Realtors descended on Washington in order to attend a legislative rally and meet with their congressional representatives in order to discuss issues that challenge the real estate industry.

Each year, these sessions include a briefing by Jerry Giovaniello, chief lobbyist and senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Realtors. This year his delivery was jovial and his concerns so enormous that he injected humor in order to calm the crowd.

“How would you like to be John Boehner and wake up every morning and try to put together a majority?” Giovaniello joked. Yet he was serious as he noted that many, maybe most, of the Tea Party’s elected officials had never held office of any kind and were unwavering in their campaign promises. Consequently, compromise with many of them, even within their own party, is unlikely, meaning that nothing is accomplished.

Congressman Jim Cooper represents the Fifth Congressional District, which includes Nashville, and described the environment as one in which the people “fighting” for something received the attention and the acclaim, while those with moderate views, such as him, were invisible and consequently unable to move legislation forward since there is always a headline seeker grandstanding for the media. This cripples the process.

He also noted partisanship is at an all-time high. In the past, he lamented, voting along party lines 70 or 80 percent of the time was acceptable. In today’s political environment, representatives are expected to always vote along party lines.

With the Tea Party holding tight, the parties voting as one and the egomaniacs yelling and screaming defiantly, nothing is being accomplished, and the world as we know it could come to an end on Dec. 31 when a number of deadlines expire on important issues.

One of the Realtors’ main concerns is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to be funded. With reform already in place, these government-sponsored enterprises are actually profitable and repaying their debts to the government. They are in danger, however, as there are several bills in place that would close these institutions.

The same is true with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). With lending requirements tightened, FHA is once again financially viable and serving the purpose for which it was initiated.

The flood insurance programs are expiring again, and many citizens in Nashville realize their importance. Each year, the program is extended for a year, and the Realtors are begging for a five-year extension, lest it be overlooked one year.

Also of concern is the fact that foreclosed condos are forcing the homeowners associations to have delinquent fees on their books since lending institutions pay the past-due fees at closings. With the late fees on the books, underwriters are declining funding of loans. The condos can’t sell, and the associations cannot clear their delinquencies.

Giovaniello fears all tax cuts are in danger in elimination, even the mortgage interest deduction. Cooper, however, joked that he felt the deduction has been around for so long that it may be in the Constitution. He feels that issue is safe.

They’ll get it right. We hope.

Sales of the Week

Sales of the week come from East Nashville, with the homes located at 1811 Eastside Avenue and 1504 Lillian Street.

The home at 1504 Lillian Street was listed by Sam Jovanov for $315,000 and sold for $308,000 in a matter of days by Gabriela Lira of Village Real Estate Services. The property commanded a price of $159 per square foot this year after selling for $305,000 as new construction in 2007 at the peak of the market in this area.

The house consists of three bedrooms and two and a-half baths, with the standard updates of granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors.

A similar sale occurred at 1811 Eastside Avenue, with new construction of 2,241 square feet selling for $350,000 after being débuted by Matt Hodges with Village Real Estate Services for the price of $156 per square foot. Monica Breedlove with Reliant Realty delivered the buyer on the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath residence.

Once again, the recovery of the residential real estate market in this area is in full bloom. With per-square-foot sales equal to or above the market’s apex in 2007 appearing in the 12South area, Belmont area, Icon and other downtown condos, as well as East Nashville and Sylvan Park, younger buyers are driving the market.

Perhaps the improvement of the job market, with Nashville’s unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, has infused consumer confidence and provided these buyers with the wherewithal to purchase.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with French, Christianson, Patterson, and Associates and co-author of Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles. He can be reached at Richard@richardcourtney.com.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0