Realtors Pony Up Another $2 Million to Kill Phantom Tax

The National Association of Realtors pumped another $1.3 million in support of the Measure 79 campaign, which seeks to amend the Oregon constitution to prohibit real estate transfer taxes. State filings show the Oregon Association of Realtors added an additional $700,000. The two groups have now put up more than $5 million to ban a practice that has already been illegal in Oregon since 1989 (except for a one-tenth of a percent tax in Washington County which predated that 1989 law).

As WW previously reported, proponents of the constitutional ban have produced misleading campaign propaganda that could lead voters to believe that a transfer tax is imminent but repeated attempts to pass such legislation in Salem have met with dismal failure.

Repeat home buyers fuel housing recovery

(MoneyWatch) Across most of the country, home prices remain affordable and rents continue to rise. And while today’s investors are helping the housing recovery, they’re not completely responsible. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that traditional repeat buyers are driving today’s market.

According to a recent joint survey by BiggerPockets.com and Memphis Invest, 39 percent of investors plan to buy more properties over the next 12 months than they did over the last year. Twenty-six percent of investors plan to purchase the same number of properties.

“Though housing markets are changing across the nation, investors are still seeing great opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and short sales are coming to market and rents are continuing to improve in most markets, creating a positive environment for the nation’s 2.81 million residential real estate investors,” Joshua Dorkin, founder and CEO of BiggerPockets.com, said in a press release.

“They will certainly continue to be major player in the nation’s housing economy for the foreseeable future,” he added.

According to the survey, one out of eight — or 28.1 million Americans — either consider themselves to be residential real estate investors or own residential investment properties today, according to the survey. That high number is not surprising when you consider many homeowners are renting out properties they’d rather sell.

NAR data shows investors accounted for an average 22 percent of the market share from 2003 to 2011.

There are perks to investors taking an active interest in today’s real estate market. With millions of Americans actively investing in real estate, billions of dollars are being poured into repairs. The results of the survey reveal that real estate investors are spending more than the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to rehabilitate neighborhoods.

Recent NAR data suggests that investors absorbing the over-supply of inventory helped stabilize the housing market. Residential real estate investors have spent more than four times the amount of money HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program has to repair foreclosed and short-sale homes, the BiggerPockets.com/Memphis Invest survey says.

At a median expenditure of $7,500 per property owned, investors are spending a total of $9.2 billion per year to repair the damage caused by foreclosures. By comparison, Congress has authorized a total of about $7 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program over the past four years.

Investors continue to purchase single-family homes as investment property

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Chris Clothier, a partner with Memphis Invest, believes investors are improving neighborhoods and driving local economies. They are purchasing properties that would otherwise sit vacant for months, dragging down area home prices, and using local electricians, plumbers and labor to update the homes. “Those dollars provide jobs and put money into local economies. It’s clear that investors are the ones who are risking their own money to improve and stabilize neighborhoods for new owners or tenants,” Clothier said in a press release.

Investor activity has benefited the housing market, but there’s a downside too. “Investors have been largely purchasing with all-cash, which puts first-time buyers at a significant disadvantage,” Walter Molony, a NAR spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Both investors and entry-level buyers have been focused on low price ranges, with investors winning the deals since they don’t have a need for financing.”

Molony points out that the situation has flipped in 2012, as the supply-demand situation is now balanced in much of the country — except for the West and Florida, where NAR says housing shortages are putting pressure on home prices.

So while the BiggerPockets.com/Memphis Invest survey shows investors planning to continue purchasing and rehabbing property, NAR data shows the overall investor market share is on the decline. The drop started in March, and since April investor market share has averaged 18 percent — below its long-time average of 22 percent.

Investors certainly help fuel the housing recovery, but NAR data shows they aren’t the driving force. “First-time homebuyers are also below their long-term average with housing shortages in the low price ranges and a headwind of tight credit,” notes Molony. “At present, the market is being driven by an increase in traditional repeat buyers.”

NAR Talks Directly to America’s Property Owners

As “The Voice for Real Estate” for more than 100 years, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has turned up the volume on its consumer-facing communications, and consumers are listening. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Policymakers are considering sweeping changes to federal government programs and incentives that could dramatically change the nature of homeownership for years to come.

NAR is vitally aware of the importance of preserving the American Dream of homeownership—for its members as well as for consumers. In fact, research shows the significant positive effect homeownership has on individual net worth, civic participation, educational achievement and overall quality of life in communities across America.

