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News Clips 

The Washington Post, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
(RECAP: Fannie Mae, in its National Housing Survey, asks Americans about “the best reason to buy a house,” giving them two options: “financial benefits” (like investment, wealth building, and tax benefits), or ”the broader security and lifestyle benefits of homeownership” (like providing a good and secure place for your family, control to make renovations, etc.) In the March survey, 43 percent of respondents choose the ”financial benefits,” while 55 percent chose “the broader security and lifestyle benefits.” So yes, the psychic benefits of ownership appear to be a bigger driver for buying a house than the financial ones.)
Cambridge Community Television , Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(RECAP: State officials across the country are taking proactive steps to prepare for implementation of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The NHTF is a block grant to states, administered by HUD. Twenty-nine states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia have designated an agency to receive their NHTF grant and administer the state program. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is hopeful that FHFA Director Mel Watt will lift the suspension on funds going to the NHTF soon, which means states could receive their first funds this year.)
HousingWire, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(RECAP: Despite the anemic housing market start so far in 2014, housing metrics should improve later this year, according to Fitch Ratings’ Chalk Line report. The pickup will be driven, Fitch says, by faster economic growth, some acceleration in job growth, and it will happen despite somewhat higher interest rates, as well as more measured home price inflation. Here are the seven dynamics that Fitch says will shape the housing market through the rest of 2014.)
Washington Business Journal, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(RECAP: A bid to redevelop the 225-acre Chantilly Crushed Stone quarry, located less than a mile from a planned Metro station, into a mixed-use community anchored by a 54-acre lake, thousands of residences and 4 million square feet of nonresidential uses has run into a massive obstacle: Loudoun's land use policies simply do not appear to allow such a project. So say Loudoun County planners, who have concluded in official documents that "county policies preclude residential development on the subject site and limit the amount of mixed-use development. Therefore staff recommends denial of the application.")
The Wall Street Journal , Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(RECAP: As U.S. lawmakers prepare to work on a bill next week that would overhaul the country’s housing-finance system, analysts say it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the legislation will become law in 2014. The markup session for the housing-finance-reform bill, supported by bipartisan leadership of the Senate Banking Committee, is scheduled for April 29. But that date leaves Congress just about one month to approve the legislation before career-minded lawmakers turn their attention to election season, figures Edwin Groshans of Height Analytics, who thinks there’s a less-than-5% chance for passage in 2014.)
HousingWire, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(RECAP: Speaking Tuesday at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called on Congress to pass housing finance reform now. Donovan threw his and the administration’s support behind the GSE reform measure put forward by Chairman Tim Johnson and Sen. Mike Crapo of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. One key tenet of Johnson-Crapo is ensuring affordability and availability for those who are seeking to rent instead of buy. Donovan said it was critical to provide affordability across all segments immediately. “This is the worst rental affordability crisis this country has ever known,” he said.)
The Wall Street Journal, Monday, April 21, 2014
(RECAP: The early-spring sales season for the housing market is looking decidedly tepid, economists say. Officials will release monthly sales data this week for new and existing homes, and economists polled by MarketWatch expect to hear that both series remained at lackluster rates in March. An unusually tough winter hit sales in recent months. But data trends also signal a problem in underlying demand, with total home sales starting to slide over the summer as affordability dropped.)
HousingWire, Monday, April 21, 2014
(RECAP: In January, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., announced a plan for housing finance reform. Partnering with fellow representatives John Carney, D-Del., and Jim Himes, D-Conn., the Delaney-Carney-Himes proposal calls for the use of private sector market forces to price risk while providing the security of a government guarantee behind the program. Delany cites the government’s “mispricing of risk” as a significant contributor to the financial crisis and says, “We have ample evidence of what happens when the government distorts the massive mortgage market.”)
The Wall Street Journal, Monday, April 21, 2014
(RECAP: On the heels of a choppy first quarter, federally controlled mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have cut their forecasts for the U.S. housing market’s performance in 2014. Doug Duncan, Fannie’s chief economist, said Monday that he now expects builders to start construction on 1.05 million housing units this year, down 50,000 from Fannie’s forecast earlier this year. He cited constraints on credit and labor.)
The Washington Times, Monday, April 21, 2014
(RECAP: Stepped-up demands from liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are threatening the prospects for legislation to revive and reform the private mortgage market. While a bipartisan bill has emerged in the Senate to gradually phase out Fannie and Freddie and their dominant roles underwriting and guaranteeing prime mortgages since the government took control of them in 2008, liberal Democrats now want to add mandates that would require private lenders to offer loans to Hispanics, blacks and other disadvantaged groups. If successful, that likely would kill the fragile support for the bill from Republicans, who blame such mandates for causing the 2008 crisis in the first place.)
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