March 22, 2017

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

Trump Administration Releases FY 2018 Budget Blueprint with Deep Cuts to HUD and Elimination of HOME  

The Administration sent Congress its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget blueprint, "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," proposing deep cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal agencies, with the exception of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, which would see funding increases. The Administration proposes to reduce the HUD budget by $6.2 billion by eliminating the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program and other community development programs and seeking cost savings in rental assistance programs. This confirms what was reported last week after several media outlets published information from leaked Administration budget documents.

Housing Finance Prepares for Wave of New Interest Rate Hikes

Next rate hike could arrive before end of summer
The Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in 2017, but the market expects it to be the first of many. After raising rates in December, when the Fed moved to raise rates from a range of 0.5% to 0.75%, the Fed elected to raise them another 25 basis points to a range of 0.75% to 1%. The Federal Funds Rate represents the overnight rate which financial institutions, such as banks, provide short-term lending to one another, and is a basis for capital markets liquidity. Only one official voted against the action, Neel Kashkari, who preferred to maintain the existing target range for the federal funds rate during the March meeting, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. And now, experts say the increases will continue throughout 2017, with the next hike occurring as soon as this summer.

Credit Changes Set to Improve Score for Roughly 12 Million Consumers

Equifax, Experian, TransUnion to make changes
The three credit rating agencies will soon exclude tax liens and civil judgments from credit reports for many people, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Annamaria Andriotis. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will remove the tax-lien and civil-judgment data starting around July 1, helping omit negative information from the financial scorecards, the article noted. The unusual move by the influential firms comes partially in response to regulatory concerns. The three reporting bureaus rarely tinker with the information that goes on credit reports and that lenders consult to gauge consumers’ ability and willingness to pay back debts.

Atlanta Fed Selects Former HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic as New President

Served as HUD assistant secretary for policy development and research
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta announced Monday that it selected Raphael Bostic to serve as its new president and chief executive officer, replacing Dennis Lockhart, who retired from the Atlanta Fed at the end of February. As president of the Atlanta Fed, Bostic will represent the Sixth Federal Reserve District at meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee. Bostic brings significant housing experience to the position. From 2009 to 2012, Bostic served as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that Senate-confirmed position, Bostic was a principal adviser to the secretary on policy and research, with the goal of helping the secretary and other principal staff make informed decisions on HUD policies and programs, as well as on budget and legislative proposals, the Atlanta Fed said in its announcement.

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