August 25, 2015

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

Feds Expanding Access to Mortgage Loans
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced steps aimed at expanding credit to underserved borrowers while easing risk for approved lenders.  The new supplemental performance metric broadens the measurement for a lender's default performance and is part of an effort to encourage more lending to riskier customers who have been pinched by tight credit conditions.  The change, in the works for more than a year, measures a lender’s default rate within three credit score bands and compares that with an FHA target rate instead of comparing it against the lender's peers in the market.

FHFA Adopts Final Rule on 2015-2017 Housing Goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has adopted a final rule establishing single-family and multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) for 2015 through 2017. The final rule was adopted after FHFA considered more than 144 comments on a proposed housing goals rule issued in August 2014. The final rule will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, requires FHFA to establish annual housing goals for mortgages purchased by the Enterprises.  The final rule sets identical benchmarks for both Enterprises in all categories and establishes goals for the first time, for rental units affordable to low-income families in small (5- to 50-unit) multifamily properties.  “The single-family goals advance the Enterprises’ statutory missions to provide access to credit for creditworthy borrowers and provide liquidity to the U.S. housing market while operating in a safe and sound manner,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt. “The multifamily goals will create rental opportunities for those who need affordable housing. Together, these goals establish a solid foundation for affordable and sustainable homeownership and rental opportunities in this country.”

HUD Releases Rule Clarifying the Requirements for Relocation of  Housing Choice Voucher Participants
 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the final rule that clarifies the portability regulations and requirements in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and helps improve the processing of portability requests.  Portability refers to a feature of the HCV program that allows an eligible family with a housing choice voucher to use that voucher to lease a unit anywhere in the United States where there is a public housing agency (PHA) operating an HCV program.  The new Portability Rule will help increase administrative efficiencies by eliminating confusing and obscure regulatory language, and balancing the needs of PHA’s while increasing family choice.  HUD originally published the proposed rule in the Federal Register on March 28, 2012.  Following a public comment process, publication of the final portability rule concludes the rulemaking process.  It is expected that the clarity afforded by this final rule will improve the portability process, and that the rule will allow families to more easily search for and lease a rental unit in their desired location.

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