November 3, 2016

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

NCSHA Recommends Further Improvements to State Fair Housing Assessment Tool 

NCSHA submitted comments to HUD on the second iteration of the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Assessment Tool for States and Insular Areas, which HUD released for a 30-day comment period in late September. HUD initially published the proposed state assessment tool in March for a 60-day comment period, then revised the tool based on the comments it received, including those NCSHA provided in May. NCSHA commended HUD for adopting many of the recommendations NCSHA made in our comments on the first iteration of the state assessment tool. These changes make the tool more responsive to state level implementation needs, clarify to some extent what is expected of states, and reduce some of the burden on state agencies. In particular, NCSHA applauded HUD for committing to work with us and HFAs as it develops the state AFFH data and mapping tool (AFFH-T), which state will need to use in conjunction with the assessment tool to develop their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFH), and for providing a separate comment period on the AFFH-T.

FHA Implements New Occupancy Requirements for Condo Loans 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently released a Mortgage Letter (ML 2016-15) establishing new owner occupancy requirements that condominium projects must meet for mortgages on their single-family units to be eligible for FHA insurance. The new standards take effect immediately. Under its current guidelines, FHA insures single-family condominium loans for units in existing developments where at least 50 percent of the units are owner-occupied. The Mortgagee Letter announces that FHA will be retaining the 50 percent threshold for most existing developments, but that it will lower the owner-occupancy threshold to as low as 35 percent for developments that meet certain criteria designed to demonstrate good financial health. To be eligible for FHA approval under the lower threshold, a condominium development must hold reserves representing 20 percent of its total budget and no more than 10 percent of all units in the development may be more than 60 days past due on their association dues.

IRS Releases 2017 Inflation Adjustments for Housing Credits and Bonds

The IRS published Revenue Procedure 2016-55, which outlines the inflation adjustments for nearly 50 federal tax provisions, including the amount of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) authority and Private Activity Bond (PAB) authority each state will receive. For calendar year 2017, the state Housing Credit ceiling will be the greater of $2.35 multiplied by the state's population or $2,710,000. While the multiplier remained at the same level as in 2016, the minimum increased slightly from its 2016 level of $2,690,000. The state private activity bond cap for 2017 will be the greater of $100 multiplied by the state population or $305,315,000. This represents a $3,800,000 increase to the minimum from the 2016 level of $301,515,000.

Industry Experts Reveal Details of HAMP Replacement Program

Non-crisis program will increase accessibility to loan mods
The Home Affordable Modification Program will expire at the end of this year, and experts from the industry talked about its replacement: One Mod: Principles for Post-HAMP Loan Modification at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference. The MBA revealed its new program proposal at the end of September. While the Federal Housing Finance Agency already created a new program to replace the Home Affordable Refinance Program, nothing is in place to take over for HAMP.

Treasury: Here’s What Housing Reform Should Look Like

“Whether they are aware of it or not, some of the most momentous decisions American families make are shaped by how the housing finance system serves them,” said U.S. Department of the Treasury Counselor Antonio Weiss and Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Karen Dynan in a recent commentary. But how is Treasury currently helping to shape the housing finance system to better serve consumers and promote homeownership? One way is through the allocation of $2 billion in the past year of additional funds for foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization through the Hardest Hit Fund. Treasury has also awarded grants through the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) to promote $900 million in affordable homeownership and rental opportunities as well as worked to create broader loss mitigation standards for borrowers who face hardship and are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment as our Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) sunsets at the end of 2016.

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