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2023: That's a Wrap

By: Erin Stackley

The 118th Congress is halfway through its tenure, and a presidential election looms in less than a year. As Washington braces for what is sure to be an interesting 2024, let’s reflect on what the last year held – and what we may see in the next.

  • Government funding: Government funding bills have gone from being ordinary business to a battleground between political parties, chambers of Congress, and the Legislature and Executive branches – sometimes all at once. But funding the government is a fundamental responsibility of Congress, as it impacts programs that affect every aspect of American life – including housing finance programs, veterans’ benefits, healthcare, and, since it has been tied to the budget, reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Just the threat of a shutdown impacts financial markets and the U.S. economy. That is why, ahead of the September 30, 2023, deadline, NAR launched a “call-for-action” urging Congress to fund the government and to separately reauthorize the NFIP without lapse. Following those efforts, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution funding the government through mid-November, followed by a second CR funding agencies through either January 19 or February 2. When Congress once again debates this in 2024, NAR will once again advocate for the programs and agencies that play a role in the real estate industry’s position as a leading economic force.

  • Cannabis Income Banking: For the first time since it was originally introduced, legislation to create a safe harbor for banks to accept income derived from state-legalized cannabis sales progressed in the U.S. Senate when the Senate Banking Committee approved it by a bipartisan vote of 14-9 in September. NAR supports S. 2860, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act, which allows banks to accept such income, which includes not just that directly from cannabis sales but also from real estate professionals who sell, lease, or manage property related to the cannabis industry. At its introduction and ahead of the Committee vote, NAR sent letters of support for the bill, urging members to approve its passage. NAR is now focused on Senate floor passage and moving it through the House and into law.

  • Commercial Adaptive Reuse: The COVID-19 pandemic created fast changes in commercial property use, with many sectors – especially office – seeing higher vacancy rates due to increased remote work. Simultaneously, the nation faced a historic housing shortage, especially affordable. NAR has advocated for policies and incentives at the federal, state, and local levels to encourage conversion of underutilized commercial properties into housing and other uses that better serve their communities, and has specifically urged the Administration to consider this as part of its Housing Supply Action Plan. In October, the White House announced its “Action to Create More Affordable Housing by Converting Commercial Properties to Residential Use,” which provides information and new resources on existing grants and programs to reduce the costs of conversions, and creates a system for the White House and states and localities to share information and study existing processes and successful conversion programs.

  • Commercial Lending: Between 2024 and 2025 it is estimated that over $1.2 trillion in commercial loans will mature, many of which were originated under more favorable economic conditions – lower interest rates and a lower inflation – than they will be refinanced under. Absent action, this could lead to a massive drop in commercial property values around the country, further exacerbating damage to a sector which is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. NAR has partnered with other real estate trade groups to request that the federal financial regulators encourage lenders to be prudent and flexible when working with their commercial property borrowers, until market conditions improve to avoid lasting economic damage. NAR will continue to monitor this issue and urge policymakers to protect the commercial real estate sector and the U.S. economy into 2024 and beyond.


Media Contact
Alexis Fermanis SIOR Director of Communications
Erin Stackley
Erin Stackley

Erin Stackley, Commercial Legislative Policy Representative at the National Association of REALTORS®, monitors and analyzes federal legislative developments affecting the field of commercial real estate, and lobbies the U.S. Congress to make sure that their interests are addressed. Prior to joining NAR, Erin worked for the House of Representatives and had a legal fellowship with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).