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Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington
CDC halts evictions through the end of the year

The White House issued a statement and convened a call on Tuesday to announce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will halt evictions through the end of the year per the agency’s directive in the executive order issued on Aug. 8. Deeming that widespread evictions pose significant risk to the spread of COVID-19, the CDC published the new agency order in the Federal Register.
In order to be eligible for the moratorium, however, renters must not exceed the thresholds for receiving an Economic Impact Payment under the CARES Act. Renters will also be required to demonstrate to their landlord or property manager that they have experienced a loss of income, made best efforts to pay rent, attempted to obtain relevant government assistance, and, if evicted, would likely become homeless or forced to live in congregate housing.
“We could still have millions of evictions in January, in the middle of winter, and all we will have accomplished is evicting people in colder weather,” NHC President and CEO David Dworkin told the Wall Street Journal.

“There is broad agreement across the housing industry that the only real solution to this crisis is federal rental assistance. For property owners, it is a crushing unfunded mandate that will bankrupt many small businesses. For 43 million renter households, it creates a complicated and opaque maze that those most in need cannot possibly navigate. Congress and the White House must reconvene negotiations on a comprehensive solution immediately,” Dworkin said in a statement.
HUD awards $100 million in CARES Act funds to Native American tribes

This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will award $100 million in new funding, provided by the CARES Act, to Native American tribes through the Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat Program (ICDBG-CARES). The funds will be put towards a diverse range of ongoing projects, including rental housing development, water infrastructure construction, health clinic renovation and emergency food supplies. “This $100 million investment will go a long way to help Native Americans persevere during this unprecedented time,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Hunter Kurtz.

NHC recently added a tribal housing section to the FAQs page of our COVID-19 Housing Resource Center, where housing stakeholders can learn more about the ICDBG-CARES program and additional COVID-19 related assistance available to tribal members. 
Data confirms many homeowners relying on forbearance 

New data continues to illuminate the financial effects of COVID-19 on U.S. homeowners. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a report on the impact of the pandemic on consumer credit, including mortgage and auto lending, student loans and credit cards. The report tracks changes in the consumer credit markets from March to June and found that although new delinquencies have not seen a dramatic increase since the onset of the pandemic, the share of mortgages reporting $0 payment due saw a “sharp increase,” from “essentially zero” in February to 6% in June. Geographic areas that reported the greatest increase in mortgages receiving payment assistance aligned to areas of the country with high rates of COVID-19 and unemployment.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Forbearance and Call Volume Survey, released on Monday, found that as of Aug. 23, an estimated 7.2% of mortgages were in forbearance. While forbearances are trending down for GSE-backed loans, the share of mortgages guaranteed by Ginnie Mae increased to nearly 10%. The disparity in forbearance volume suggests that minority, low- to moderate-income, veteran and rural homeowners who rely on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
Comment period on FHFA’s proposed capital rule closes

Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for a new regulatory capital framework for the GSEs, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in May, were due Monday. The NPRM, which was originally introduced in July 2018 and then re-proposed in 2020, sets new capital requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "We must chart a course for the enterprises toward a sound capital footing so they can help all Americans in times of stress," said FHFA Director Mark Calabria in a statement announcing the NPRM.

FHFA also announced it will host two listening sessions in September “to allow interested parties to elaborate on their public comment letters on the re-proposed capital rule.” The first listening session on Sep. 10 will focus on credit risk transfers. The second session on Sep. 14 will focus on affordable housing. 
Earlier in the summer, Democratic members of the House and Senate asked FHFA for more time and deeper analysis of how the proposal would impact borrowers.

NHC joined a broad group of 14 housing and civil rights groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending, NAACP, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Community Stabilization Trust and National Fair Housing Alliance, in a comment letter calling on FHFA to revise its proposal. “The proposed capital rule conflicts with the GSEs’ charter mission by treating the GSEs as banks. As a result of this approach, the rule would unnecessarily increase the cost of mortgage credit with a disproportionate impact on low- to moderate-income borrowers and borrowers of color,” the letter states.
“The proposed rule fails to appropriately balance the mission of the GSEs and their safety and soundness,” said NHC’s David Dworkin in a statement. “The levels of capital and the leverage ratio recommended in the proposed rule would disrupt housing markets and significantly raise the cost of homeownership. In the middle of an unprecedented pandemic and the worst recession since the Great Depression, now is not the time to restrict credit or alter the fundamental infrastructure of the housing economy.” 
Chart of the Week
Chart of the week: Most vulnerable workers see little mortgage relief under CARES Act 

Recent analysis from the Urban Institute reveals the effect of COVID-19 on renters and owners of manufactured homes. Not only do these households account for the largest share of workers in industries vulnerable to COVID-19, but they have also been largely left out of federal assistance because the CARES Act excludes manufactured homes from forbearance protections. 
What we're reading
In a recent op-ed for Qcitymetro, Jacqueline O’Garrow, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership chair and NHC National Advisory Council co-chair, highlights the need for fair and affordable housing in Charlotte, North Carolina. “One thing is clear: without fair, equal access to affordable housing in high opportunity areas of our city, kids from impoverished neighborhoods will be curtailed in their ability to catch up and succeed,” writes O’Garrow.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond conducted a deep dive into the economic impact of COVID-19 on mortgage and student lending and the effectiveness of federal relief measures instituted by the CARES Act. The report concludes that the emergency legislation helped “support individual borrowers” and “stabilize markets.” The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond cautioned, however, that “the next several months will be important for household financial security,” citing major changes in the labor market and the expiration of federal relief programs.
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index points to growing demand for suburban housing across the country. One side effect of this trend and benefit from the current working environment may be greater access to affordable housing. “The growing trend for working at home is enabling more families to choose to live in lower cost, lower density communities,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.
New data from ATTOM Data Solutions raises concern about a growing number of abandoned homes entering foreclosure. While the share of all properties in foreclosure decreased, the percentage of vacant properties entering foreclosure, known as “zombie foreclosures,” increased, reaching 3.7% going into the third quarter. Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions, said, “the latest numbers do throw a small potential red flag into the air.”
The week ahead
The National Housing Conference has been defending the American Home since 1931. We believe everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership and the broader housing and community development sectors to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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