January 17, 2017

Upcoming Housing Credit Workshops & Classes

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The Housing Credit Department is hosting three classes this month, and you're invited. Click on the dates to register.

    • This course will cover the process required for submitting an application, focusing on mandatory items and excel application review. Pointers and tips will also be given.


    • Universal Design had been defined by the Center for Universal Design as: “The design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
    •  Certificate holders who last completed a VHDA Universal Design Seminar prior to January 1, 2012 must re-attend in order to be eligible to request Universal Design points in the Housing Credit Application. *


  • Architects Certification and Universal Design Submission Requirements - January 25, 2017

    • VHDA Housing Credit Architect Certification & Universal Design Plans
    • This new class, presented by the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Housing Credit Allocation department, is a class that will go through every item required on the Architect Certification and the required elements needed in the Universal Design plans.
    • This class should be attended by owners and architects planning on submitting a Housing Credit reservation application. Class attendees will be given a question by question explanation of the architect certification to explain what is required so as to avoid penalty points for incorrect information. Also presented is examples and explanation to the format plans must be submitted in order to receive all possible points for the Universal Design units. 
    • This is a free informational class.


Both Universal Design and EarthCraft require that your Architect of Record be certified every 5 years.

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Senate Banking Committee Holds Nomination Hearing for HUD Secretary-Designate Ben Carson 

HUD Secretary-Designate Dr. Ben Carson appeared before the Senate Banking Committee for his nomination hearing. He released this statement, commenting on the strong connection between housing and health, stressing the importance of deregulation, praising homeownership, and supporting continued efforts to tackle homelessness. His statement says, "we need to shore up our nation's housing finance sector, and HUD plays a crucial role in the housing finance system through FHA and Ginnie Mae..." He also mentions the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and suggests he would look for ways to improve it, saying that, "it's important for all HUD programs to be evaluated so we know what works and what doesn't and where we can cut red tape."


Carson Pushes Increased Private-Sector Role in HUD Programs

Ben Carson detailed his vision for the Department of Housing and Urban Development: One that integrates government assistance programs with “holistic” solutions and greater involvement of businesses and faith groups. Carson, during his secretariat confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, suggested several times that the private sector should play a larger role in addressing poverty and systemic inequities, investing in “human capital” as a means of both increasing quality of life and profits. “The programs that have been enacted in HUD over the year, you know, they’re good programs. But in and of themselves they’re not bringing about the elevation of large numbers of people. And that’s what we’re looking for,” Carson said. “We don’t want it to be a way of life, we want it to be a Band-Aid and a springboard to move forward.” In another instance, Carson said he would like to work with faith and business groups to help people whose residences are now worth less than their mortgages.

New MBA Report Forecasts Strong Year for Commercial and Multifamily Lending 

A new survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) of the nation’s top commercial and multifamily mortgage origination firms is offering an optimistic forecast for lending in 2017.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the survey’s respondents predicted originations will increase this year, with one-quarter (26 percent) expecting an increase of five percent or more. Fifty percent of the respondents expected their firms to enjoy a five percent or higher increase in origination activity.


Affordable Housing: Top Trends to Watch in 2017

There’s no question that there is a tremendous need for this product type in the United States. According to a 2016 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, more than a third of U.S. households pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent. Of this third, 16.5 percent of households allocate more than 50 percent of their income toward rent.
As the demand for affordable housing continues to outpace supply in markets across the nation, many multifamily investors are eyeing this asset class with renewed interest. The question is: how can investors best capitalize on current trends in order to achieve strong returns? As an owner of 41

January 12, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.


Preview Housing Virginia’s New Web Tool: Mapbook

(RECAP: Housing Virginia previewed a new web-based tool at the Governor’s Housing Conference. MAPBOOK will use both ArcGIS Story Maps and Tableau data visualizations to tell the story of affordable housing across the state. As a companion to SOURCEBOOK and PLAYBOOK, MAPBOOK will provide a visual way to tell the story of affordable housing in your community. Housing Virginia began MAPBOOK plans several months ago and expects to launch the product mid-2017.)
http://www.housingvirginia.org/news/preview-new-web-tool-mapbook/

The Wave Of Green Financing Will Continue In 2017

(RECAP: 2016 saw an unprecedented boom in multifamily green financing. Offering meaningful finance rate discounts, these green loan programs are expected to pick up steam in 2017.)
http://www.globest.com/sites/partnerESI/2016/12/19/the-wave-of-green-financing-will-continue-in-2017/?slreturn=20161120145025

Mapping the Value of Neighborhood 'Character'

(RECAP: Is historic preservation a friend or foe of affordability? That depends on where you’re looking. A new set of maps from the National Trust for Historic Preservation contributes a data-driven perspective to this complex issue.)
http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/12/historic-preservation-neighborhood-character-maps-us-cities/511640/

