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NAR Helps Secure FEMA Reversal on New Flood Policies During Shutdown

Dec 31, 2018 by

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced late Friday it will once again issue and renew flood insurance policies, reversing its earlier controversial ruling from last week that banned sales of the polices during the partial shutdown of the federal government.

A statement posted to the FEMA website Friday read in part, “As of this evening, all NFIP insurers have been directed to resume normal operations immediately and advised that the program will be considered operational since December 21, 2018 without interruption.”

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) called it “a critical win for home sales.”

“FEMA and the Administration deserve credit for hearing our concerns and acting swiftly to address them,” said NAR President John Smaby. “This new decision means thousands of home-sale transactions in communities across the country can go forward without interruption, as Congress intended when it renewed the flood insurance program earlier this week. Our research has shown that 40,000 home sales are lost every month that flood insurance is not available.”

On December 21, Congress passed legislation that extended the National Flood Insurance Program until May 31, 2019. In an unexpected policy decision on December 26, however, FEMA said it couldn’t allow insurers to issue and renew federal policies while the partial government shutdown was ongoing. That ruling was unexpected because in past government shutdowns, FEMA continued to operate the program as authorized. NAR, along with other organizations, including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, urged policy makers to reevaluate the decision. Congress expressed concern, as well.

“We thank the Administration and Congress for stepping up so quickly to ensure the smooth continuation of flood insurance at a time when market disruption would be extremely hard-felt,” said Shannon McGahn, NAR senior vice president of Government Affairs.

Stay tuned to RISMedia for ongoing developments. Information about the National  Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available on NAR’s website.

 For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post NAR Helps Secure FEMA Reversal on New Flood Policies During Shutdown appeared first on RISMedia.

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How will the government shutdown impact you?

Oct 17, 2013 by

Even the most passionate avoiders of news have heard: the government of the mightiest country in the world has shut down. Even the Taliban is having a field day over something that must seem really strange to them, being hardly the most devoted civil servants in the known world.

And indeed it is a strange sight, even for “civilized” countries. Do any other of them have the same problem? In a word, no. If you look at the Wikipedia website for government shutdown (and yes, there is indeed one) you learn a few quite interesting facts:

1. We do this to ourselves

It’s not Osama bin Laden, the communists, the hippies or the ghosts of Halloween doing this to us. No airplanes, bombs, chemicals, terror tactics or bags of candy are involved. The people doing this pass through TSA X-ray machines every day… and their underwear is clean. It’s us, or at least some of us, doing this to ourselves. More accurately, it’s our government, but with no help or hindrance from outsiders. Even lobbyists, the latest cadre of bad guys, seem to be sitting this one out… but of course we can never be totally sure of that, can we?

2. We are the only ones

Our leadership, the best government money can buy, according to some cynics, is the only one that imposes a debt ceiling on itself. Other countries like Japan, China, France, Britain, Germany, simply borrow what they need and carry on. Not to say they have no squabbles or disagreements among their parties and politicians, but none of them have imposed a debt ceiling on themselves which, when reached, shuts down their countries’ governments. (Well, there is one other country, Denmark, according to the Wikipedia article, that shares the dubious distinction of being creative in finding ways to shut down their government.)

3. This isn’t the first time

This is in fact the 17th time the United States Federal government has shut itself down in just a few years. In fact, since 1976, the average runs close to one government shutdown every two years or so. Okay, that includes postponements, but if you ignore those, the average still comes out not far from about once every four years.

This means we have a government imposing this phenomenon on its country, all by itself, on a regular basis. And we’re the only nation doing it.

What’s Going To Happen?

Of course, that’s the big question on everyone’s mind. As usual, there’s no shortage of questioners, or answerers, happy to fill pages and screens with their opinions. Here are a few answers you probably are not hearing:

1. Bureaucrats don’t starve

The way the shutdown was portrayed initially, it sounded like honest, hardworking bureaucrats will be furloughed without pay, through no fault of their own. It’s interesting to me that when workers at Boeing, Caterpillar or Wells Fargo get furloughed because of a recession, well, that’s bummer sad, but when government workers get furloughed for exactly the same reason (sorry, we don’t have money to pay you) somehow there’s an unspoken undertone of injustice, of innocence, and of needlessness. Why is that? Nobody else seems to have commented on that. Life happens. Did someone send a letter from heaven that government workers should be treated better than those working elsewhere?

However, in the past almost all Federal workers eventually received back pay. We have no reason to believe it will be any different this time. And so, a shutdown amounts to extra paid vacation for most affected workers, not quite the human drama portrayed in some quarters.

2. Government is not really serious about this

One of the best examples is the Department of Defense, those guardians entrusted with protecting us from all evil. Just minutes before the shutdown took effect, they pushed through about $ 5.5 billion of purchases (most of it classified under the conveniently vague heading of “parts”). Cynics can have a field day about that, but that’s not the best part.

While doing that, they also released a press release lamenting that, because of the shutdown, the Air Force/Navy football game would be canceled. One supposes the idea behind the announcement would have been to garner sympathy, and possibly even outrage, at the misery our government was absolutely forced to perpetrate on those it so longs to protect (and entertain).

It didn’t quite work out that way, though. A few sane people, not furloughed, pointed out that those games didn’t cost the armed forces anything. In fact, the games actually brought in money from ticket sales, $ 10 stadium hot dogs, and the billions of dollars Disney (through ESPN) pays all colleges to broadcast their games. In vintage bureaucrat fashion, the backpedaling was a lot quieter than the dramatic announcement. Life went on. (Navy won, 28-10.)

