Earlier today the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its proposed “Duty to Serve” rule, which would require the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support housing for lower income families in three underserved segments of the housing finance market: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and homeownership opportunities in rural areas.
After months of deliberation both the House and Senate yesterday by wide margins passed multiyear transportation legislation—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST). President Obama is expected to sign the bill before current authorization expires at the end of today.
House and Senate negotiators are working to reach agreement on tax legislation that would make permanent some of the currently temporary tax provisions and extend others for a finite period of time, potentially two years in most cases. Many of the temporary provisions have already expired, including a provision NCSHA supports that established a 9 percent minimum Housing Credit rate.
Last week, Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) released a report predicting a stable financial outlook in 2016 for state HFAs. The report concludes that the continued growth of state HFAs median margins (net revenue/total revenue) and strong loan production indicates a stable outlook for fiscal year (FY) 2016. Moody's says HFAs must begin to rebuild their balance sheets by adding more mortgage loan assets to their portfolios to achieve a positive outlook.
Today, HUD published on its website the 2016 Difficult Development Areas (DDAs) and Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs), which are eligible for the 30 percent basis boost under the Housing Credit program. As HUD has long planned, the methodology for determining 2016 metropolitan DDAs relies on new Small Area Fair Market Rents, and thus result in 311 zip code level small area metropolitan DDAs across 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This compares to 35 full metropolitan statistical areas in 11 states plus Puerto Rico that HUD designated as DDAs in 2015.
Earlier today, HUD released its 2015 Annual Report to Congress on the Financial Status of the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF). The report finds that the MMIF, which funds FHA's single-family and reverse mortgage programs, has a capital ratio of 2.07 percent, slightly above the statutory minimum ratio of 2 percent. This is the first time the MMIF has met its minimum capital ratio since 2009.
On November 4, the Republican Steering Committee voted to elect Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee over Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), after newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) threw his support behind Brady. The Steering Committee votes by secret ballot, so the actual vote tally is unknown.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), in conjunction with HUD, recently announced that it has begun accepting entries for the 2016 Housing and Community Design Awards Program. AIA and HUD invite owners of structures and architects licensed in the United States to submit project designs of any size, budget, or style. Only projects completed after January, 1, 2011 will be considered for the awards. All entries must be submitted electronically before November 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm Eastern.
NCSHA Suggests Targeted Improvements to HUD Programs in Statement to House Financial Services Committee
NCSHA on November 1 submitted a statement to the House Financial Services Committee in response to Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) request for recommendations to reform HUD and modernize the delivery of housing assistance. Hensarling issued the call for public comments as HUD marks its 50th anniversary this year, maintaining that HUD has fallen short of the expectations Congress and President Lyndon Johnson set for the agency upon its establishment, and said that “we must reform and innovate how we provide assistance for housing in the 21st century or we will continue to fail the very people who are in most need of our help.”
Earlier today, the House Financial Services Committee voted overwhelmingly to favorably report legislation (H.R. 2209) that would allow large banks to count some of their municipal bond investments as high-quality liquid assets under federal bank liquidity standards. The legislation, which was introduced by Representative Luke Messer (R-IN), was approved by a vote of 56-1, with Democrat Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts casting the lone opposition vote.
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) released on October 28 its latest quarterly report, which includes a section on the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) and incorporates an audit focusing on how many applicants who filed for Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) assistance were granted benefits and how long it took before applicants received assistance. SIGTARP concurrently released a stand-alone version of this audit.
On October 22, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled, "The Future of Housing in America: 50 Years of HUD and its Impact on Federal Housing Policy" to review the effectiveness of HUD programs since the Department was established half a century ago.