A number of FAAR Realtor® and affiliate members attended the Virginia Realtors® Economic and Advocacy Conference this past week.  The conference featured a speech from Governor Ralph Northam, an economic update from Stephen Moret who heads up the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a real estate outlook with NAR’s own Dr. Lawerence Yun, and a session with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.  There were also Legislator Town Halls with area elected officials and a reception to conduct more informal discussions with elected officials.

Some highlights of the presentations:
Governor Northam wants to return Virginia to its former place as the #1 state to do business in the US
–The Governor wants to reduce our reliance on federal jobs, uplift rural Virginia, deploy better broadband services, expand educational opportunities, continue state focus on transportation, and expand healthcare access
Stephen Moret wants to focus on bringing Virginia up in the rankings for the best places to do business, sees a few major issues
–college grads are leaving, no national marketing plan for the state, our outlook for growth isn’t great
–we can change this dynamic by supporting great educational opportunities, expanding broadband, and developing business ready sites
Dr. Lawrence Yun said the Fed will raise rates through 2019 and begin pulling back from supporting the economy
–tax reform could impact patterns of home buying as it is not the tax incentive it once was since the standard deduction was doubled
–NAR was able to advocate on behalf of homeowners to stop some of the most potentially hurtful provisions in the reduction of Mortgage Interest Deduction and the deductibility of state and local taxes
–the final bill included a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local property taxes and a $750,000 cap on Mortgage Interest Deduction
–90% of  VA homeowners pay less than $10,000 in property taxes and 92% of homeowners have mortgages less than $750,000
–price appreciation nationwide is not sustainable for the long-term; incomes grew 15% since 2011 while home prices grew 48%
–average tenure in a house is 10 years, up from 7 years and that is impacting inventory
–prediction for 2018 national housing market:  700,000 homes sales, 2% price appreciation, 4.5% interest rates

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