REALTORS® and Consumers Working Together

Ultimately, NAR wants to establish a marriage of common interest with REALTORS® and consumers—enlisting them to take action and become advocates for real estate issues—with the goal of working together to preserve access to homeownership, and making NAR the voice for real estate consumers as well.

Regularly leveraging a variety of channels, including national print and electronic media campaigns, a website and a national real estate-themed radio show to reach consumers, NAR recently introduced a comprehensive direct-to-consumer communications plan. The plan is designed to reach every homeowner and potential homeowner in the United States—a prospective 80 million households over the next three years.

NAR’s direct-to-consumer outreach will ensure that REALTORS® go beyond the transaction and are involved in the entire lifecycle of homeownership. Through a powerful combination of bought, owned, leveraged and earned media, NAR will reach the average homeowner more than 40 times per year over the next three years for a total of more than 509 million impressions per month with clear, concise, consistent and repetitive messaging.

Public Awareness/Public Advocacy Campaign

For more than a decade, NAR’s Public Awareness Campaign has been effective in establishing the professionalism of REALTORS® as trusted experts to help consumers in the process of buying and selling a home. Key issues highlighted nationally to consumers and public policymakers include access to affordable mortgage financing, tax incentives for homeownership, overly stringent credit requirements and cumbersome short sales and foreclosures.

Now the focus of the campaign has shifted to advocacy, with its newest TV and radio spot, “Moving Pictures,” highlighting positive messages about the benefits of homeownership to children, families and communities.

Real Estate Today Radio Program

On radio stations nationwide, satellite, podcasts and mobile phones, NAR’s “Real Estate Today” radio program opens doors for buyers and sellers with critical, credible information on the real estate market. This fast-paced and fact-packed program with experts, interviews, call-ins, field reports, and timely market conditions is heard on over 185 stations in all 50 states and has over five million listeners per month.

HouseLogic

NAR’s HouseLogic website is a free source of information and tools that help homeowners make smart decisions and take responsible actions to maintain, protect and enhance the value of their home. With nearly one million unique visitors per month, homeowners are depending on HouseLogic to plan and organize their home projects. HouseLogic provides timely articles and news, home improvement advice, and how-tos and information about taxes, home finances and insurance.

In addition, through the REALTOR® Content Resource, NAR members can repurpose articles from HouseLogic for their consumer communications. These articles, which cover all aspects of homeownership, including home buying and selling, are ready when and how brokers choose to use them—Facebook, Twitter, email, website, blog or handouts.

An Ongoing Commitment as the Voice for Real Estate

By fostering consumer advocacy, and an ongoing relationship between real estate professionals and consumers, NAR will continue to be the trusted voice for real estate, and ensure that the American Dream of homeownership is preserved for generations to come.

Sources: www.realtor.org/pac.nsf/pages/pachome, www.retradio.comm, www.houselogic.com

ETHICS: President-Elect of Real EstateTrade Association Declares Bankruptcy …

By David M. Kinchen

After writing the story about Orange County, California Realtor Gary Thomas, who has declared personal and corporate bankruptcy, stepping up to be president of the National Association of Realtors in November 2012 I decided to turn the story into an ethics column.

 

If everything goes as planned, Thomas, 68, of Mission Viejo (Orange County) California, NAR president-elect, will be sworn in as president of one of the nation’s largest trade associations at the NAR convention in Orlando, FL. Nov. 9-12.

According to the Orange County Register, Thomas formed his first RE/MAX franchise in 1985 and eventually ran 14 RE/MAX offices in Orange County. But financial problems forced Thomas to quit RE/MAX and form his own chain, Altera Real Estate, in 2008. The only problem to some NAR members is that veteran Realtor Thomas has filed for personal and corporate bankruptcy, with combined debts of $13.2 million and assets of $1.7 million.

 

In January 2011, Thomas’ corporation filed for bankruptcy. He filed for personal bankruptcy this past June.

On Friday, Oct. 5, Stephanie Singer of NAR’s Washington DC office confirmed to me that Thomas will be the 2013 president of NAR. She said there will be no change in the succession to the top spot in the Chicago-based Realtors.

