May 24, 2016

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

Senate Passes FY 2017 Housing Appropriations Bill 

The Senate voted 89 to 8 in favor of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bill, H.R. 2577. Despite an overall allocation that is $827 million below last year's funding level, the Senate THUD bill provides nearly $1.5 billion more for HUD's affordable housing and community development programs than Congress appropriated for them in FY 2016. The bill provides $950 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program, the same funding level as last year, and fully funds rental assistance accounts. The Senate combined the THUD bill, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs FY 2017 spending bill, and a measure to provide emergency funding to combat the Zika virus. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), this joint appropriations package is the first of several "mini-buses" intended to speed up the appropriations process ahead of the Senate's scheduled July 15-September 6 recess. The new fiscal year begins October 1, so Congress must enact new appropriations bills or a continuing resolution to keep federal programs operating after that date.

Senators Cantwell and Hatch Introduce Housing Credit Cap Increase Legislation 

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S. 2962, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016, which would enact several of NCSHA's Housing Credit-related legislative priorities. The bill would address the severe shortage of affordable rental housing by increasing Housing Credit authority by 50 percent over five years beginning in 2017 and providing states additional flexibility in their program administration. The legislation also increases the small state minimum by 50 percent, also over five years. Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined Senators Cantwell and Hatch as original cosponsors. In addition to the cap increase, the legislation would set a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate for both acquisition Credits and for Housing Bond-financed Credit properties, allowing states to provide more Credit equity to these developments if necessary to achieve their financial feasibility. It would also provide an income-averaging option under which the Housing Credit could finance units for households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), so long as the average income limit within the property is 60 percent of AMI or less. This would expand the market for Housing Credit units and enable the Housing Credit to reach even lower income families by allowing developers to offset lower rents paid by very low- and extremely low-income households with higher rents paid by eligible households earning more.

Fannie Readies Launch of 'Trended Data' Initiative

"Some people suggest we slavishly follow FICO. That is not true. We evaluate credit data through own automated system [Desktop Underwriter]. And form our own judgments about the creditworthiness," said Timothy Mayopoulos, president and CEO of Fannie Mae. Lenders and credit bureaus are gearing up for Fannie Mae's June 25 launch of its "trended data" initiative, which provides a new data element to its automated underwriting process. The program provides a snapshot of an applicant's revolving credit payments in an attempt to better divine a borrower's creditworthiness. The launch marks a significant change for the mortgage industry. "Trended data is not considered in currently available credit scores, so consideration in the Desktop Underwriter credit risk assessment will be its first widespread use in the mortgage industry," said Eric Rosenblatt, a Fannie vice president, in a recent commentary.

No comments:

Post a Comment