3. The nation discovers how little we miss the government

Traffic on the Beltway in Washington, D.C. reportedly was just as heavy after the shutdown as before. Some people are just hard to please, though. A shutdown HAS to impact the Beltway. Truck drivers, of all people, decided to step into the breach. If the government shutdown won’t close the Beltway, they will, by golly, according to the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, media members, fishing for dramatic human interest stories stemming from the shutdown are having a hard time finding any. Seems the National Parks Service, among allllllll the services our diligent government blesses us with, is the only one we we really miss. Not only are vacationers inconvenienced, but small businesses close to park entrances are being affected. But that seems to be about it. Here is the greatest country on earth, with by far the largest contingent of Pulitzer hunting media professionals money can buy, intently focused on scouring the earth for any crumb of drama, and the National Parks Service is all they can hang their hats on.

4. Investments are unaffected

Listening to some news reports, it sounded like the financial version of the end of the earth last week. “Dow crashes” screamed one headline. Not hardly. As of last Friday, the stock market didn’t seem to be moving any differently than its usual up-and-down pattern in the weeks before the shutdown.

Business Week had a video of an analyst who looked back on previous shutdowns to see if any of them had any effect on the stock market. Conclusion: if anything, the markets went up, not down, around and after the shutdowns.

The GDP, mathematically, includes the government, but it’s a small portion. Therefore, we can expect the GDP (“the economy”) for this quarter to be down by 0.x percent, where x won’t be all that large. Depending on when the politicians feel like doing their job again, that small number will be added back as all those back payments are made and all the usual purchases get made before the end of the fiscal year, so as not to lose the budget for the next year.

So the economy probably won’t be affected by the shutdown all that much. It never was in the past.

Summary

The fact that this is the seventeenth government shutdown is probably news to many. This is in stark contrast to the great stock market crashes of 1929, 1987 and 2008. We remember each one of those — we even give those days names with colors (Black Monday, for example).

The reality is that no previous government shutdown has affected the country as much as 9/11 or any of the stock market crashes. From all appearances, this one doesn’t look like it will be any different. We will still go see Gravity this weekend, still buy tickets to our favorite college football game, and still invest for the long term.

You are investing for the long term, aren’t you?


    







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Government shutdown: NAR, Starbucks both want it to end, but reluctant to take sides

Oct 11, 2013 by

Commentator: Calls for a bipartisan solution lets Republicans off the hook

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s petition for a bipartisan solution to the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is “dopey-yo” Daniel Gross writes in a column for The Daily Beast.

“The debt-ceiling brinksmanship and government shutdown are pure Republican enterprises,” Gross alleges, continuing in a lighter vein that GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee “identify with the Tea Party, not the Coffee Party.”

The National Association of Realtors likes to say it backs candidates that support the “Realtor Party” — which in practice means incumbent Democrats and Republicans with a track record of standing behind government subsidies for home ownership and other real estate-friendly policies.

Like Schultz, NAR President Gary Thomas took a bipartisan approach Thursday in pleading with lawmakers to resolve the crisis. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Thomas warned that a failure to resolve the crisis could be “disastrous” for the nation’s economy and “catastrophic” for the housing recovery, but refrained from placing blame on either party or recommending a specific course of action.

In a similar vein, Century 21 Real Estate is floating a tongue-in-cheek idea to end the impasse: have President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner literally meet in the middle — at a Century 21 listing in Sunnyvale, Calif., the midway point between Obama’s birthplace of Honolulu and Boehner’s hometown of Reading, Ohio.

The National Retail Federation this week urged House Republicans to relent, and pass both a continuing resolution to provide for funding of the federal government into the next fiscal year and a measure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, echoing similar statements from business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Sunnyvale Summit,” a satirical video posted by Century 21 on YouTube.com.

 

Copyright 2013 Inman News
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Federal Shutdown Leaves Lake Mead Homeowners Shut Out

Oct 7, 2013 by

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The shutdown of the federal government is really hitting home for some with cabins on Arizona’s Lake Mead. Several of them who’ve been leasing federal land for their vacation homes about 70 miles from Las Vegas were told to pack up and leave their cabins until a federal budget passes and the government is again operating at full capacity. The evictions reportedly are sending some of them scrambling for shelter.

Joyce Spencer Lake Mead homeowner
KVVU; Morning Rush

About 60 families with homes on federal parkland surrounding the lake were given notice last week, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They are all vacation homes and everybody who lives in them are considered visitors,” the paper quotes a spokeswoman for the Lake Mead Recreational Area as saying. The structures are privately built and owned, but the terms for those leasing the federal land under them includes having an alternate residence. Practically speaking, that apparently isn’t the case for everyone right now.

Joyce Spencer, 77, and her husband Ralph, 80, have had to stay in the family ice cream store and with relatives since the order was issued, reports Las Vegas TV station KTVN. Although she remembered his walker and scooter as they were leaving, she forgot her husband’s pants, Spencer (pictured above) told the station.

The National Park Service says it’s not going to force anyone to go pantsless, though. “If anybody needs to gather their personal belongings, we’re not going to deny them access,” the spokeswoman told the Review-Journal. “They just can’t spend the nights there or have barbecues during the day. They need to get in and get out.”

The newspaper says that after Hoover Dam was built — creating Lake Mead — federal land around it was leased at a low rate to encourage tourism, and that the annual rent for the land has gone from $ 500 to $ 2,400.

More stories related to housing and the federal shutdown:
How Government Shutdown Could Derail the Housing Recovery
How Mortgage Rates Are Rocking the Housing Market Rebound
Mortgage Applications Slip Even as Rates Fall

More on AOL Real Estate:
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foreclosures in your area.

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