January 12, 2016

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

What’s Ahead in the Housing Market for 2016?

Let’s consider the major macroeconomic trends in 2016 that will significantly impact those stakes. Homeowners should enjoy another year of solid gains in house prices. Prices have been moving steadily higher since the housing bust hit bottom four years ago and should post another gain in the middle single digits. With a bit of luck, prices nationwide could reach close to the all-time peaks seen in the housing bubble a decade ago.  First-time home-buyers, in particular, should have an easier go of it. The Federal Housing Administration, the government agency that primarily helps first-timers get mortgages, cut its fees last year and may do so again soon as its finances continue to improve.  For renters, 2016 will be a difficult year, as rents continue to rise strongly in most parts of the country. The problem is that demand for rental units has been outstripping supply, and vacancy rates are now about as low as they have been in 30 years. Fueling demand are the millennials who are finally finding jobs and striking out on their own, along with households that have lost their homes in foreclosure, and more empty-nesters looking to downsize and simplify.

The DOJ Hearing Scheduled for Tuesday, January 12 Has Been Canceled  

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Commonwealth of Virginia are currently negotiating specific implementation schedules, including time frames, interim steps, and performance indicators, for specific areas of the agreement.  The United States described its concerns about delays in the implementation of the Settlement Agreement, ECF No. 112, August 23, 2012 (“Agreement”), including delays in developing a functional crisis system, integrated day and supported employment programs, and integrated housing.  The United States’ concerns were amplified by delays in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s restructuring of its Home and Community-Based Services Waivers (“HCBS Waivers).  Moreover, the Parties have committed to continue to negotiate schedules for the remaining areas identified in the United States’ motion, including: integrated housing options, children in nursing facilities and large intermediate care facilities, individuals with complex medical needs, and quality and risk management. The Parties intend to submit similar implementation schedules for those areas during the next several months. In addition, since the October hearing, the Commonwealth has submitted a budget to the General Assembly that, if approved, should enable the Commonwealth to proceed with the restructuring of its HCBS Waivers to help continue efforts to implement the Agreement.

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