Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington | By Luke Villalobos
NHC hosts annual Housing Visionary Awards Gala

On Tuesday evening, NHC once again hosted its annual Housing Visionary Awards Gala. The event honored four outstanding individuals in the housing industry: David Adame, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa; Jim King, CEO and President of Fahe; Pamela Hughes Patenaude, former HUD Deputy Secretary; and Nan Roman, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The event, postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, was hosted at the Anthem in Washington, D.C., and attracted almost 500 housers from across the nation.
NHC President and CEO David Dworkin delivered remarks that reflected on the housing industry's challenges and changes since the pandemic and highlighted the successes of housers that worked tirelessly to keep people in their homes during an unprecedented time of economic uncertainty. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge attended the event alongside Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman, FHA Commissioner Julia Gordon and others.
NHC thanks our presenting sponsor, JPMorgan Chase, for making this year's incredible Gala possible.
NHC Board of Governors announced 

On Wednesday, the National Housing Conference inaugurated its most diverse Board of Governors ever. Longtime member and first-time Chair Steve O'Connor, Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives at the Mortgage Bankers Association, will lead the board, replacing Anne Segrest McCulloch, Chief Legal Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Ali Solis, Founder and Principal of S3 Advisory Services, will serve as vice chair. Additionally, three new Board members joined, including Bryan Greene, Vice President of Policy Advocacy at the National Association of REALTORS®; Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans; and Akilah Watkins-Butler, President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress.
"I am excited to welcome a new generation of leadership to the NHC Board and gratified for NHC to be a model of nonprofit corporate governance," said Anne McCulloch. "Our vision is an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community, and that begins with leadership that looks like America. I am also proud of the work that the National Housing Conference has done during the pandemic, when having a safe place to shelter, to call home, has been more important than ever. The Conference has engaged broadly, with policy makers and thought leaders, activists and service providers, tenants, landlords and homeowners, to focus on solutions to our housing challenges. The work continues and I look forward to supporting the Conference's new leadership team in this work."

Federal Reserve hikes rates by 75 basis points

The Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 75 basis points on Wednesday, a move not seen since 1994, in its latest effort to curb inflation that reached 8.6% in May. Although expected, the hike was more aggressive than many anticipated. Fed chair Jerome Powell has indicated that a similar increase could happen again next month. The Fed has set a goal of reducing inflation to 2 percent but has struggled to regain control amidst outside factors. Rate increases significantly impact mortgage rates in an already volatile market where demand exceeds supply.
"Today's decision by the Federal Reserve to increase the discount rate by 75 basis points will significantly increase the cost of homeownership for millions of Americans," said NHC President and CEO David Dworkin in a press release reacting to the increase. "The Fed has no choice but to raise rates to address inflation. Higher mortgage rates are a necessary but bitter pill. However, without measures to address housing shortages, higher interest rates will only hurt low- and moderate-income families without having a material impact on home price inflation."
Fannie Mae issued a press release noting that "Substantially higher mortgage rates are now the housing market's primary constraint" in response to the rate change. The statement further explained that Fannie Mae anticipates that the rate hikes will likely lead to a recession. Freddie Mac also issued a press release with new evaluations of mortgage rates. "Mortgage rates surged as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage moved up more than half a percentage point, marking the largest one-week increase in our survey since 1987," said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's Chief Economist.
"We're not trying to induce a recession now. Let's be clear about that," said Powell at a news conference. "It is not going to be easy."
Fannie Mae launches new refinance tracker

On Tuesday, Fannie Mae announced its new Refinance Application-Level Index (RALI) series that will provide comprehensive tracking of refinancing activity sourced from Fannie Mae's Desktop Underwriter® system. The weekly RALI series will provide lenders, investors, and others with transparent information on refinance application trends and support more refined prepayment projections.
"We are pleased to begin sharing the Fannie Mae Refinance Application-Level Index with external users, as we believe it will support more accurate tracking, modeling, and planning of refinance activity by mortgage market participants," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist.
Members call for a reinstated study on work requirements

A group of U.S. Senate Banking Committee Republicans penned a letter to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge to reverse a decision that ended a study on the incentives of work requirements for housing voucher recipients. The study took place under HUD's Moving to Work program, and though HUD indicated a small research effort continues, the letter calls the replacement unsatisfactory.
"The abrupt and unexpected cancellation of the work requirement cohort comes after stakeholders had given wide support to the project and expended significant resources on it," the Senators stated.
Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Senators Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) signed the letter.
FCFPB seeks comments on bank customer service

On Tuesday, the CFPB announced that it is seeking public comment on how to improve customer service from large banks. The CFPB issued a Request for Information on data and customer experiences with the obstacles that prevent consumers from receiving quality customer service, citing Section 1034(c) of the 2010 Consumer Financial Protection Act that gives consumers the right to get information from a large bank or credit union with over $10 billion in assets. The deadline for submitting comments is 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
"Customers of large banks should not have to run through an obstacle course to get a straight answer about their account," said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. "We are taking steps to ensure the legally enshrined right to obtain basic customer service."
House Appropriations subcommittee approves spending bill

On Thursday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved its FY2023 bill. The funding, totaling $29.8 billion, allocates $336 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, a $41 million increase above FY2022. The funding also allocates about $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grants and about $1.5 billion for the HOME Investments Partnership. The bill also addresses small business development programs, climate impact, and resiliency.
Chart of the week
FHFA issues report to Congress

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued its 2021 Report to Congress, which analyzes the performance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. It further provides an overview of FHFA as conservator of the Enterprises and regulatory activities, research, and publications. According to the report, the Enterprises met benchmarks for its three multifamily goals in 2020. Fannie Mae met all five of its single-family housing goals, but Freddie Mac only met four, failing to meet its goal for refinancing mortgages for low-income families.
What we're reading
The Congressional Research Service updated a report summarizing the Biden Administration's actions on supply chains. The report outlines selected executive orders and other steps the Administration has taken to repair supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the recently announced Housing Supply Action Plan. Supply chain issues have slowed home production and increased the cost of materials since the pandemic began.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted a blog spotlighting their Construction-to-Permanent Financing program under Rural Development. The post highlights how USDA-approved lenders can help borrowers who want to build a home through a streamlined lending process that ultimately saves homebuyers money. The program also helps support housing construction in rural areas across the US.
The UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation published lessons learned from the State of California's Excess Lands for Housing Initiative during the center's James R. Boyce Affordable Housing Studio Symposium. The excess lands program, in its third year of implementation, has allowed for identifying 690 state properties as potentially suitable for affordable housing development.
The week ahead
Monday, June 20
Tuesday, June 21
Wednesday, June 22
Thursday, June 23
Friday, June 24
The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest.
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