WASHINGTON (July 6, 2012) – The National Association of Realtors® applauds Congress for passing a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was passed late last week as part of a transportation funding bill and signed into law by the President Friday, July 6, 2012. The legislation extends NFIP authority through September 30, 2017.
“As the nation’s leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, we are pleased that Congress has approved a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which ensures access to affordable flood insurance for millions of home and business owners across the country,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “Realtors® have been advocating a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP for years. The 5-year reauthorization will end the uncertainty of NFIP stopgap extensions and shutdowns and will help bring stability to real estate markets.”
NAR has long supported the NFIP, which protects property owners in more than 21,000 communities where flood insurance is required for mortgages. More than 5.6 million property owners rely on the program against flood-related disasters, which claimed more lives and property than any other natural disaster in the U.S. over the past century. In fact, floods are the most common natural disaster in the country; since 1990 floods have been declared in every state, along rivers and anywhere rain falls or snow melts.
Without the NFIP, families and business owners across the U.S. would go without essential flood protection, since the private market cannot guarantee the availability or affordability of flood insurance. The NFIP also saves taxpayers money, since it serves as an alternative to expensive federally funded disaster relief for flood victims.
For some time now, Congress has been approving short-term extensions of the NFIP authority to issue flood insurance policies. Since September 2008 there have been more than 17 extensions, and authority has been allowed to expire two times, delaying or cancelling 1,300 real estate transactions each day of the lapse, according to NAR research. During the June 2010 lapse, NAR survey data estimates that more than 40,000 home sales were delayed or cancelled, which undermined home buyer and investor confidence.
“Realtors® praise Congress for its bipartisan leadership on this issue and thank Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); as well as Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La.) for their efforts,” said Veissi. “Available and affordable flood insurance is essential to properly functioning real estate markets, and the certainty of a 5-year reauthorization will allow long-term real estate investments that are vital to the U.S. economic recovery.”