Washington Report | October 12, 2018
Amidst all the discouraging data and troubling trends regarding the housing affordability crisis, there are, in fact, reasons to feel some measure of optimism. Nobody should be naïve about the severity or scope of the challenge — but everyone should be encouraged by the following recent developments:
- Emerging political consensus on the need for regulatory relief and new supply. Mark Calabria, chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence, said recently, “There are a lot of very strong economic reasons to worry about the constraints on housing supply that go beyond housing affordability: it reduces mobility, it adds inequality.” The New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives agrees: “The goal is clear: We need to build millions more housing units.”
- Examples of potentially transformative innovation throughout the housing ecosystem. Venture capital from investors and companies that have disrupted countless other industries is flowing into an array of firms and business models — all aimed at using technology to drive down development costs. Start-ups seeking to create and serve a new market of “iBuyers” through digital solutions are working to create greater liquidity and lower prices in home sales.
- Efforts by the GSEs to increase their impact through new approaches. Freddie Mac recently re-entered the market for Housing Credits with a $100 million investment and rolled out a new preservation loan product. Fannie Mae is also back as a Housing Credit investor and has asked its regulator for the ability to do more in that space and to increase its loan purchases in rural areas.
- Evidence of employers and civic leaders stepping up. From the San Francisco Bay Area, to Austin, to Charlotte, new sources of private capital are coming into affordable housing. And Axios reports: “Student debt is stopping a huge swath of Americans from entering the middle class, buying homes, and starting families…[so] employers are starting to debut assistance programs that experts say could become as ubiquitous as 401(k)s or health care.”
- Expanding bipartisan commitment to action. More than 40 percent of members in the House of Representatives — 95 Democrats and 80 Republicans — have signed on to the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661). The Senate version of the bill (S.548) also has growing bipartisan support.
These undeniably positive trends, along with the challenges, will all be on the agenda at NCSHA’s Annual Conference & Showplace in Austin, TX, starting this weekend. Look forward to seeing you there.
Stockton Williams | Executive Director
In This Issue
- HUD Awards $47 Million in Housing Counseling Grants to HFAs and Other Agencies
- HUD Publishes Housing Trust Fund Commitment and Expenditure Guidance
- SEC to Hold Public Conference to Discuss New Muni Disclosure Requirements
- Fannie Mae Accepting Entries for Sustainable Communities Initiative
- Hugh Frater Named Fannie Mae Interim CEO
- Looking Ahead
HUD announced on October 10 that it has awarded $47 million in housing counseling grants to help approximately one million households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes. These grants support housing counseling services provided by 31 national and regional organizations, 6 multi-state organizations, 19 state HFAs, and 207 local housing counseling agencies. In addition, HUD is awarding $3.5 million to four national organizations to train and certify additional housing counselors.
On October 5, HUD published a notice reminding Housing Trust Fund (HTF) grantees they must commit their HTF funds within 24 months of when they execute their grant agreements with HUD and must expend all their HTF funds within five years of that agreement. The notice also states grantees should enter their commitment and expenditure data into HUD’s Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) so HUD can determine if they are in compliance with these deadlines. HUD will recapture any HTF funds not committed or expended by the applicable deadline and reallocate the funds to all HTF grantees, except those from which the funds were recaptured, through the next year’s HTF formula.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced recently that it will hold a conference in Washington, DC, on December 6 to discuss issuers’ municipal disclosure obligations. The conference will focus on an SEC rule published in August that requires HFAs and other municipal bond issuers to disclose within 10 days material events related to their financial obligations. NCSHA summarized the rule in more detail on our blog. The SEC has not yet released any additional information on the meeting. NCSHA will share the information with HFAs when it is available.
Fannie Mae announced it is accepting submissions for its Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge. Fannie Mae has committed $10 million to help develop “collaborative, cross-sector approaches” aimed at creating affordable housing options in communities dedicated to providing their residents employment, education, and healthy living opportunities. The latest call for entries is the second of an envisioned three-part initiative. The deadline for submissions during this round is November 1. For more information and to submit an idea, please click here.
Fannie Mae earlier this week named Hugh Frater as its new interim corporate executive officer. Frater’s appointment will be effective on October 16, subject to approval by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Frater has served on Fannie Mae’s board of directors since 2016, and he currently serves as the non-executive chairman at VEREIT, Inc., a real estate investment and management firm, and as a director of ABR Reinsurance Capital Holdings Ltd. He previously served as chairman and CEO at commercial real estate firm Berkadia and as a managing director at BlackRock, Inc. Frater replaces current CEO Timothy Mayopoulos, who will step down on October 15.
NCSHA, State HFA, and Industry Events
- October 13 – 16 | 2018 Annual Conference & Showplace | Austin, TX
- October 21 – 23 | National Affordable Housing Management Association’s Biannual Top Issues in Affordable Housing Conference—Fall 2018
Jennifer Schwartz will participate.
- October 24 – 25 | North Carolina Affordable Housing Conference
Stockton Williams will participate.
- October 24 – 25 | Affordable Housing Investors Council – Affordable Housing Summit
Jim Tassos will participate.
- November 7 – 8 | Indiana HCDA’s Moving Forward Rural Development Workshop
Jennifer Schwartz will participate.
- November 14 | Vermont Statewide Housing Conference
Stockton Williams will participate.
- November 14 – 15 | Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council Meeting
Stockton Williams and Garth Rieman will participate.
- November 19 | Ballard Spahr National Housing Symposium
NCSHA staff will participate.
- December 2 – 4 | NCSHA December Board of Directors Meeting | Washington, DC
Legislative and Regulatory Activity
- October 15 | Comment deadline for HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
- October 16 | Comment deadline on USDA’s proposed rule on the maximum interest rate on Section 502 single-family guaranteed loans
- October 19 | Feedback due to NCSHA’s Glenn Gallo on USDA’s proposed rule modifying the income eligibility standards for Section 502 Guaranteed and Direct rural home loans
- October 22 | Comment deadline on USDA’s proposed rule on streamlining loss claims for lenders acquiring title through voluntary liquidation or foreclosure
- October 29 | National Low-Income Housing Coalition congressional briefing, “Bold Housing Solutions: Opportunities to Expand the Housing Trust Fund”
Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal is scheduled to participate.
- October 30 | Comment deadline on USDA’s proposed rule modifying the income eligibility standards for Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loans and Section 502 Direct Home Loan programs
- November 19 | Comment deadline on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Community Reinvestment Act