Roundtable Leadership

Real Estate Roundtable Re-Elects Cafaro as Chair, Approves Five New Board Members; 2020 Annual Report Focuses on National Recovery

Real Estate Roundtable FY 2021 Board of Directors - image

The Real Estate Roundtable’s membership has re-elected Debra A. Cafaro (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ventas, Inc.) as Chair, while approving five new members for its Board of Directors who will serve during the organization’s 2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer presented the election results and the organization’s FY2020 Annual Report, Leading Though Crisis, during The Roundtable’s June 11 Annual Meeting

  • The 24-member FY2021 Board is elected from the membership and includes five elected leaders of national real estate trade organizations from The Roundtable’s 19 partner associations.  

  • Cafaro, whose three-year term as chair began July 1, 2018, said, "We are delighted to welcome five industry leaders to The Real Estate Roundtable Board.  Their outstanding backgrounds, broad industry representation and diverse experiences will enhance our ability to act as the cohesive industry voice addressing key national policy issues relating to real estate and the overall economy. With our existing Board members, we also intend to drive constructive solutions to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 and racial injustice, both of which are crucial to our society, the national economy, local communities and our industry.

  • I also sincerely thank our Board members whose terms have expired.  They have made significant contributions to the industry and we look forward to their continued engagement with The Roundtable,” Cafaro said. 

  • DeBoer stated, “Roundtable members are among the most talented and innovative industry leaders.   Our Board of Directors represents all major industry activities and is diverse geographically, racially and by gender.  The Board’s strategic and organizational decisions are thus sustainable, practical and inclusive.  I look forward to continuing to follow the Board’s recommendations as we continue our fact-based analysis of overall economic and industry specific policy issues.” 
  • Joining The Roundtable’s Board of Directors as of July 1 are:

National Recovery & Leading Through Crisis

Jeffrey DeBoer addresses how policymakers and the industry can move forward in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic in a July 10 CBRE podcast with Brian Stoffers, Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Global President of Debt & Structured Finance, CBRE.

  • DeBoer states in Public Policy in the Age of COVID: Shaping the CRE Recovery, “…look at what Washington has tried to do … building a bridge, in a sense, a bridge to get people and businesses to a point where they return to some semblance of normalcy. And the problem … is the bridge going to get us there as it's currently constructed? Is it long enough? Is it strong enough?”

  • He adds, “…there's a great deal of concern about that because the PPP – the Paycheck Protection Program – that helped people pay their rent and the unemployment and the supplemental … will it burn off at the same time that the economy regenerates itself? Or will there be this lapse? And if there is a lapse, that's really the focus, I think, of a great deal of concern right now.”

The Roundtable has also released its FY2020 Annual Report – Leading Though Crisis.

  • Chair Cafaro states in the report that as The Real Estate Roundtable beings its 21st year of industry policy work, the nation’s economy is in deep distress due to the COVID-19 health crisis and Americans’ civil protest is a justified expression of anger and frustration around racial injustice. 

  • “We pledge to take action and be part of the solution,” Cafaro states.  She adds that there is much to be done on the policy front ahead: “Although the challenges in these times are unprecedented, our response is based on the same longstanding commitment to sound, evidence-based, nonpartisan policy that undergirds all of our work and success. We know from experience that there is a path to recovery.”

The Roundtable’s Meeting Calendar for FY2021 is now available.  The next Fall Roundtable Meeting on September 22 is for Roundtable-level members only.  Registration forms for the remote meeting will be sent directly to members. 

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Infrastructure

House Democrats Pass $1.5 Trillion Climate-Focused Infrastructure Package While GOP Prioritizes Surface Transportation Funding

Transportation Infrastructure Seattle

House Democrats on July 1 passed a sprawling $1.5 trillion infrastructure package (the Moving Forward Act, H.R. 2) largely along party lines (233-188). The bill would reauthorize spending for the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit transportation – and also addresses housing, water, broadband, renewable energy, electric grid, and education infrastructure.  (Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, July 1) 

  • The broad Democratic package reflects the party’s blueprint for infrastructure priorities in the lead-up to the November elections. (Politico, July 1) H.R. 2 includes climate-related provisions that would require states to measure and reduce emissions from transportation systems, which account for the nation’s single largest source of greenhouse gases. (U.S. Energy Information Administration) 

  • H.R. 2 would also support mass transit and other low-emissions transportation modes with more money, and spur greater electrification of vehicle fleets.

