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HousingWire, Tuesday, January 24, 2017
(RECAP: The Committee On Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs unanimously voted to approve Ben Carson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday morning as his nomination process nears the final leg. From here, Carson’s nomination moves to the Senate floor for consideration. The date is up to Republican leaders and not yet set. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs stated during the sessions that HUD would benefit from having a secretary with a different perspective and a different background.)
CNBC, Tuesday, January 24, 2017
(RECAP: House hunters out this spring will have to pound more and more pavement to find their home sweet home. The number of for-sale listings fell again in December to the lowest level since 1999, according to the National Association of Realtors. There were just 1.65 million homes for sale at the end of December, which at the current sales pace would take only about 3 ½ months to exhaust. A normal, balanced market has about a six-month supply. The shortage is being driven by surging demand and weak home construction. Single-family housing starts continue to rise, but very slowly each month. Builders are still operating at well below normal construction levels, and that doesn't even account for pent-up demand from the housing crisis and growing household formation. Tight supply is pushing home prices past their peaks in some markets and well past income growth nationally. Mortgage rates were historically low in 2016, helping to offset the higher prices, but that is not the case this year.)
NCSHA, Monday, January 23, 2017
(RECAP: On January 19, HUD published interim guidance on how states should comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule until HUD finalizes the state Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool. HUD also provided an update on its efforts to finalize the state Assessment Tool and the other assessment tools it is developing for other HUD program participants. The AFFH final rule required state agencies to submit an AFH no later than 270 calendar days prior to the start of the program year beginning January 1, 2018, for which a new consolidated plan is due. However, it also stated that no AFH will be due before the publication of the Assessment Tool applicable to the program participant, and that HUD must provide program participants a minimum of nine months after the publication of their Assessment Tool before their AFH is due.)
NCSHA, Monday, January 23, 2017
(RECAP: The FHFA recently published proposed Evaluation Guidance that outlines FHFA’s expectations for how the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will develop their plans to fulfill their obligations under the “Duty to Serve” rule. The guidance also describes the evaluative process FHFA will use to determine whether each GSE has met the objectives of its Duty to Serve plan. The Duty to Serve rule requires Fannie and Freddie to support lending for housing for low-income families in three underserved segments of the housing finance market: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural areas. To facilitate these activities, the GSEs are obligated to submit to FHFA once every three years an Underserved Market Plan outlining how they to intend help support housing for very low-, low- and moderate-income families (those earning 100 percent of area median income or below) in the specified markets. FHFA is soliciting public comments on the draft Evaluation Guidance through May 12.)
Novogradac, Monday, January 23, 2017
(RECAP: Last fall’s election outcome greatly increased the likelihood of changes in the Internal Revenue Code, including a reduction in corporate tax rates. Because of this possibility, corporations are analyzing potential consequences for their investments in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties. As a result the LIHTC equity market is experiencing significant disruption. However, it’s important to note there is no shortage of demand for LIHTCs. Rather, the current questions involve pricing, with many closings delayed, and those deals that are going forward being closed with notably less equity.)
Scotsman Guide, Monday, January 23, 2017
(RECAP: The Trump administration’s move last week to suspend indefinitely a planned insurance-premium cut for FHA loans could hamper home affordability and keep thousands of first-time homebuyers on the sidelines, according to some housing advocates. The International Center on Housing Risk, however, says that loan data from the last FHA premium reduction in 2015 shows that won’t be the case. The 2015 premium reduction did not save borrowers much money in real terms or draw many new people off the sidelines, but did drive up home prices and steer borrowers away from other loan programs that carry less risk to taxpayers, the center said, based on an evaluation of thousands of FHA home purchase loans. A nonprofit research arm sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the International Center on Housing Risk is a conservative-leaning group that tends to promote market-based solutions for the housing industry and has been a critic of moves to boost the market share of FHA-backed loans.)
Bloomberg, Friday, January 20, 2017
(RECAP: Soon after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, his administration undid one of Barack Obama’s last-minute economic-policy actions: a mortgage-fee cut under a government program that’s popular with first-time home buyers and low-income borrowers. The new administration on Friday said it’s canceling a reduction in the FHA’s annual fee for most borrowers. The cut would have reduced the annual premium for someone borrowing $200,000 by $500 in the first year. The reversal comes after Trump’s team criticized the Obama administration for adopting new policies as it prepared to leave office. Last week, Obama’s HUD secretary, Julian Castro, said the FHA would cut its fees. The administration didn’t consult Trump’s team before the announcement. Republicans have argued in the past that reductions put taxpayers at risk by lowering the funds the FHA has to deal with mortgage defaults.)
The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, January 20, 2017
(RECAP: A Richmond-based development company known for historic restoration has pulled the plug on a planned $30 million project in downtown Suffolk. Tom Dickey, principal of The Monument Cos., said in an email Friday that the decision was a result of uncertainty about tax credits on which the company relies. It’s unclear whether the company will revisit the project. Over the course of the last six months, he wrote, a General Assembly joint subcommittee on taxes discussed implementing caps on the state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. The program, he said, spurs private investment in rural and urban localities across Virginia. Last spring, The Monument Cos. and Sensei Development proposed building at least 233 loft-style apartments, plus office and retail space on the site of a former peanut processing facility known as the Golden Peanut. It was to be built in phases over at least four years.)
HousingWire, Friday, January 20, 2017
(RECAP: Nonbank’s share of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages crossed $1 trillion for the first time in November 2016, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The news, while positive for nonbanks, is causing some in the industry to question the consequences nonbanks face if the industry undergoes any future stress. A study from 2015 by a senior fellow and a researcher at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School posted that the nonbank market share of agency purchase mortgage originations was growing at an astronomical pace, moving from 27% in mid-2012 to 48% in late 2014. The article gave an update on the situation, stating that in the first three quarters of 2016, banks accounted for 9% of mortgage dollars originated by the FHA’s top 50 lenders, versus 62% for all of 2010.)
Mortgage News Daily, Thursday, January 19, 2017
(RECAP: Secretary of HUD nominee Ben Carson said at his confirmation hearing, "Certainly, if confirmed, I am going to work with the FHA administrator and other financial experts to really examine that policy." He was talking about an earlier announcement from the current HUD head that FHA insurance rates were going to be cut. On January 12, when Carson made that remark, most everyone viewed it as a throw-away line. Now not so much. As background, on January 9, current HUD Secretary Castro announced a 25-basis point cut in the annual premium charged for FHA insurance. The reduction, scheduled to go into effect on January 27, would return FHA annual premiums almost back to where they were before a crisis in the FHA insurance fund caused substantial hikes in both the annual and the upfront premiums. A press release today from the Mortgage Bankers Association says, "Based on recent testimony and political pushback, we believe there is a strong chance the most recent MIP reduction... may be one of the rollback actions taken soon after President Trump takes office." MBA says it expects this change will be effective immediately and "could create significant operational challenges for lenders and their customers." The association urged its members to prepare to unwind any changes they have already made to adjust for the new rates if the delay, in fact, occurs.)
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