October 27, 2016

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

Rep. Brady Plans to Move Tax Reform Legislation in 2017

The House’s top taxwriter wants to pursue tax reform legislation next year, according to the Ways and Means Committee’s Republican chief tax counsel. “The committee is now focused on the ongoing work of building tax reform legislation based” on the tax blueprint under the House GOP’s “Better Way” policy platform, said Barbara Angus, chief tax counsel for Rep. Kevin Brady. “The plan for Chairman Brady is to move tax reform legislation as early as 2017,” Angus said in a panel at the Tax Executives Institute conference in Philadelphia. The counsel’s announcement comes as the federal government marks the 30th anniversary of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a major overhaul of the tax code by the Reagan administration and Congress. “Chairman Brady often says that tax reform is something that happens only once in a generation,” Angus said. “With 30 years gone by since ‘86 Act, the time has really come.”

HUD Proposes Energy Benchmarking Requirement for Multifamily Housing  

HUD issued a notice in the Federal Register October 4 requesting public comments on a proposed requirement for owners of HUD-funded multifamily housing to implement energy benchmarking in their properties, consistent with the President's Climate Action Plan and other Administration and HUD initiatives to improve energy efficiency in HUD-assisted properties. Utility benchmarking—the practice of tracking the utility consumption of a development on an on-going basis, calculating energy and water efficiency of the development, and comparing its efficiency to similar developments—would allow owners to better understand their buildings' energy and water performance, prioritize operational and capital improvements, verify the return on those investments, and plan future budget needs. HUD plans to use the information to develop a more accurate picture of energy usage across a variety of construction and subsidy types.

MBA: Multifamily Lending Up 28% in 2015

Nearly 3,000 lenders provided $249.8 billion for five-plus unit apartment buildings last year--a 28 percent jump year-over-year--the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning.
"Multifamily mortgage borrowing and lending set a new record in 2015," said MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell. "Demand for mortgages was driven by strong property fundamentals, increasing property values, a robust transaction market and low interest rates." Woodwell noted that the sector's mortgage capital came from record lending by banks, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and life insurance companies. "As we look at 2016 and 2017, those factors appear to remain in place," he said. Multifamily mortgages originated in 2015 went to a variety of investors, Woodwell said. By dollar volume, the greatest share--35 percent--went into commercial bank, thrift and credit union portfolios. MBA reported 63 percent of active lenders made five or fewer multifamily loans during the year.

Housing Spotlight: The Long Wait for a Home

NLIHC's new report Housing Spotlight: The Long Wait for a Home about Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) and Public Housing waiting lists. An NLIHC survey of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) indicated that 53% of HCV waiting lists were closed to new applicants and another 4% were open only to specific populations, such as homeless individuals and families, veterans, persons with a disability, or local residents. Sixty-five percent of closed HCV waiting lists had been closed for at least one year, more than half did not think the list would reopen within the next year, and wait times for HCVs often spanned years. The findings make clear that we must expand housing resources for our nation’s lowest income renters. HCV waiting lists had a median wait time of 1.5 years for housing assistance. Twenty-five percent had a wait of at least 3 years. Twenty-five percent of the largest PHAs (5,000+ vouchers and public housing units combined) with HCV waiting lists had a wait time of at least 7 years. The average HCV waiting list consisted of 2,013 households. Public Housing waiting lists had a median wait time of 9 months. Twenty-five percent of them had a wait time of at least 1.5 years. Public Housing waiting lists had an average size of 834 households. Extremely low income (ELI) households, whose incomes are at or below 30% of the area median income, accounted for 74% of households on the average HCV waiting list and 67% of households on the average Public Housing waiting list.

Here are the Top 5 Trends in Real Estate Over the Past 35 Years

Thirty-five years ago the housing market looked drastically different, with the word “internet” nowhere to be found and the thought of less than a 4% mortgage rate crazy. The National Association of Realtors, however, has followed the changes every step of the way, releasing its Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey since 1981.  “When the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers made its debut 35 years ago, consumers and Realtors navigated a much different real estate landscape,” said NAR President Tom Salomone on the upcoming survey results. The survey is the longest-running series of national housing data which evaluates the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers.
In anticipation of the 2016 survey release on Oct. 31, NAR identified five noteworthy real estate trends since the survey’s inception.

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