December 18, 2015

Dear Estefene,

Pat Zicarelli

This year is ending on a high note with some very good news for REALTORS® and California home buyers. 

Earlier this month, C.A.R. scored a huge victory when President Obama signed H.R. 22, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, which does NOT include an extension of the higher guarantee-fees set to expire in 2021.  While the Senate version of the long-term transportation bill included this “mortgage tax” to pay for transportation infrastructure, the final version does not, thanks to you!  

For the past several months, C.A.R. aggressively advocated and asked you to help defeat this provision in the bill. With your help, we were victorious in opposing this measure. This victory was made possible by the collective efforts of organized real estate at EVERY level – NAR, the 50 state associations, all the local associations, and most importantly, YOU the members. With the help of more than 29,000 California REALTORS® who contacted Congress to oppose this tax, we met our goal of exceeding a 20 percent response rate to the Call-for-Action. 

We are, however, disappointed that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it will keep the 2016 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at $417,000 on one-unit properties in most areas and a cap of $625,500 in high-cost areas.  Four California counties saw an increase in their loan limit due to higher home prices (Monterey from $502,550 to $529,000; Napa from $615,250 to $625,500; San Diego from $562,350 to $580,750; and Sonoma from $520,950 to $554,300). Home prices in California have risen sharply over the past four years, yet conforming loan limits haven’t changed during that time.  Not increasing the loan limits will hurt California’s housing market, further exacerbating housing affordability and preventing tens of thousands of California home buyers from a chance at homeownership. View the 2016 FHFA loan limits by county