  • H.R.. 2 faces steep GOP opposition. (E&E News, June 29) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the measure is “not going anywhere in the Senate” due to its price tag and focus away from highways and more traditional surface transportation funding. (The Hill, July 1)

  • The White House threatened to veto H.R. 2 because it includes “‘Green New Deal’ initiatives” and “fails to tackle the issue of unnecessary permitting delays, which are one of the most significant impediments to improving our infrastructure.”  (Statement of Administrative Policy, June 29) The Trump administration is reportedly preparing its own $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. (Reuters, June 15)

  • A core component of the House-passed legislation is a $494 billion surface transportation bill – the INVEST in America Act – that would reauthorize funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which is scheduled to expire on September 30. Action on the Highway Trust Fund has been considered a “must-do” policy item before the November elections (Roundtable Weekly, June 19 and June 26)

  • A National League of Cities survey shows that coronavirus-related expenses have forced more than 700 U.S. cities to suspend or terminate plans to upgrade critical infrastructure. (Washington Post, June 23)

Job-creating infrastructure legislation could become a major focus for lawmakers in the second half of 2020 as high unemployment levels linger amid increasing uncertainty about business reopenings during the pandemic.

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Flood Risk

New Data Shows Greater Flood Risk Across America, National Flood Insurance Program Funding Scheduled to Expire September 30

Flood Data map First Foundation

Properties across much of the United States face a far greater risk of flood damage then current estimates maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to new data from the First Street Foundation, a non-profit research and technology consortium.  (New York Times, June 29)

  • FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable federal insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.
  • Funding for NFIP is currently scheduled to expire on September 30, after numerous temporary extensions.  The federal government’s current flood maps guide homebuilders, owners and mortgage lenders about flood risk.
  • The First Street Foundation’s report, “The First National Flood Risk Assessment: Defining America’s Growing Risk” classifies 14.6 million properties as being at substantial risk from flooding, whereas FEMA classifies 8.7 million properties as facing the same risk.  (Axios, June 29)

  • In current climate conditions, 21.8 million properties are classified as at risk, according to the new report.  “When adjusting for future environmental changes, by 2050, this will raise the number of properties with any risk across the country by 7.7% percent to 23.5 million,” the report states.

  • Any home can be searched on First Street’s FloodFactor.com website, which will soon integrate its data with Realtor.com.

Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation said, “There are millions of Americans who have substantial flood risk and have no idea and now they’ll be able to access that ... Having that data available will change the perspective of flood risk in this country.”

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

On May 14, 2019, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously approved a five-year flood insurance reform and reauthorization bill – the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019 (H.R. 2578).

  • The bill would renew the NFIP until Sept. 30, 2024; forgive the NFIP’s remaining $20 billion debt and boost funding for mapping, floodplain management, and mitigation for homes, businesses and infrastructure.  It has not yet made it to the floor for a vote due to pressure from coastal state interests.

  • Meanwhile, the Trump Administration plans to overhaul government-subsidized flood insurance, in a sweeping proposal that could raise rates on more expensive properties and those in higher-risk areas. The proposal would take effect on Oct. 1, 2020. (Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2019)

  • Under the current NFIP, commercial property flood insurance limits are very low – $500,000 per building and $500,000 for its contents.  Lenders typically require this base NFIP coverage, and commercial owners must purchase Supplemental Excess Flood Insurance for coverage above the NFIP limits. 

  • Only a niche market of carriers typically provides this type of excess coverage and The NFIP's low commercial limits make it problematic for most commercial owners.

  • The Roundtable and its coalition partners support NFIP reauthorization with the inclusion of provisions that permit a voluntary "commercial exemption" for mandatory NFIP coverage if commercial property owners currently maintain adequate flood coverage.

Congress will face the possibility of yet another NFIP funding extension before September 30 if policymakers cannot agree on reforming the program through legislation.

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