April 5, 2016

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

HFA Program Loans Exempt from Final USDA QM Rule 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a final rule establishing the underwriting standards that loans originated through the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) must meet to be considered "qualified mortgages." Loans that do not meet these standards will no longer be eligible for insurance under SFHGLP as of April 28. The definition of "qualified mortgage" set in the final rule is largely similar to the definition USDA initially proposed last year. To be eligible for SFHGLP insurance, loans will have to meet the program's underwriting standards, and upfront points and fees must not exceed three percent of each loan's total principal, with adjustments made for smaller loans.

HUD Issues Report on 2013 Housing Credit Tenant Data 

HUD released the second annual report on households residing in Housing Credit units, providing demographic and economic data submitted by Housing Credit allocating agencies. The report provides information about the race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rent burden of tenants living in Housing Credit properties as of the end of 2013. Congress mandated the collection and publication of this data when it passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008. While Congress authorized funding for this initiative as part of HERA, it never appropriated those funds; therefore the states and HUD have been forced to rely on existing resources to meet the law's requirements.

How Policymakers Can Help More Millennials Become Homeowners

If you’ve been paying attention to this year’s political debates, you’ve probably read or heard a lot more about the inability of the younger generation to get a foothold in this economy than in previous elections. The financial challenges in today’s world are real. And to some groups it often feels like the hill to climb gets steeper by the year. We can all agree the world economy has changed tremendously in the past 50 years and that owning a home (not renting for a lifetime) remains a central component to building wealth and financial security. Both political parties during the course of this year’s presidential campaigns have heard from young people about the lack of affordable housing, stagnant wages and rising education costs. It’s no secret that the Washington-area housing market is pricey, consistently ranking in the most expensive places to live in the United States. It’s also true that our local housing market is dependent on younger buyers leaving their rentals to become first-time buyers. This provides a market for the sellers of entry-level homes, who can in turn buy so-called move-up properties. The owners of the move-up homes can then buy more expensive homes. It’s like one big game of dominos where home owners are dependent on the buyer behind them in order to move forward.

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