Urbanism Themes -- 2016 And Beyond

(RECAP: 2016 may be the year we recognize that urban revitalization is no longer the exception, but the rule. Today, as high housing costs have put increasing pressure on city neighborhoods of all types, we're seeing a recalibration of the revitalization thought process.)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/petesaunders1/2016/12/28/urbanism-themes-2016-and-beyond/#7589382a7286

January 11, 2017

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Hensarling Announces New Financial Services Subcommittee Chairs 

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) announced the Committee's structure and leadership for the 115th Congress. The Committee oversees many key federal housing agencies, including HUD, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs). Sean Duffy (R-WI) is the new chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, which oversees HUD programs. Duffy replaces Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), who will now chair the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, which has jurisdiction over CFPB. The Housing Subcommittee will now also have jurisdiction over the GSEs. This is a departure from recent Congresses, when the GSEs were overseen by the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee.

Housing Market Regains All Value Lost in Crisis 

The total value of the U.S. housing stock grew to a record-high $29.6 trillion in 2016, according to data released by Zillow. In terms of appreciation, the housing market grew 5.7 percent in value, or $1.6 trillion, effectively regaining all of the value it lost during the housing crisis. The Los Angeles and New York metro areas recorded the highest shares of the country's overall housing value, at 8.6 percent and eight percent, respectively, followed by the San Francisco metro area, which was worth 4.2 percent of the overall housing value. Also during 2016, renters paid $478.5 billion in housing costs, a $17.7 billion increase from 2015. About 635,000 new renter households were formed in 2016 as apartment renters spent nearly $50 billion more than renters of single-family homes.

FHFA: Seriously Delinquent GSE Loans at Lowest Level Since 2008

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported the serious delinquency rate for mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reached the lowest level since June 2008.
The government-sponsored enterprises' serious delinquency rate fell to 1.16 percent at the end of the third quarter, the report said (https://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/Reports/ReportDocuments/FPR_3Q2016.pdf). Overall, the GSEs completed 46,390 foreclosure prevention actions in the third quarter, bringing the total number of foreclosure prevention actions to more than 3.7 million since the start of the conservatorships in September 2008, of which 1.993 million represented permanent loan modifications.

FHA To Reduce Annual Insurance Premiums On Most Mortgages

Modest reduction expands credit access and reflects improved economic health of FHA
As the nation’s housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums most borrowers will pay by a quarter of a percent.  FHA’s new premium rates are projected to save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year.
FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 25 basis points for most new mortgages with a closing/disbursement date on or after January 27, 2017.  For a full schedule of the new premium rates announced today, read FHA’s mortgagee letter.

January 6, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

 Programs to bring investment capital to rural communities

(RECAP: The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) offers a variety of loan programs designed to spur investment in rural communities located throughout the United States of America. These loans are available to governments, nonprofit corporations and for profit entities. The USDA Rural Development programs can also be combined with other state and federal incentives, including the New Markets Tax Credit.)
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/programs-to-bring-investment-capital-to-93162/

Selling distressed loans to investors significantly cuts foreclosure rates

(RECAP: Despite skepticism by many advocates, the FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increasing rely on auctioning off severely delinquent mortgages to private investors to dispose of these distressed assets. In January, the Urban Institute showed that sales of distressed or nonperforming loans have been effective from the borrowers’ and taxpayers’ perspectives, but these conclusions were based on limited data. Over the past few weeks, the release of new and more complete data confirms this program significantly cuts foreclosures rates and is a win-win for borrowers, lenders, and investors.)
http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/selling-distressed-loans-investors-significantly-cuts-foreclosure-rates

Zoning and land-use regulation offer potential for unlikely partnerships

(RECAP: Removing barriers related to land-use regulation could be very helpful for affordable housing. In an era of declining federal resources, forming new partnerships and exploring opportunities at the state and local levels are two increasingly important ways we can move affordable housing forward.)
http://www.nhcopenhouse.org/2016/12/zoning-and-land-use-regulation-offer.html

The Overlooked Legacy of Pioneering African-American Architect Paul Revere Williams 

(RECAP: Paul Revere Williams (1894–1980) achieved a number of firsts during his lifetime: He was the first African-American architect to practice west of the Mississippi. He was part of the first Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920. Williams designed over 2,000 buildings during his career; he was known for his Hollywood mansions but also designed affordable housing, conceptual transportation systems, experimental structural systems, and more.)
https://www.fastcodesign.com/3066503/the-overlooked-legacy-of-pioneering-african-american-architect-paul-revere-williams

January 4, 2017

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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What to Expect in the Housing Market in 2017

