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Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington | By Luke Villalobos
FHFA proposes housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a news release detailing proposed housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) for 2022-2024. The new goals are focused on equity in housing, including two new single-family home purchase subgoals, one of which targets communities of color. The goals are designed to promote access to affordable housing for minority communities, rural areas and underserved populations. 

In 2022-2024, the proposed benchmark level of single-family purchases for low-income families is 28%, a 4% increase from the current benchmark of 24%. The proposal for very low-income home purchases is 7%, a 1% increase from the current 6% goal. For multifamily purchases, the goals were also increased to 415,000 for low-income purchases, previously 315,000 and 88,000 for very low-income purchases, previously 60,000.

NHC President and CEO David M. Dworkin released a statement that was broadly supportive of teh new goals. Dworkin also argued that in order to better track progress on the Enterprises' lending to communities of color, “FHFA should require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to publicly disclose the volume of individual loans by race, as well as income, and report on past performance under the new goals from 2018-2021.” 
Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduces the DASH Act

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Decent, Affordable, Safe Housing for All (DASH) Act on Thursday, a sweeping legislation that aims to address the housing supply crisis and eliminate homelessness within five years of its passage.

The bulk of the bill is dedicated to new tax credit programs that are aimed at reducing housing cost burdens and increasing the supply of homes affordable to low- and middle-income families. These include the familiar Neighborhood Homes Investment Act and changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, as well as several new proposals, such as tax credits aimed at renters and middle-income housing developers. In addition, the bill proposes a new, tax credit-based model for down payment assistance, distinct from that being pushed by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

The bill also includes several provisions directly targeted at the country’s worsening homelessness problem, including providing Housing Choice Vouchers to all homeless families and expanding access to social services such as childcare and nutritional assistance. “As housing prices skyrocket, a generation of young people are increasingly locked out of homeownership,” Wyden said. “It’s time America’s lawmakers get with the program and enact 21st century housing policies that adequately address 21st century challenges.”
NHC, Federal Reserve post job openings

NHC is excited to announce an opening for the position of Marketing and Communications Manager. This role involves managing and shaping the brand of the oldest and broadest housing coalition in the country, coordinating our events and webinars, and managing media relationships. We are looking for applicants with at least five years of marketing experience, fluency in social media and web design platforms, and strong research and writing skills. The full job listing can be found here, and those interested should send a cover letter and resume to NHC Vice President of Operations Amanda Mitchell.

Additionally, NHC would like to alert members to three openings at the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Community and Consumer Affairs for senior-level analysts focusing on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The Board is seeking analysts with at least five years of relevant professional experience, preferably with first-hand knowledge of CRA regulation, and familiarity with analyzing consumer financial data. The full job listing can be found here.
CFPB finds wide range of servicer responses to pandemic

Last Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report on mortgage servicers’ pandemic responses. The CFPB tracked metrics from 16 large mortgage servicers and ultimately concludes that the industry has a widely varied response to pandemic-related services. Data observed included information regarding call metrics, pandemic forbearance exit metrics, delinquency metrics, borrower profiles, and assistance enrollment. The metrics revealed that while some providers were responsive, others are struggling to adequately respond to demand. One example was phone call wait times, which ranged from 3 to 26 minutes.

Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio stated in a press release, “Today’s report should inform servicers’ own data reviews as they determine whether they are doing enough for borrowers. Servicers who find themselves at the bottom of the pack should immediately take corrective steps. The CFPB will hold accountable those servicers who cause harm to homeowners and families.”
Ginnie Mae extends deadline for comments on single-family MBS issuer requirements

Ginnie Mae extended the comment period on its proposed changes to requirements for issuers of its single-family mortgage-backed securities (MBS) last Thursday. The deadline to submit comments was extended for an additional 60 days past the original deadline of Aug. 9.

Ginnie Mae’s proposed changes include increasing requirements for issuers’ net worth and liquidity and minimum risk-based capital ratios for nonbanks, something the corporation says is necessary to ensure its issuers can weather economic downturns. However, analysts at the Urban Institute argue that the new risk-based capital requirements could depress demand for government-backed mortgages, ultimately raising rates for FHA and VA borrowers.

