July 11, 2017

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

Senate Committee Hearing Examines Housing Finance Reform Goals

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing June 29 titled "Principles of Housing Finance Reform" to examine goals for housing finance reform legislation and priorities for any new or revised housing finance system. The hearing included testimony from leading industry experts representing the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the Center for Responsible Lending. In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said that housing finance reform is one of his key priorities for this session of Congress and laid out a series of principles for reform legislation that he suggested enjoyed bipartisan support. These include: preserving the to-be-announced (TBA) mortgage securitization market so borrowers can continue to access 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; providing all loan originators, regardless of size, access to the system on a level playing field; establishing strong capital standards for mortgage guarantors participating in the system; and placing a layer of private risk ahead of a government guarantee to minimize the risk of a taxpayer bailout.

House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Markup Tuesday, July 11

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) will mark up its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill on Tuesday, July 11. Federal spending limits and some congressional leaders are putting considerable pressure on appropriators to cut non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, which include HUD programs, this year.  The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that provided temporary relief from statutory spending caps in FYs 2016 and 2017 does not apply in 2018.  Without another bipartisan agreement, current law limits NDD funding to $516 billion in FY 2018, 3 percent less than FY 2017 enacted levels.  Also, the House Budget Committee is developing an FY 2018 Budget Resolution that reportedly would cut NDD funding $5 billion below this spending cap to $511 billion.

19 HFAs Awarded HUD Housing Counseling Grants for FY 2017

HUD recently announced the recipients of just over $47 million in Housing Counseling program grants for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The funding will go to 255 different housing counseling agencies, including 19 state HFAs, who combined will receive just over $7.8 million in grants. HUD also released a list of counseling agencies that were awarded funding and a comprehensive summary of each grant award. These grants will support programs that provide low- and moderate-income consumers with a variety of counseling services, including educating first-time home buyers about their options, helping families secure affordable rental housing, and offering financial literacy training to those who have experienced credit troubles. Many HFAs also offer foreclosure prevention counseling to help struggling borrowers remain in their homes. HFAs often act as HUD counseling intermediaries for their states, partnering with locally based organizations to assist low and moderate-income borrows in communities throughout their states.

Alexandria: Catholic Charities USA - $1,117,080
Richmond : Virginia Housing Development Authority - $1,225,258
Virginia Total: $2,342,338

Freddie Mac Breaks Down Homeownership Gap in Hispanic Population

The homeownership rate among Hispanics in the U.S. is significantly lower than non-Hispanic whites, and a new report from Freddie Mac explains why. The homeownership rate among Hispanics currently stands at about 45%, more than 20 percentage points lower than the rate among non-Hispanic whites. The gap can be traced to differences in age, income, education and other factors, the report showed. Most of the White/Hispanic gap can be traced to population differences in the characteristics that influence homeownership in the U.S. – age, English proficiency, income, education, etc. If these differences are reduced in the future, some of the homeownership gap can be eliminated.

How a Home Purchase Boosts Consumer Spending

Using the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NAHB Economics research shows that a home purchase triggers additional spending on appliances, furnishings, and remodeling. NAHB’s most recent estimates are based on the 2012-2014 data and show that during the first two years after closing on the house, a typical buyer of a newly-built single-family detached home spends on average $4,500 more than a similar non-moving home owner. Likewise, a buyer of an existing single-family detached home tends to spend over $4,000 more than a similar non-moving home owner, including close to $3,700 during the first year.

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