After a relatively calm real estate market in 2016, we can expect some changes to come in 2017, but it is unlikely there will be any tumultuous upheaval in the next year. We have seen inventory come back at a steady pace, and buyer demand is strong enough that it will continue to keep the market moving as we go through the next 12 months. Here are some specifics of what we can expect in 2017: The rate rise is sudden relative to the slow pace of any changes over the past several years. We saw this occur immediately after the election results, with continued increases the week following. So far mortgage rates have gone up about 40 basis points, and now that the Federal Reserve has announced its increase to interest rates, we can expect that mortgage rates will continue to rise. While it is possible that the days on market could return to that low level in 2017, it is unlikely given the recent trend of an increase in new listings. Even though rates are on the increase, credit is not as hard to come by as it was just after the recession, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced it will increase lending limits for 2017. Federal Housing Administration loan limits are also expected to increase slightly, from $271,050 to $275,665. Lenders are bringing a number of new mortgage programs to the table that call for a modest down payment and don’t require the buyers to purchase an FHA loan. The final piece of the financing puzzle is the influx of smaller banks and non-bank lending institutions that have gotten into the lending game.

'Flex Mod' to Replace HAMP at Fannie and Freddie

The Flex Modification "strikes the appropriate balance between borrower relief and economic responsibility," said David Lowman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac's single-family business. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will replace the expiring Home Affordable Mortgage Program with a new loss mitigation option called the Flex Modification. The new program is expected to provide a 20% payment reduction for eligible borrowers, the government-sponsored enterprises said Wednesday. Fannie and Freddie said that "a high percentage" of borrowers who are at least 60 days delinquent on their mortgages would be eligible; in certain cases, those who are less than 60 days delinquent or even current on their loans could also qualify.

Boosting Homeownership Among Minorities

Minority home mortgages increased more than white home mortgages between 2013 and 2015 in several metros across the U.S., according to a recent report from Urban Institute. The report is quick to add that this increase was not without a “virtual roller coaster” of sorts starting with a homebuying surge during the housing boom and a large decrease during the housing crisis, before the increase beginning in the recovery.

December 29, 2016

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

NeighborWorks America invites qualified community development nonprofits to apply for a share of $26.5 million in grants to revitalize distressed communities hurt by the foreclosure crisis

(RECAP: The application period closes 8 p.m., ET on Jan. 9. Grantee awards are expected to be announced in April 2017. More information about this program and the informational webinar can be found at Project Reinvest: Neighborhoods.) http://www.realestaterama.com/2016/12/01/neighborworks-america-invites-qualified-community-development-nonprofits-to-apply-for-a-share-of-26-5-million-in-grants-to-revitalize-distressed-communities-hurt-by-the-foreclosure-crisis-ID038917.html


HUD Launches New Community Investment Tool

(RECAP: HUD today unveiled the Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART) – an innovative reference and mapping tool created to help answer the question, “How is HUD investing in my community?” CART uses geospatial technology to show the wide variety of HUD investments by city, state, county, metropolitan area, or congressional district. It also provides an interactive mapping interface that allows users to explore HUD investments within their community and see property- and grant-level detail at a variety of geographies.)
http://www.realestaterama.com/2016/12/07/hud-launches-new-community-investment-tool-ID039079.html

Evolving U.S. Suburbs Continue to Shape Residential Demand and Development

(RECAP: U.S. suburban housing markets are well positioned to remain preferred places to live and work over the coming decades, even as many urban cores and downtown neighborhoods continue to attract new residents and businesses, says a new report from the ULI Terwilliger Center. The report classifies and compares suburbs in the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.—shown in a searchable online map—and assesses the key issues that will shape suburban residential demand and development in the years ahead.)
http://urbanland.uli.org/industry-sectors/residential/enduring-appeal-suburbs/

Family Options Study: 3-Year Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families

(RECAP: The goal of HUD’s Family Options Study was to understand which housing and services interventions work best for families with children experiencing homelessness, and to learn whether or not certain types of families benefit more or less from different interventions. Extensive cost data on each of the interventions studied was also collected, in order to calculate the fiscal costs of achieving the outcomes that were documented.)
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr-edge-research-110716.html

Rise of the glass giants: how modern cities are forcing skyscrapers to evolve

(RECAP: The future cannot be found in a small number of freakishly tall designs. Rather, it is in the vast number of efficient, versatile skyscrapers, which will be essential to cope with growing urban populations and keep cities running. These exceptional new towers include a variety of eco-friendly innovations, such as renewable energy generation, solar shading and double-skin facades with natural ventilation.)
https://theconversation.com/rise-of-the-glass-giants-how-modern-cities-are-forcing-skyscrapers-to-evolve-56843