September 18, 2017

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

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding, Debt Ceiling Extension, and Disaster Aid 

On September 8, President Donald Trump signed a legislative package including provisions to provide more than $15 billion in disaster recovery aid, raise the debt ceiling, and enact a continuing resolution to fund federal programs after the September 30 end of this fiscal year until December 8, 2017. The president's signature came after House lawmakers cleared the bill (HR 601) by a 316-90 vote earlier in the day. The Senate approved the package the day before by a 80-17 vote. The legislative package clears Congress' September calendar of several battles that were expected to occur over appropriations, the debt limit, and the future of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Trump, who endorsed the package earlier in the week, urged members of Congress to now use September to work on tax reform.

Trump Nominates Brian Montgomery to Lead FHA 

President Trump nominated Brian Montgomery to serve as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and HUD assistant secretary for housing. Montgomery previously served as FHA commissioner/assistant secretary for housing from 2005 to mid-2009 after working on President George W. Bush's White House staff. He is currently vice-chairman of the Collingwood Group, a housing finance consulting firm he co-founded.

Senate Confirms Pam Patenaude for Deputy HUD Secretary 

The U.S. Senate confirmed Pamela Patenaude's nomination to serve as Deputy Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The final vote approving Patenaude's nomination was 80-17, with all Republicans and most Democrats voting in favor. Three Senators did not vote. As NCSHA has previously reported, Patenaude has held a variety of housing policy positions in both the public and private sectors. She served as HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development under President George W. Bush and as HUD's White House liaison under President Reagan. She also previously administered the Section 8 program for the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. She is currently president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for America's Families, an organization that seeks to elevate housing's place on the political agenda.

Report: Housing Bond Issuance Soared in 2016 

Private activity Housing Bond issuance increased nearly 60 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the Council of Development Finance Agencies' (CDFA) latest Annual Volume Cap Report for 2017. The report, which CDFA released, presents data on how states allocate and utilize their private activity bond (PAB) cap each year. All but two states submitted data for 2016, a higher participation rate than achieved for previous reports. The report finds that state and local governments issued $18.47 billion in Housing Bonds, including single-family Mortgage Revenue Bonds (MRBs) and Multifamily Bonds, in 2016, compared to $10.91 billion in 2015. Housing Bonds accounted for 91 percent of total PAB issuance in 2016. This is the third consecutive year that Housing Bonds have made up at least 80% of all PABs issued. Total PAB issuance was $20.38 billion in 2016, a substantial increase from $12.98 billion in 2015.

Is Housing Affordable If It Means Spending More on Commuting?

Many Virginians struggle to find a home in their budget that's also close to their job. The Housing and Commuting Affordability Index on SOURCEBOOK identifies the percentage of income needed to afford the average home in their community, plus the average cost of commuting to and from work. A household is considered housing and transportation cost burdened if it spends over 34% of household income on rental or mortgage and commuting costs combined. The Index is available statewide, for metro regions, and all localities - and shows the difference between income levels. In Virginia, the average low-income household making 60% of AMI spends nearly half (47%) of their income just for their home and for getting to work. These stats again demonstrate the need for greater harmony between economic development and housing strategies.

HUD Publishes 2018 Difficult Development Areas and Qualified Census Tracts 

On September 11, HUD published a Notice in the Federal Register designating Difficult Development Areas (DDA) and Qualified Census Tracts (QCT) for 2018 for purposes of the basis boost allowed under Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) program. DDAs are areas with high construction, land, and utility costs relative to area median income, and QCTs are areas in which at least 50 percent of the households have an income which is less than 60 percent of area median income or which have a poverty rate of at least 25 percent. As it has for the last two years, HUD DDA designations are set at the zip code level, rather than designations covering full metropolitan statistical areas, as was HUD's previous practice.

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