Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced in Seattle this afternoon her intention to introduce legislation to expand Low Income Housing Tax Credit authority by 50 percent and to make other changes to strengthen the program. At the same time, the ACTION Campaign, a group of about 1,300 affordable housing stakeholders that NCSHA and Enterprise Community Partners co-chair, transmitted to every member of Congress a national sign-on letter, endorsed by more than 1,300 organizations representing all 50 states, ca6lling on Congress to increase the Housing Credit cap by at least 50 percent. Cantwell also referenced this letter in her remarks.
NCSHA recently submitted a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commenting on its proposed Enterprise Duty to Serve Underserved Markets rule. FHFA’s proposal, which was released in December, would require the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop and implement plans to serve lower income families through activities related to manufactured housing, rural areas, and preservation. Congress mandated that the GSEs support such activities in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. NCSHA previously summarized the proposed rule on its blog.
Press Reports Indicate FHFA Will Allow Limited Principal Reduction for Underwater Fannie and Freddie Borrowers
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has approved a plan that will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce borrowers’ outstanding mortgage balances to help them remain in their homes. FHFA might officially announce the plan in the next few weeks. In a recent speech, however, FHFA Director Watt said only, “… I expect to announce a decision within the next 30 days about whether we have been able to find a "win-win" principal reduction strategy or whether, on the other hand, we will take principal reduction off the table entirely. So, while I don't have an answer today, I invite you to stay tuned for more on this in the near future.”
On March 15, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced that it has revised the form mortgagees must file when submitting a loan for FHA-insurance and proposed changes to the certification statements lenders and other mortgagees must file when applying to participate in FHA’s homeownership programs. FHA said it hopes these actions will increase lender participation in FHA’s single-family programs by clarifying FHA mortgagees’ underwriting responsibilities and liabilities.
Total tax-exempt housing bond issuance increased substantially in 2015, an analysis recently released by The Bond Buyer (subscription required) finds. The gains in the housing bond market were widespread, with both single-family and multifamily bond volume rising last year.
Earlier today, HUD published the draft Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool for States and Insular Areas and accompanying Federal Register Notice. The tool is intended to guide states through the AFH process required under HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. AFFH requires all entities that receive HUD funding from HOME, Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS and public housing agencies (PHA) to take part in the AFH process.
On March 8, HUD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register amending existing regulations for the Section 542(c) Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Risk-Sharing Program. HUD explains in the proposed rule that the existing regulations were last updated in 2000 and some aspects have since become outdated. The proposed rule, largely informed by dialogue with NCSHA and a working group of HFAs, is intended to better align the regulations with current industry and HUD policies and practices and provide greater flexibility for program participants.
The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) is accepting entries and nominations for the 22nd Annual Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards. The awards honor the best in affordable rental housing development. Each winner and honorable mention will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC in June.
On March 3, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published in the Federal Register combined final regulations amending the Housing Credit utility allowance rules to provide greater clarity for Housing Credit properties that submeter to account for actual tenant energy consumption, and temporary regulations for properties in which an owner acquires energy directly from renewable sources, rather than from a utility company.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), who has been tasked by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) with leading a task force on tax reform, on March 2 released a mission statement, set of principles, policy reforms, and desired outcomes for the task force. The tax reform task force is one of six task forces Ryan has established and charged with developing a Republican pro-growth agenda to be presented to the country in the months ahead.
ACTION Campaign Circulates Sign-On Letter Urging Congress to Raise the Cap on Housing Credit Authority
The A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) Campaign, which NCSHA co-chairs with Enterprise Community Partners, is circulating a national sign-on letter calling on Congress to address the nation’s severe shortage of affordable rental housing by increasing Housing Credit authority by at least 50 percent.
On March 1, Representatives Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) announced the establishment of a new, bipartisan caucus, which will serve as an advocacy and discussion forum for House members who are supporters of municipal bonds.