Magazine article American Banker

Industry Hopes to Capitalize on Capitol Hill Shift

Magazine article American Banker

Industry Hopes to Capitalize on Capitol Hill Shift

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Real estate brokers, home builders, and mortgage bankers expect that Republican control of Congress will yield rich rewards for their industries.

Lobbyists at industry trade groups expect the change will present new opportunities to curtail government regulation, as well as gain key measures to boost business.

"We are looking for potential opportunities," said Robert Bannister, senior vice president of government affairs at the National Association of Home Builders.

"It's going to be a positive impact," said Stephen D. Driesler, senior vice president of government affairs at the National Association of Realtors.

Homebuilders and realty brokers are expecting Republicans to deliver on two key pieces of legislation.

The first is a cut in the capital gains tax (to possibly half the current 28% level), which would make real estate a more desirable investment and help both industries.

"On average, real estate investments [are] held longer than stocks," said Mr. Driesler.

"Over that time, inflation really drives up the value of that property, not in real dollars, but inflationary dollars," he said.

A cut in the capital gains tax would mean that investors could expect to keep more of their investment gains.

Mr. Bannister said he expects a capital gains tax cut would encourage investors to cash in on their gains. "It would be much more economically feasible to sell that land," he said, and "help moderate housing development costs."

The second gain the groups are expecting is a bill that would restrict the government's power to protect endangered species and wetlands on private land, and expand the rights of private property owners vis-a-vis the government. …

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