July 13, 2016

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

FHFA Issues Single Security, Common Securitization Platform Timelines

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released an update on implementation of its Single Security and the Common Securitization Platform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insisting that the goals will provide ease of use and transparency. The update details progress made to date and describes expected milestones that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Common Securitization Solutions, a company created by the government-sponsored enterprises to create the platform, expect to meet to achieve the stated goals for these projects. The Update describes the various phases of testing required for Release 1 and Release 2; announces planned issuance of final Single Security features and disclosures to the market; and provides information on the ongoing alignment of Enterprise programs, policies and practices and the processes that will be followed to further support the Single Security initiative.

Affordable Housing Is the Glue That Holds Everything Together

Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez call for a LIHTC expansion.
The Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force, which we co-chair, recently released a report urging the greater integration of health care with housing as vital to helping America’s rapidly expanding senior population age more successfully. Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros (left) and Mel Martinez co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. A growing body of evidence is showing that more tightly linking senior health and housing has the potential to improve health outcomes for older adults, reduce medical costs, and enable millions of Americans to “age with options” in their homes and communities. To realize these considerable benefits, however, seniors must have access to affordable housing. Without access to such housing and the stability it provides, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce a system of home- and community-based supports that can enable successful aging.

Affordable homes for first-time buyers coming soon 

In recent months, there has been a well-publicized shortage of affordable homes for today's first-time buyers. That situation may soon change, much to the relief of young consumers anxiously waiting for available homes they can afford. News reports carried on Builder online and by the National Association of Realtors point to a new trend that could result in many new homes keyed to the needs and qualifications of first-timers. It noted that the number of homebuilders offering entry-level housing rose 25 percent last year compared to the year prior.
"Since the recession, the number of new entry-level homes plummeted. Builder online even declared the starter home 'nearly extinct' last year. "However, the analysis of the 2016 Builder 100/Next Builder list points out an increasing number of builders are devoting at least 50 percent of their business to building entry-level homes. While the numbers are rising, the entry-level market is still a fraction of what it once was in 2010."

3 ways to help fix the appalling state of affordable housing

The challenging problem of social inequality comes with more questions than answers: How do we ensure that everyone, regardless of status, has equal opportunities? Where do we begin?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, but here is a good starting point: at home.  Studies show how stable, sustainable housing is crucial in revitalizing neighborhoods and is central to the healthy development of children. Yet millions of low income families struggle for a quality home and it’s only getting harder to find safe, clean affordable housing. According to the Urban Institute, there were only “28 adequate and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renters in 2013, down from 37 in 2000.” Meanwhile, per the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the number of extremely low-income renters jumped from 8.2 million to 11 million between 2000 and 2013. HUD’s voucher program allows low income tenants to pay 30% of their income for rent. However, this program continues to come under increasing Congressional budgetary pressure, while the program only meets a fraction of demand.

In One Way, the U.S. Mortgage Market Looks Just Like It Did in 2007

The U.S. mortgage market is of course considerably smaller, safer and less accessible than it was nine years ago. The homeownership rate has fallen by more than four percentage points since 2008. At the same time, post-crisis reforms banned much of the risky lending that inflated the nationwide housing bubble, and it became much harder for families to make their first home purchase. But by one important measure — the ability of borrowers to make their monthly payments — today's mortgage market is almost exactly where it was on the eve of the meltdown. In the first quarter of 2016, 94.9% of the residential mortgages serviced by seven big banks were current and performing, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. That percentage compared to 94.4% in October 2007, when the OCC first reported the data.

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