As the book closes on 2020 and we all hope for brighter days in 2021, I want to take a minute to reflect upon these past 12 months. Though we’ve been through so much here in America and around the world, there is reason to celebrate. To celebrate our resiliency, our progress, our success, and our optimism for the year ahead.

So much has changed in the nine months since COVID-19 took its grip on the globe. Our economy has been flipped on its head and real estate has been forever changed, like virtually every industry has. But today, the role REALTORS® play in Americans’ lives and in the policy decisions that shape this nation has never been more clear.

In March, as we began to realize the economic toll this pandemic would take, years of investment and relationship-building on Capitol Hill allowed NAR to quickly mobilize on behalf of REALTORS®. And those efforts immediately paid dividends for our 1.4 million members throughout the United States.

NAR’s lobbying initiatives helped secure access to Paycheck Protection Program loans, paid sick and family leave, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and direct stimulus payments, among other critical relief measures.

With one-in-five NAR members reporting to have a taken a PPP loan, it’s safe to say the real estate industry would have been crippled without this program. Instead, REALTORS® survived the storm and today continue to lead America’s economic recovery and revitalization.

While none of us will be sad to see 2020 behind us, of course we know that many of our problems still remain. In addition to ongoing COVID-19 relief negotiations on Capitol Hill, NAR opens 2021 focused on continuing to advocate for tax incentives for homeownership and construction of affordable housing, preserving the critical 1031 like-kind exchange, protecting housing providers and commercial real estate, and fighting for more inclusive national housing policy, among so many other key priorities.

As we close what has been a trying, tragic and very long year, I take heart in knowing that REALTORS® have helped keep this nation and our economy afloat over these difficult months, but I am not surprised by it.

NAR’s policy work paid off at a time when things seemed darkest and kept business moving and prevented from disappearing. The REALTOR® message continues to come through so clearly on Capitol Hill because the issues that matter to real estate matter to our nation. And the reasons why that is have never been more apparent.