What does the shutdown mean for Realtors?

Hank Hayes • Jan 15, 2019 at 8:00 PM

GRAY — An online survey of Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) members and affiliates found most respondents ( 63.7 percent) said the partial government shutdown has not yet affected their business.

Late last week, a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey of members found 75 percent reported no impact on their contract signings or closings. However, 11 percent of Realtors in the national survey and 32.2 percent of local respondents indicated an impact on their business. The impact is expected to increase the longer the shutdown continues.

“The U.S. housing market, already losing steam, is taking another hit from the government shutdown, delaying closing and damaging buyer confidence,” according to NAR.

NETAR President Karen Randolph said local Realtors are working with NAR and the state association to help clients navigate through this moment in time.

“Although the local market is not experiencing as much of an overall slowdown as the national level, any headwind to sales is a serious matter for both consumers and the local economy,” Randolph noted.

Most of the local effect is a delay of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. USDA is a leading mortgage lender in the 11-county region monitored by NETAR.

Some of the 127 local respondents (16 percent) said their clients have decided to wait until the shutdown is over to proceed.

“This delay to purchase is perhaps the biggest threat to local home sales,” Randolph said. “The longer the shutdown continues, the more pronounced impact it can have on consumer confidence.”

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “A home purchase is a major expenditure that simultaneously involves a high level of excitement and anxiety, and the current government shutdown adds another layer of unnecessary complication to the home buying process. The shutdown is causing tangible harm to potential buyers, the real estate market and economic growth.”

In a message to its members, NAR said, “While this is a very politically dynamic event, NAR staff continues to monitor federal agencies and work with Congress, the (Trump) administration and other groups to assess ongoing impacts to NAR members and their business.”

There was some relief for the real estate industry early in the week when IRS workers who handle salary verifications necessary for mortgages were declared essential personnel and told to go back to work.

A full NAR listing of the shutdown effects on the real estate industry can be found at: https://www.nar.realtor/what-a-government-shutdown-means-for-realtors.

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