Former Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Lacter, writing for the LA Observed site said on Oct. 4:

“Next month a fellow named Gary Thomas becomes president of the National Association of Realtors, which is a big deal because it makes him a spokesman for the nation’s real estate industry. But as reported by the OC Register, Thomas had to file for personal and corporate bankruptcy because of the housing crash. His debt totals $13 million. Is this the sort of guy who should be leading NAR?

“‘The real truth is hundreds of thousands of Realtors didn’t file bankruptcy and managed their businesses – and honored their commitments,’ said RE/MAX President Vinnie Tracey. NAR President Moe Veissi said a long and arduous vetting process took place over years before Thomas was picked for president and that an additional inquiry was launched in response to Tracey’s concerns. Thomas answered questions to the board’s satisfaction. ‘It’s at least a five- to seven-year process to get into a position to be considered as president,’ Veissi said. ‘He’s been vetted and is qualified to lead the National Association of Realtors.'”

OK, so what he’s doing is perfectly legal, but what about the ethics in the matter?

 

I sent the story to a friend who has spent decades covering real estate, as I did at The Milwaukee Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times. Here is his response:

 

“The solution seems like Thomas should withdraw gracefully, saying he needs to focus on pressing business and cannot serve at this time. I woul like to know if this is Ch 7 (meltdown/closedown) or Chaper 11 (reorganization) on these two filings. Not an easy issue though. The PR person at NAR is earning her keep on this one.”

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Realtors pour another $1.3 million into Measure 79 anti-tax campaign; is it a sign of trouble?

pendingsale.jpgThe real estate industry has so far put more than $4.6 million into a ballot measure this fall to ban new fees and taxes on real estate sales in Oregon.The National Association of Realtors reported over the weekend that it has put another $1.3 million into the campaign in favor of Oregon’s Measure 79, which would ban new taxes and fees on real estate sales.

The state and national Realtors have now put in more than $4.6 million for their fall campaign to amend the state Constitution to ban such taxes.  That’s a lot of money for a ballot measure that faces only low-dollar opposition.

Jon Coney, the spokesman for the Yes on 79 campaign, says proponents always envisioned a “robust” campaign in favor of it.

But there are also signs that the the Realtors put the extra money in because Measure 79 is a difficult sell with voters.  The most intriguing bit of information comes from Our Oregon, a labor-backed group opposed to the measure.

Scott Moore, the group’s communications director, said an August poll conducted for Our Oregon read voters the ballot title and asked for their opinion.  Only 22 percent said yes and a whopping 57 percent said they were against.

“They know they have a significant problem with voters,” said Moore, “and that’s why they have to dump millions of dollars into their campaign.”

Coney said the Our Oregon polling “seem significantly lower than what we have seen.”  But he conceded that his group’s surveys show that “voters need to be educated” to get them into the yes category.

“We’re in a position of saying vote yes to vote no on real estate taxes,” said Coney, “so there are tricky dynamics there.”

Whatever the case, opponents are enjoying the possibility that Realtors may be struggling.   “You don’t dump another $1 million in at this point when you’ve got no opposition unless something is up,” said Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association.

His group also opposes the measure but doesn’t plan to spend any money fighting it.  Our Oregon criticizes the measure in its direct mail pieces but also doesn’t plan an expensive opposition campaign.

Moore, Deckert and other critics say there is no need for the constitutional ban.   The Oregon Legislature has already banned localities from imposing new real estate transfer fees and there has been no serious move to do so at the state level.

But officials from the Oregon Association of Realtors have argued that they want to foreclose the possibility of turning to real estate fees, which some states have used to raise significant revenue.

–Jeff Mapes

Realtors pour another $1.3 million into Measure 79 anti-tax campaign; is it a …

pendingsale.jpgThe real estate industry has so far put more than $4.6 million into a ballot measure this fall to ban new fees and taxes on real estate sales in Oregon.The National Association of Realtors reported over the weekend that it has put another $1.3 million into the campaign in favor of Oregon’s Measure 79, which would ban new taxes and fees on real estate sales.

The state and national Realtors have now put in more than $4.6 million for their fall campaign to amend the state Constitution to ban such taxes.  That’s a lot of money for a ballot measure that faces only low-dollar opposition.

Jon Coney, the spokesman for the Yes on 79 campaign, says proponents always envisioned a “robust” campaign in favor of it.

But there are also signs that the the Realtors put the extra money in because Measure 79 is a difficult sell with voters.  The most intriguing bit of information comes from Our Oregon, a labor-backed group opposed to the measure.

