On July 14, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released "Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing," its annual report documenting the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing across the nation. NLIHC’s 2020 report concludes that the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus further increases the risk of housing instability for millions of low-wage renters who were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies today passed its fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill, which would provide substantial increases for regular annual appropriations for HUD programs in FY 2021 and additional appropriations for several HUD programs to foster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and support infrastructure development.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies convened Monday evening to mark up the FY 2021 appropriations bill for USDA, FDA, and related agencies. The bill, which includes a total of $23.98 billion in discretionary funding — an increase of $487 million from FY 2020 — was approved by a voice vote.
House Passes Infrastructure Legislation with Significant Expansion of Housing Credits and Private Activity Bonds
On July 1, the House of Representatives, on a largely party-line vote, passed an historic infrastructure bill, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), with significant new resources for affordable housing, including many NCSHA priorities — a 50 percent increase to the Housing Credit volume cap, the establishment of a minimum 4 percent credit rate for bond-financed Housing Credit properties, an increase to the private activity bond volume cap, the creation of a new single-family tax credit, funding increases for HOME and the Housing Trust Fund, and more.
On July 1, the Internal Revenue Service published Notice 2020-53 providing temporary relief to owners and residents of Housing Credit and tax-exempt bond financed developments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice provides relief to agencies that administer the Housing Credit and tax-exempt bond programs and addresses nearly all of the issues raised in the letter NCSHA sent to IRS in March requesting COVID-19 relief.
In a massive victory for NCSHA, IRS and Treasury today published a proposed rule repealing the Housing Credit compliance monitoring sample size methodology that the Service and the department adopted in final regulations issued in February 2019. Those regulations, which NCSHA strongly opposed, would have gone into practical effect no later than January 1, 2021. Instead, the proposed rule IRS and Treasury released today reinstates previous policy in place from 2016 until IRS published the 2019 regulations.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has published the first in what will be a series of reports analyzing the housing market, including whether the existing housing stock meets the needs of the American people. This first report describes trends in the rental housing market between 2001 and 2017, looking at the share of the population that rents, renters’ demographic characteristics, the affordability of the housing stock to renters, and rental housing conditions.
Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will allow servicers of Enterprise multifamily loans to extend forbearance agreements for multifamily property owners for up to three additional months, for a total forbearance period of up to six months. This extension is available for owners of qualified properties with Enterprise-backed multifamily mortgages experiencing financial hardships due to the coronavirus National Emergency.
Senators Wyden and Cantwell Introduce Legislation Paralleling Housing Credit Provisions in House Infrastructure Bill
Today, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced standalone Senate companion legislation to the Housing Credit provisions included in the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), the infrastructure legislation released in the House earlier this week. The bill, The Emergency Affordable Housing Act of 2020, does not have a bill number at this time; however, the bill text, a one-page summary, and a more detailed summary are all available.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday released a proposed rule amending its Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage underwriting guidelines. The proposal rescinds the 43 percent debt-to-income ratio limit loans must meet to qualify as Qualified Mortgages and creates a new price-based threshold for Qualified Mortgage loans.