The new deadline for comments on the proposal is Oct. 8.
Idaho law providing relief from surging housing prices limits new construction

Idaho localities are being forced to cut back on new housing development after the state passed a law in May limiting local property tax revenue on new construction. The law, enacted in response to the state’s surging housing prices, aimed to provide relief to property owners who saw their tax bills shoot up by capping localities’ annual revenue growth at 8%. However, the law also included provisions requiring localities to levy taxes on just 90% of newly developed properties’ assessed values, limiting fast-growing areas’ ability to increase services to keep up with expanding populations. 

In response to the law, many localities are taking steps to limit new construction, with one Boise suburb going as far as enacting a 120-day ban on new construction that remained in place for several months. Home builders in the state have said that such measures constrain supply and are likely to push home values even higher. “When a municipality or county feels compelled to stop further development, there’s a ripple effect on economic impact that isn’t always clear to those officials or the public,” said Bill Rauer, executive officer for the Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho. “The most sure way to ease home prices is to provide more inventory.”
HUD announces aging in place funding, first CoC NOFO since before pandemic

On Aug. 6, HUD announced $30 million in funding for aging-in-place investment to help low-income elderly homeowners. The funds, provided through HUD’s Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP), were awarded to 32 nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities that run programs focused on providing home repairs and modifications for the elderly.

Last week, HUD also announced it would make available $2.7 billion through its Continuum of Care (CoC) program for organizations to use to provide housing and supportive services to the homeless. In conjunction with the announcement, HUD also issued its first CoC Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in over a year, after suspending the competitive grant process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until now, HUD was renewing grants without NOFOs to ease burdens on staff during the pandemic.
Supreme Court blocks New York anti-eviction law

In a decision that could threaten local protections against evictions across the country, the Supreme Court ruled last week that a New York law passed to limit evictions during the pandemic violates landlords’ rights to due process. The law, which was due to expire at the end of this month, protected tenants from eviction if they self-certified that they had experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and could not pay rent. 

The Court ruled 6-3 that the self-certification process denied landlords their fifth amendment rights since landlords had no way of appealing tenants’ certifications, violating the principle that “no man can be a judge in his own case.” The ruling raised alarm among activists in New York and other states, who worried that the Court might find similar laws unconstitutional and allow for more evictions even as the country faces another wave of COVID-19 infections.
Chart of the week
Chart of the week: 2.86 million households owe a cumulative $14.27 billion in back rent

The Research Institute for Housing America finds that 2.86 million households missed paying rent in June. These households had missed 6.2 payments since the beginning of the pandemic and owed $4,995 on average, or $14.27 billion in total.
What we're reading
paper from the Upjohn Institute links the construction of new apartment buildings to increasing inventory in more modestly-priced neighborhoods, suggesting that increasing housing supply reduces housing prices even when new construction is of the “luxury” variety. The paper finds that “constructing a new market-rate building that houses 100 people ultimately leads 45 to 70 people to move out of below-median income neighborhoods, with most of the effect occurring within three years.” (A working version of this paper is available for free download here.)
NPR’s Planet Money finds that many investors in manufactured housing communities profit from residents’ relative inability to move by dramatically increasing rents and using their increased revenue to refinance the property. Some such refinances are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which often puts the Enterprises in the position of financing manufactured housing residents’ eviction from their homes due to an inability to pay for increased rents.

The Chicago Sun-Times covers lagging Black homeownership rates in the wake of the pandemic, which have stagnated even as homeownership rates have increased for White Americans. The stagnation has many causes, including Black Americans’ lower rate of working from home, their disproportionate job losses and pre-existing disparities in wealth.

HUD released the video of its webcast on the Biden administration’s initiative to reduce bias in home valuation, the Interagency Taskforce on Property Assessment Valuation Equity. The webcast featured contributions from HUD Senior Advisor for Housing Finance Alanna McCargo, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Senior Vice President Noerena Limón, and National Fair Housing Alliance President Lisa Rice, among other experts.
The week ahead
Monday, August 23
Tuesday, August 24
Wednesday, August 25
Thursday, August 26
NAFCU: Workplace cohesion, 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Friday, August 27
Monday, August 30
Tuesday, August 31
NAFCU: Nacha 2021 update, 2 – 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, September 1
Thursday, September 2
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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