Scott Moore, the group’s communications director, said an August poll conducted for Our Oregon read voters the ballot title and asked for their opinion.  Only 22 percent said yes and a whopping 57 percent said they were against.

“They know they have a significant problem with voters,” said Moore, “and that’s why they have to dump millions of dollars into their campaign.”

Coney said the Our Oregon polling “seem significantly lower than what we have seen.”  But he conceded that his group’s surveys show that “voters need to be educated” to get them into the yes category.

“We’re in a position of saying vote yes to vote no on real estate taxes,” said Coney, “so there are tricky dynamics there.”

Whatever the case, opponents are enjoying the possibility that Realtors may be struggling.   “You don’t dump another $1 million in at this point when you’ve got no opposition unless something is up,” said Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association.

His group also opposes the measure but doesn’t plan to spend any money fighting it.  Our Oregon criticizes the measure in its direct mail pieces but also doesn’t plan an expensive opposition campaign.

Moore, Deckert and other critics say there is no need for the constitutional ban.   The Oregon Legislature has already banned localities from imposing new real estate transfer fees and there has been no serious move to do so at the state level.

But officials from the Oregon Association of Realtors have argued that they want to foreclose the possibility of turning to real estate fees, which some states have used to raise significant revenue.

–Jeff Mapes

Realtors concur, market is improving


Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 12:00 am
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Updated: 1:25 am, Sun Oct 7, 2012.


Realtors concur, market is improving

By KIM COOPER/Special to The Press

The Coeur d’ Alene Press

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0 comments

Last week at The Coeur d’Alene Resort more than 220 Realtors converged to conduct the business of the Idaho Association of Realtors, participate in continuing education and network with peers from across the state. In conversations with these Realtors we gained a “boots on the ground” perspective from all corners of the state and communities of all sizes. The consensus? “The market is improving.” Many lamented their decreasing inventory and told stories of multiple offers on well priced listings, much the same as we have seen locally.


It is easy sometimes to be engulfed by local conditions so it is great, at least once a year, to get a broader perspective, especially when the perspective from geographically distant areas is the same as here at home. We all experience the same challenges with delays in transactions as discussed last week yet we share the optimism that the real estate market is beginning to take on characteristics more like a “normal” market.

Locally we are seeing inventory shrink as properties are sold. At September’s end we see our year over year comparison of available residential listings is nearly 13 percent below last year at the same time and our inventory of all types of real estate is off by nearly 12 percent. As available listings decrease, we see prices begin to rise.

In Kootenai County, our average price for a site built home on its own lot reflects a 10 percent increase over September 2011 while our median price is up by 12 percent. As inventory absorption continues to escalate in our outlying areas we anticipate price appreciation there as well. Most parts of our Multiple Listing Service area reflect a higher number of sales with the exception of South Kootenai County where sales are 43 percent fewer than last year, yet their average price is up by 6 percent.

Post Falls has remained steady and although we have seen three less home sales there this year, their average price has increased by a healthy 5 percent. Reporting agents in Bonner and Boundary counties and in the Silver Valley are reporting double digit increases in sales activity but the persistently deflated values continue to provide buyers with lots of opportunity to save – at least in the short term.

Distressed properties which at one time were half our sales have declined to 35 percent in our most recent statistical report. As you recall, “distressed” includes those properties that are selling for less than is owed, or “short sales,” and properties that are lender owned due to foreclosure or surrender of deeds to lenders by the homeowner. This year we have seen 25 percent fewer lender owned properties sell and our short sales have increased by 20 percent. This indicates that lenders are more willing to help debtors avoid costly foreclosure proceedings by settling their loans at a discount which arguably is less damaging to the borrower’s credit.

We have also seen a significant increase in the percentage of homes sold in the $200-300,000 range, a sign that lower mortgage interest rates are allowing people to afford more home. That price range last year represented 15.5 percent of our sales whereas this year more than 19 percent of our home sales are in that range.

Waterfront home sales increased a whopping 60 percent over last year’s total number but at an average price that was still 9 percent below last year indicating that buyers are still finding bargain priced vacation homes. At the current pace however, it is more than likely those prices will soon begin to escalate.

Our investment property sales are spot on with last year although their accumulated value is nearly half of the total dollar volume the previous year. History tells us that commercial property recoveries lag behind residential so we look for those properties to gain value too in the coming months.

The National Association of Realtors has told us for years that, “All real estate is local.” It is encouraging then to note that local real estate in all locales – at least in Idaho – is improving.

