February 14, 2017

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

President Trump Signs Executive Order Calling for Review of Federal Financial Regulations

President Trump recently signed an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Treasury to review all current federal regulations pertaining to the nation's financial system. The Order also outlines six principles that the Administration will use when reviewing and shaping its financial policy. The six "Core Principles" the Administration intends to follow when regulating the financial system include:
  • Empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;
  • Prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;
  • Foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;
  • Enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;
  • Advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings; and
  • Restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.

Realtors Ask Trump to Reinstate FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Cut

Estimates reduced MI premiums could bring in 40,000 new homebuyers

The National Association of Realtors believes that the Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend a reduction in the Federal Housing Administration’s annual mortgage premiums will keep as many as 40,000 potential homebuyers from becoming actual homebuyers in 2017, and wants the premium cut reinstated “as soon as possible,” the trade organization said last week. In one of the Trump administration’s first actions after President Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs suspended a cut to the FHA’s mortgage insurance premiums, which was announced by the outgoing Obama administration in early January. The cut had not taken effect when the Trump administration announced its intention to suspend the MI premium reduction, but in a letter addressed to Ben Carson, Trump’s choice to lead HUD, NAR said that the suspension of the FHA mortgage insurance premium cut caused “uncertainty and confusion” in the housing market and cost many consumers the opportunity to buy a home this year. “NAR estimates that the premium reduction would have reduced costs for 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers in 2017 with mortgages backed by the FHA. In addition, it would have made homeownership possible for an additional 30,000 to 40,000 homebuyers,” the trade organization said in its letter to Carson.

FHFA Extends Deadline for Public Input on Potential Chattel Loan Pilot in Duty to Serve Program

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is extending the deadline, from Feb. 17, 2017 to March 21, 2017, for stakeholders to respond to a request for input on potential manufactured home chattel loans pilot initiatives for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) as part of the Duty to Serve underserved markets.  FHFA now requests input through its dedicated webpage, www.FHFA.gov/DTS, on potential manufactured home chattel loans pilot initiatives by March 21, 2017.

As Older Adult Demographics Surge, Advocates Call for Housing Changes

By 2035, more than one in five people in the US will be aged 65 and older and one in three households will be headed by someone in that age group, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The report, Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Adults 2015-2035 (http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/housing-a-growing-population-older-adults), said as the Baby Boomer population ages, the U.S. population aged 65 and over is expected to grow from 48 million to 79 million, while the number of households headed by someone over 65 will increase by 66 percent, to nearly 50 million. This growth, the report said, will increase the demand for affordable, accessible housing that is well connected to services beyond what current supply can meet. Chris Herbert, director of the Joint Center, said older homeowners will require universal design elements such as zero-step entrances, single-floor living and wide halls and doorways. However, Herbert noted only 3.5 percent of homes offer all of these features. "The housing implications of this surge in the older adult population are many and call for innovative approaches to respond to growing need for housing that is affordable, accessible and linked to supportive services that will grow exponentially over the next two decades," Herbert said.

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