March 2018

COAR recommends Central Oregon Opportunity Zones to the state

On March 14, COAR recommended various opportunity zones in Central Oregon cities to Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. Opportunity zones represent a policy that came out of the federal tax bill. Through this policy, certain low income census tracts can be designated as Opportunity Zones, allowing investment of taxable capital gains income directly into businesses, property, or land development in these tracts. The invested capital gains would have their federal tax bill deferred during the investment period and depending on the length of investment, could see the total bill decrease. Cities in Central Oregon are seeing this as an opportunity to generate new investment in certain areas, and COAR supported eligible census tracts submitted by city and economic development staff in the cities of Bend, Redmond, La Pine, Prineville and Madras. Governor Brown will select 86 census tracts to submit to the U. S. Department of the Treasury by April 20, 2018.

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New COAR flags for real estate sign locates help you mark the spot

COAR now offers free, white utility flags for members to use in marking the location of real estate signs before calling in a locate. Available in the COAR classroom, the flags will help locators recognize that the locate is for a real estate sign. It is suggested that a flag or stake be placed at the desired location of the sign before calling in a locate, and the caller should request only a 5-foot radius of the stake or flag be marked. This will help eliminate excess marking on the property that is for sale.

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Webinar: Marijuana in Real Estate Update

On April 18, OAR will host a webinar, “Marijuana in Real Estate Update: Changes on the National and State Level.” Speaker Marjorie Elken will review what changes have been enacted to marijuana laws and federal enforcement priorities and effects of those changes. Topics involving real "traps" and other key issues will also be discussed.

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Fed raises rates: What it means for mortgages

On March 21, the Federal Reserve voted to raise its short-term interest rates, and that likely will mean more mortgage rate increases are on the horizon. The Fed’s rates are not directly tied to mortgage rates but tend to follow 10-year Treasury bonds. However, mortgage rates are often influenced by the Fed’s rates. Following the Fed’s move, buyers will need to brace for further hikes, cautions Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “While they may find some days or weeks and maybe even a month or two where mortgage rates trend lower, the general direction in the months ahead is up.”

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Help shape policy at the 2018 OAR Legislative Conference

The 2018 Oregon Association of REALTORS® (OAR) Legislative Conference will take place April 11 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Salem Convention Center. The conference provides an opportunity to learn more about the issues impacting REALTORS®, as well as a forum to bring ideas and potential issues forward.

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Passage of FY 2018 spending bill critical step for affordable housing funding and flood reauthorization

On March 22, the U.S. House and Senate voted to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018. The 2,232-page bill contains important provisions related to housing that REALTORS® have been fighting for, including alleviating the weakening of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) from the new tax law, extending the EB5 program, extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until July 31st, doubling flood map funding to $263 million, up from $177 million in the previous year, and maintains funding for the flood mitigation, proofing and elevation of properties ($175 million), as well as the Office of the Flood Insurance Consumer Advocate ($5 million) to assist homeowners with concerns over flood mapping and/or insurance ratings.

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2018 flood insurance rates

On April 1, 2018, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premium rates are set to rise an average of 8%. This increase is slightly more than last year but consistent with the annual 5-10% increases prior to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which made significant reforms to the NFIP. Under 2014 Flood Insurance Affordability amendments, individual property owners could see a rate increase up to 18% for newer properties and 25% for older ones. With these April 1 changes, FEMA is also continuing to implement the next round of increases and other technical changes for the newly mapped and preferred risk properties.

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Upcoming Meetings

Deschutes County Board of Commissioners Business Meeting, April 2, 10:00 AM

Redmond City Council Workshop, April 3, 6:00 PM

Bend City Council Meeting, April 4, 5:00 PM

Crook County Court Work Session, April 10, 9:00 AM

Prineville City Council Meeting, April 10, 6:30 PM

Madras City Council Meeting, April 10, 7:00 PM

Sisters City Council Meeting, April 11, 5:00 PM

La Pine City Council Meeting, April 11, 6:00 PM

SROA Board of Directors Meeting, April 21, 9:00 AM

Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Meeting, TBA

COAR Government Affairs Video Library

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Have an issue that you feel we should be monitoring or taking action on? Are you interested in getting involved in COAR's government affairs efforts? Contact COAR's Government Affairs Director, Tyler Neese, at tyler@coar.com or 541-382-6027.

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