January 3, 2018

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

Homeownership Programs

Genworth:  3% Down Mortgages Key to Lock In First-time Homebuyers in 2018

According to a new survey from Genworth Mortgage Insurance, the majority of respondents anticipate strong first-time homebuyer growth in 2018, with more than half (57%) believing that the first-time homebuyer market will grow at a faster pace than the overall housing market in 2018. And for the products that will be in high demand, respondents said that the majority (63%) of mortgage lenders believe demand for 97% loan-to-value products will grow in 2018.

Coastal Mortgage Time Bomb

Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program is part of Congress’ unfinished business in the New Year, and a consensus has not yet emerged despite House passage of a bill in early December. With the cost of flood insurance rising, and the current program insolvent, there is growing concern about the long-term implications for mortgage lending in flood prone areas.

I celebrated holidays in a trailer.  Don’t put it down, it was home.

This USA Today op-ed piece by Suzanne Anarde, who is program vice president for Rural LISC and leads rural investments and programming for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, speaks to the important role manufactured housing can play in affordable housing.

Rural Lending

Rural Business Owners Face a Dwindling Pool of Lenders

This article is part of the Wall Street Journal’s ongoing series of in-depth reports on conditions in rural America. It focuses on the significant loss of local banks in rural communities, whether community-based or branches of larger regional/national banks, and describes the severe impacts the loss is having on rural businesses and economies.
(subscription only)

Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Publish ‘Duty to Serve’ Plans

On December 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency published ‘Duty to Serve’ program market plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the next two years. These plans lay out the GSEs’ strategies for addressing the lending needs of underserved markets.

Fannie, Freddie Announce Final Plans to Serve Underserved Markets

A summary of the focus of the GSE duty to serve plans which include three priorities:  1) manufactured housing; 2) preservation of affordable rental housing; and 3) rural housing. Central Appalachia is one the GSEs’ priority underserved rural regions.

Fannie-Freddie Plan to Modify Credit Scoring, Servicing, Appraisals

On December 21, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the release of its 2018 Scorecard, which outlines the conservatorship priorities for the GSEs. These include: 1) if appropriate, to implement a new credit scoring model; 2) addressing mortgage servicing technology; and 3) appraisal process modernization.

Fannie-Freddie Talks Set Competition as the Cost of Freedom

Senator Mark Warner and Senator Bob Corker are working to develop a plan that would lower barriers to entry for secondary market competitors to the GSEs by removing some of the advantages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now possess.

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