LOCUS developers to meet in Washington, DC next week and call for overhaul of federal real estate programs

LOCUS Winter Meeting
LOCUS members gathered earlier this year at the coalition’s winter meeting.

Federal real estate programs could be doing more for families, taxpayers and communities, and a national coalition of real estate developers and investors will convene in Washington, DC next week to advocate for changes to these enormous programs.

LOCUS, Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, will gather in Washington and meet with members of Congress on October 8 and 9, 2013 to advocate for reforms to federal real estate programs that could broaden housing opportunities, revitalize cities and towns nationwide while saving taxpayers upwards of $33 billion a year.

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Senators introduce bi-partisan legislation that would improve the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

American Brewing Building, Baltimore, MD
The American Brewery Building in Baltimore, MD, was redeveloped with the help of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. Photo via the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In June Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 1141 The Creating American Prosperity Through Preservation (CAPP) Act, a bill that would encourage developers to invest in and restore historic buildings by updating the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program.

Since its inception in 1976, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program has leveraged more than $106 billion of private-sector investment to preserve and rehabilitate more than 38,000 historic properties. The credit program has rehabilitated more than 75,000 low- and moderate-income housing units. In fact, nearly 75 percent of Historic Tax Credit projects are in low-income areas.

LOCUS

Rethink Real Estate: Reform the Federal Housing Administration’s Single Family Home Program

HUD Headquarters in Washington, DC
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters in Washington DC. Photo by Ryan Orr via Flickr.

This is the second in a series of posts discussing recommendations from our new platform Federal Investment in Real Estate: A Call for Action. The series highlights what is lacking in current federal real estate policy and how our recommended improvements could generate better returns for families, communities and taxpayers.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has helped millions of families purchase their homes, and ensures mortgages are widely available during times of economic distress when banks and other financial institutions tighten lending standards. As the housing market rebounds, however, it’s time to refocus this program on its original mission.

LOCUS

Rethink Real Estate: Eliminate some rate subsidies from the National Flood Insurance Program

Clarksville, TN
Federally subsidized flood insurance makes it easier to build homes in flood-prone areas. Image via Wikimedia.

This is the first in a series of posts discussing recommendations from our new platform Federal Investment in Real Estate: A Call for Action. The series will highlight what is lacking in current federal real estate policy and how our recommended improvements could generate better returns for families, communities and taxpayers.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is intended to provide property owners and renters with a way to financially protect themselves from flood damage. Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the NFIP works closely with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to homeowners, renters and business owners.

LOCUS

Developers, smart growth experts outline changes to federal real estate policy in online event

On Thursday, July 25, Smart Growth America and LOCUS, which represents private-sector development interests from across the United States, held an online discussion introducing new recommendations for federal real estate programs.

Leading the discussion were Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America; Ilana Preuss, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America; Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS; Frank Alexander, Sam Nunn Professor of Law, Emory University; Dennis Allen, Director of Planning and Development, ZRZ Realty; Richard Baron, President, McCormack Baron Salazar; and Eric Larson, Managing Partner, Bedrock Real Estate Services.

LOCUS

Reigniting America’s real estate and housing markets through reform

This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill.

Today, the real estate industry finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) are leading the charge for tax and housing reform. On the other, we in real estate are wary of policy changes and the potential impacts on the recovering real estate market. But there may be a way forward. In January 2013, Smart Growth America (the parent organization of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors) released a study that surveyed 50 federal programs and found that between tax breaks, grants, loan guarantees and other programs the federal government spends or commits approximately $450 billion each year directly to the real estate market. The study found that much of that spending is uncoordinated and out of step with today’s market realities and demographic shifts.

As leaders in the real estate development community, we understand the positive impact federal involvement can have on the real estate market, and support a continued federal role in the sector. However, we also recognize the economy and real estate market have structurally changed, and policies and programs that spurred prosperity in previous generations can actually impede it today. We must ensure that every dollar invested in real estate is going to help the economic recovery – and that is why, we, LOCUS, a national coalition of real estate developers and investors in partnership with Smart Growth America developed a series of recommendations in a recent report, Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Action, proposing common sense reforms to existing programs.

LOCUS

No matter where you live, this affects you

No matter if you live in a single-family home, an apartment, a townhouse or a condo, federal real estate programs affect you.

From individual tax deductions to loan guarantees to commercial tax credits, these programs impact nearly every neighborhood in the United States. How could this spending better support economic growth? How could it better benefit individuals and families? And how could federal taxpayers get more for their money?

Join Smart Growth America and LOCUS, our coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, on Thursday as we answer these questions and discuss new ideas for federal involvement in real estate.

Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Action
Online teleconference and Twitter discussion
Thursday, July 25, 2013 – 11:00 AM EDT

LOCUS

Real estate developers are joining the call for policy reform

As President of LOCUS—Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors—I’ve spoken with developers and investors from across the country about how federal policies impact the U.S. real estate market.

Time after time, I’ve heard from colleagues that federal involvement in real estate needs to change.

That’s why I’m excited to join Smart Growth America next week to unveil a new platform for federal real estate program reform.

LOCUS

Join us for a live event on federal involvement in real estate

Federal real estate programs could be doing more for families, communities and taxpayers alike. Later this month we’ll unveil new policy recommendations for how Congress can make that happen.

Smart Growth America and LOCUS, our coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, have developed a set of policy recommendations for federal real estate programs. Join us for an online event about this new platform.

LOCUS