March 13, 2017

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

Leaked Internal HUD Budget Document Proposes $6 Billion Cut in FY 2018 

Various news sources, including the Washington Post and The Hill, published troubling reports about leaked documents indicating that the Trump Administration is considering more than $6 billion in cuts to HUD programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. According to these reports, the Administration may propose the elimination of several HUD programs, including HOME. The leaked budget document proposes to cut HUD funding overall by 14 percent to $40.5 billion in FY 2018. In addition to HOME, reports indicate that the draft budget request also would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and cut $1.3 billion from the public housing capital account; $600 million from the public housing operating fund; $300 million from Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance, including Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing; $42 million from Section 202 Housing for the Elderly; and $29 million from Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities.

Senators Cantwell and Hatch Introduce Legislation to Enhance and Strengthen the Housing Credit 

On March 7, Senate Finance Committee member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017, S. 548. The bill would increase Housing Credit authority by 50 percent over a five-year period and enact approximately 20 modifications to the program that would strengthen it by providing states new flexibility, simplifying program requirements, supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing, and facilitating Housing Credit development in challenging markets and for hard-to-reach populations. It includes all of NCSHA's Housing Credit-related board-adopted legislative priorities.

LendingHome Rolls Out Online Mortgage for First-Time Homebuyers

Users can complete a mortgage application within minutes
LendingHome, a marketplace lender and HousingWire 2017 Tech100 winner, announced its new one-stop online mortgage designed with the needs of first-time homebuyers in mind.
Matt Humphrey, LendingHome’s co-founder and CEO, and his team built the end-to-end online technology platform and infrastructure to create a smoother customer experience on the front-end and operational efficiencies on the back-end. “With the power of our technology, we designed the next-generation digital mortgage specifically for the needs of digital natives so that they feel confident and in control when financing their first home,” he stated. Through the online mortgage, borrowers can complete a mortgage application within minutes, keep track of their progress in real-time and lock their rate. The new launch also includes educational articles, advice and tools for first-time homebuyers.

MBA Letter Urges Support of Flood Insurance Modernization Bills

The Mortgage Bankers Association, in a letter to leaders in the Senate and House, urged support for two bills that would make key adjustments to the National Flood Insurance Program.
The bills address two primary impediments to development of a private flood insurance market: lack of clarity as to what constitutes acceptable private flood insurance; and uncertainty about the effect of private insurance on the continuous coverage requirement. MBA Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Bill Killmer noted while the intent of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, also known as BW-12, was for private flood insurance to satisfy the mandatory purchase requirement, lack of clarity in the statutory language had the unintended effect of making it more difficult for lenders to accept private flood insurance policies.

Freddie Mac Considers Backing Single-Family Home Rentals

Freddie Mac is considering backing loans that finance single-family rental homes for the first time, mirroring a controversial transaction that Fannie Mae disclosed in January, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company’s regulator is looking to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to experiment with a limited number of transactions, to better understand if the U.S.-backed housing finance companies should be allowed to do more, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. A spokesman for Freddie Mac declined to comment, as did a spokesman for their regulator at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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