Trust an expert…call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.

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Just plain wrong

The Oct. 2 article in The Sun is a perfect example of why we should pass Proposition 32.

The National Association of Realtors is spending $1,237,051 in support of Gary Miller, of Los Angeles County, in his campaign against our local candidate, Bob Dutton from Rancho Cucamonga, for U.S. Congress in the 31st District.

Bob Dutton has served at the state levels for many years and has been exemplary in his support for our community. He has my support and so does the National Association of Realtors.

My support for Mr. Dutton is by choice. My support for the NAR is by way of annual dues. My company and local association of Realtors makes it mandatory to pay NAR, CAR and EVAOR dues annually. NAR, CAR and EVAOR do a lot of good for our profession. However, when it comes to the fact that they are taking my money and supporting a candidate who is running against the candidate I support, it is just plain wrong.

It was the same way when I was a union plumber for Local 393 back in the 1960s and 1970s. I paid union dues and they often supported candidates that were running against the candidates of my choice. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

If I want to donate money to a person’s campaign, that is my right. I don’t have the right to donate someone else’s money and neither should any union, corporation, PAC group or anyone else without the consent of the person’s money they are using.

You listen to the commercials for both sides

of this issue and you don’t know who to believe. You can believe this: If we don’t start now to eliminate big business, PACs, unions and special-interest groups from influencing our legislators we never will have a say in our government.

The time has come to pass Proposition 32. If it is not perfect, we can lobby our legislators to amend it and make it perfect. Then, If you want to donate to someone’s campaign, individually, go ahead. It is your choice and that is the way it should be.

It is time for the people to take back control of our country and this just might be the first step.

FRANK IMBERT

Redlands

Column: Backyards are highly overrated

Source: USA TODAY

After a dreary few years, the housing market is showing signs of life. A mid-September report from the National Association of Realtors found that home resales rose 7.8% in August from a year before. New housing starts are up, too, which has people thinking about what kind of space they’d like to live in. One major focus of this question? The great outdoors.

According to a survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 64% of architecture firms are reporting increased interest in outdoor living spaces: places for adults to relax; places for the kids to play. People want “a luxurious outdoor world, to get away from their everyday lives at home instead of having to go somewhere,” says Janet Bloomberg, with KUBE Architecture.

There’s just one problem: Evidence shows that for all we lust after outdoor sanctuaries, such retreats have little to do with the lives we actually live. Neither adults nor children spend much leisure time outdoors, and in making the trade-offs to have private outdoor space, we could be making ourselves less happy overall.

Mistaken impression

Anyone who studies how Americans spend their time eventually comes to a stark conclusion: Impressions and reality differ a great deal. A fascinating book published this summer, which came to a similar discovery, was Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, the result of an anthropological study of middle-class Los Angeles families. Researchers from UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families recorded hours of footage, documented possessions, and clocked how people spent their days to the minute.

Few of those minutes turn out to be spent outside.

Children averaged fewer than 40 minutes per week in their yards. Adults spent less than 15 minutes of time per week in their yards. These families had sunny Southern California weather. They had nice porch furniture, trampolines, even pools. They just didn’t use them. Many families told researchers that they used their backyards all the time, but then were rarely observed out there in this multiyear study.

The great indoors

Jeanne Arnold, one of the lead researchers, pinpoints two main culprits: first, general busy schedules (work, school, activities); but second, the prevalence of media options, which “seem like magnets, whether it’s television or computers or video game consoles.” Rather than use their outdoor retreats, people would retreat by turning on a screen. People don’t like this image of their lives. So they don’t acknowledge it — to researchers, or with their budgets.

“They’re willing to spend to sort of perpetuate that illusion,” says Arnold. By having nice yards, pools and decks, they could “attempt to project something that’s not necessarily going on, but is clearly ideal” — a family that spends time together outside.

All this would be humorous, except that yards come with externalities. A family moves to the exurbs for a private patch of green. But to buy less than six minutes a day of play and 2 minutes of adult leisure, the parents pay with increased commutes. The Census reports that the average commute is about 50 minutes a day, and battling traffic seldom makes people happy. One 2004 study in Science of Texas working women found that commuting ranked at the absolute bottom of the happiness scale on any given day.

To be sure, even if a backyard isn’t used, it can still bring happiness. Leonard Kady, chairman of the AIA’s Small Project Practitioners group, notes that “you’re always looking into the space.”

