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House Unanimously Passes Rental Assistance Reform Bill

Yesterday, in a rare unanimous vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), which would make various reforms to rental housing assistance programs, including streamlining Housing Choice Voucher program inspections, simplifying the requirements for project basing vouchers, and providing public housing agencies (PHAs) greater flexibility to transfer funding between their operating and capital funds.

House Passes Legislation to Classify Muni Bonds as High-Quality Liquid Assets

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed 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 was passed by voice vote.

FHA Cuts Multifamily Insurance Rates for Affordable and Energy-Efficient Housing

On January 28, HUD announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce its multifamily insurance rates to stimulate the production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. These rate reductions, effective April 1, will apply to the FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing program and other FHA multifamily housing programs that help finance properties housing low-income families and developments installing energy-efficient systems or building within federal energy guidelines. Multifamily insurance rates for financing of market-rate properties that are not energy efficient will remain unchanged.

Urban Institute Analysis Finds Tight Credit Standards Prevented Millions From Getting Mortgages

Unusually tight credit standards in the current housing market may have prevented over 5 million borrowers from taking out a mortgage, according to an analysis released earlier this week by the Urban Institute. The analysis finds that, between 2009 and 2014, 5.2 million more loans would have been originated if credit standards had been similar to what they were in 2001.

HUD Issues Fair Housing Assessment Tool for Local Governments, Data Mapping Tool, and Other Fair Housing Resources

On December 31, HUD published the final Assessment Tool that local governments will use to prepare their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFH) under HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. As NCSHA has reported previously, HUD will develop separate assessment tools for states, insular areas, and public housing agencies to account for the distinctions between different types of HUD program participants.

Congress Passes Omnibus Spending and Tax Bill with Permanent 9 Percent Minimum Housing Credit Rate, HOME Increase

Today, the Senate passed combined FY 2016 omnibus spending and tax extender legislation, following House passage of the tax extender bill yesterday and the omnibus spending bill earlier this morning. After passing the two bills separately, the House combined them into one bill for Senate consideration. The combined bill now goes to the White House for the President’s signature to become law.

Tax Package Makes Permanent 9 Percent Minimum Housing Credit Rate

Late December 15, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled tax extender legislation, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, that would renew and make permanent some of the expired tax provisions, including the 9 percent minimum Housing Credit rate, and extend for either five years or two years other expired tax provisions. The bill—a major victory for NCSHA and other Housing Credit industry stakeholders—is the result of weeks of negotiations among leaders of both parties and both chambers.

FY 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill Increases HOME Funding

In the early hours of the morning on December 16, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus spending bill, providing $1.1 trillion in funding for government operations, including funding for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service programs.

FHFA Releases Proposed Duty to Serve Rule for Fannie and Freddie

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.

Final Multiyear Transportation Bill Includes Housing Provisions

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.

Congressional Negotiators Closing in on Tax Extenders Bill Deal

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.

Moody’s Report Predicts Stable Outlook for State HFAs in 2016

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.