August 18, 2015

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

HOME Coalition Organizes Nationwide Grassroots Effort to Save HOME
Over the past few weeks, the HOME Coalition -- led by the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) --- has spread the word about the need to protect and restore funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).  Responding to the Senate Appropriations Committee proposal to cut the HOME program by 93 percent from its already record low FY 2015 funding level, the HOME Coalition conducted two large-scale efforts to engage stakeholders nationwide: a national sign-on letter to Congressional leadership with more than 1,500 organization signatories and a national webinar with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro with upwards of 900 registered attendees calling in from every state in the nation.

Mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures continue to drop in 2Q15

Economy still supporting mortgage payments
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.3% of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.  This was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.  The delinquency rate decreased 24 basis points from the previous quarter, and 74 basis points from one year ago.  The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.  The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter was 2.09%, down 13 basis points from the first quarter and 40 basis points lower than the same quarter one year ago.

This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the fourth quarter of 2007.

HUD Launches Resource Locator App

New app and mobile site seen as new era in customer service
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today unveiled the HUD Resource Locator – an innovative mobile app and website to further expand and enhance traditional HUD customer service.  The resource locator will offer real-time HUD housing information at the fingertips of people looking to quickly connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies to inquire about housing availability and other housing-related questions.  The HUD resource locator is one of several services provided by HUD’s Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS). This tool uses GIS technology to pinpoint where resources are located and allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to get relevant contact information. For example, the new app can be used during a disaster when families need to find housing, or when social service providers are helping persons experiencing homelessness look for available housing assistance. In an era where people are increasingly using smartphones to find information, the HUD resource locator app and mobile site provides an easy tool for anyone to use to find housing resources.  The resource locator uses housing data from HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FHFA to Push Fannie, Freddie into Manufactured Housing
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to issue a proposal soon that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase manufactured housing loans from lenders.  The so-called "duty to serve" plan would force the two government-sponsored enterprises into the mobile home business, where more than two-thirds of manufactured housing lending is backed by the vehicle, not the land it stands on.  An estimated 2.9 million households live in 50,000 manufactured housing communities across the country. Industry groups argue the proposal is desperately needed to improve lending standards and credit availability for manufactured housing.

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