But the broader point is that, while a private, beautiful yard seems part of the American dream, Americans spend little time using those yards we pay dearly to get and upgrade. If the kids are just going to play Nintendo, or you’re just going to watch TV, better to live close to work, even if there’s no yard, so you can be home more to enjoy the screens.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, is a member of USATODAY’s Board of Contributors.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors.

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Realtors PAC spends more than $1 million on Inland Empire congressional race …

A national political action committee representing the National Association of Realtors is spending big money to support Rep. Gary Miller’s effort to remain in Congress.

The National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund has reported its expenditure of $355,000 in independent direct-mail expenditures to support Miller’s campaign. That figure dwarfs all independent expenditures made in support of Miller’s opponent, but is a mere fraction of the total amount the Realtors group has spent supporting Miller’s candidacy.

In all, the National Association of Realtors’ “super PAC” has made more than $1.2 million of independent expenditures through the primary and general election campaigns to support Miller, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Miller is running against state Sen. Bob Dutton in the newly drawn 31st Congressional District. Both candidates are members of the Republican Party and are competing under a new California law that calls for the top two finishers in the June primary to compete in the General Election, regardless of party affiliation.

The district spans from the Upland area in the west to the Redlands area in the east. Miller, who now represents the 42nd District, recently moved to Rancho Cucamonga so he could run in the new 31st.

Independent expenditures are those made for or against a candidate without that candidate’s involvement. Direct expenditures are those over which a candidate has control.

Both candidates in the 31st District race have professional backgrounds in real estate and position themselves as pro-business candidates.

Miller, however, is already a congressman and serves on the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. housing industry.

“We have a policy of supporting incumbents, and Rep. Miller has been a supportive incumbent extraordinaire. He’s a real champion of homeownership,” said Scott Reiter, the political director for the National Association of Realtors.

Reiter went on to say the Realtors’ PAC is spending so heavily because of the considerable expense of running television advertisements and other measures intended to capture the attention of Southern California voters.

Democrat Brad Sherman is the only other California candidate seeking a House seat who has benefitted from National Association of Realtors independent expenditures. The Realtors PAC has spent about $1.15 million to support Sherman, who is competing against fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman to represent the western San Fernando Valley.

Like Miller, Sherman serves on the Financial Services Committee.

One issue in which Reiter says the Realtors group and Miller stand in a agreement is their opposition to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s plans to sell foreclosed homes in bulk to large concerns.

In April, Miller and other local lawmakers including Reps. Joe Baca, Jerry Lewis and Grace Napolitano wrote a letter opposing the federal agency’s plan to sell foreclosed homes in bulk to institutional investors.

The FHFA has moved forward with that plan.

In September, the agency announced that 699 Florida homes would be sold in bulk as part of a pilot program housing authorities have said will also be tried in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Dutton campaign consultant Chris Orrock said his side is no longer surprised by the amount of independent expenditures flowing into the race and is counting on Dutton’s record in the Legislature being able to overcome Miller’s fundraising advantage.

Orrock also asserted the Realtors’ support for Miller would compromise the latter’s independence.

“They know they can get to him at any time,” Orrock said.

Dutton has received just short of $70,000 from another PAC, Inland Empire Taxpayers for Jobs. That group’s contributors include Ontario-based hospital management firm Prime Healthcare Services, Burrtec Waste Industries and Ted Dutton, the candidate’s father.

Thus far, Miller has a roughly 15-to-1 advantage in independent expenditures over Dutton. He also leads in direct contributions, having raised nearly $858,000 to Dutton’s $169,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Congressman Miller’s strong record as a job creator and supporter of small businesses is well documented and reflected by the organizations that have come out in support of his reelection,” Miller campaign manager Chris Marsh said.

Miller’s top contributors include Votesane PAC, a Virginia-based entity that appears to allow the public to direct contributions to favored candidates and has given Miller $48,000. Lytle Development has contributed $12,500, and such organizations as American Maritime Officers, Associated Builders and Contractors, Boeing Co. and Edison International have each given $10,000.

Prime Healthcare Services is Dutton’s top direct contributor, having given $12,500. Westates Holdings donated $7,000, and Burrtec Waste Industries, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Urban Advisors Inc. have each given $5,000.


Reach Andrew via email, call him at 909-483-8550, or find him on Twitter @InlandBizz.