Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington | By Luke Villalobos
PAVE report examines racial bias in the appraisal process

HUD announced on Wednesday the publication of the highly anticipated Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) report. The task force, announced in a June 2021 executive order from President Biden, is co-chaired by HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and White House domestic policy advisor Susan Rice. It was created to evaluate the causes, extent, and consequences of appraisal bias in homeownership. It ultimately seeks to counter historic disinvestment and undervaluation of minority homes and takes steps to create a more equitable system. 
The report discusses the history of appraisal bias and its impact on homeowners today, and makes several broad recommendations that PAVE says will help fight discrimination. These include strengthening regulatory guardrails against unlawful discrimination, consolidating and stepping up enforcement of fair housing laws, increasing competence and diversity among appraisers, and increasing consumer power during appraisals. The report also recommends providing researchers with better data to study appraisals, which has prompted some groups to call for the data used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the research to be published. Though they acknowledge that releasing the data is complex due to privacy concerns, many housing advocates stress that access to it is invaluable for accurate policymaking and compliance efforts.

PAVE’s recommendations are largely consistent with those laid out in a January report on appraisal bias from the National Fair Housing Alliance. Both reports focused primarily on regulatory fixes but called on Congress to overhaul the structure of the appraisal industry. In response to the PAVE report, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Water (D-CA) announced that her committee would hold a hearing on appraisal bias on March 29, including testimony from industry leaders and NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice.
NHC President and CEO David Dworkin praised the plan, saying, “the initiatives announced today are critical to eliminating racial bias, improving appraisal accuracy, and opening access to more affordable, sustainable homeownership opportunities for minority borrowers. Accurate and fair appraisals are the foundation of sound mortgage underwriting and sustainable mortgages that equitably serve all Americans.”
Adams and Rouzer introduce bill to allow SLFRF use on LIHTC projects

Last Thursday, Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced the LIFELINE Act, which would enable the use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) dollars for LIHTC affordable housing developments. The bill would reverse the Treasury Department's requirement that SLFRF funds be used by the end of 2024, extending the deadline through 2026 and allowing funds to be used for LIHTC projects.
More than 80 housing organizations sentletter to Congress asking for this change earlier in March, citing the fact that "approximately half of states and countless local governments have chosen or proposed to dedicate a portion of their SLFRF to affordable housing uses, including as a supplemental financing source in [LIHTC] developments." A companion bill that will be introduced in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is expected soon.
Fannie Mae launches racial equity innovation challenge

Fannie Mae announced Tuesday that its 2022 Innovation Challenge will focus on reducing racial barriers in housing, particularly those affecting Black communities. Fannie Mae will invite minority-led organizations serving predominantly Black communities to submit proposals for innovative projects that advance equity in the renting and home buying experience, with a $5 million prize for winning organizations.
Fannie Mae’s Innovation Challenge Team is particularly interested in breaking down barriers associated with insufficient housing supply, the inability to pay closing costs, and credit scoring. Organizations may submit projects for consideration between March 28 and May 13.
HUD announces funding for disaster recovery and youth homelessness

HUD issued two major funding announcements this week: one for a $3 billion disbursement of disaster recovery and resilience funds and another for a $72 million funding opportunity to help homeless youth.
The $3 billion in disaster recovery funds comes in the form of 23 Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) disbursements to state and local governments to help them recover from major disasters. The bulk of the funding will go toward recovery from disasters that occurred in 2021. However, HUD will also disburse $723 million to communities that are still recovering from disasters in 2020, most notably those recovering from Hurricanes Sally, Delta, and Zeta.
The $72 million funding opportunity is available to up to 25 communities for the purpose of reducing youth homelessness and helping those at risk of it. The funding was made available through HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program and is part of the Biden administration’s push to end youth homelessness.
CFPB publishes 2021 HMDA data

CFPB announced Thursday that it had published 2021 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) loan-level data for 2021 on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s website. The data details mortgage lending by over 4,000 financial institutions covered by HMDA and is modified to protect consumer privacy.
This year’s release marks the first time that HMDA loan-level data will be aggregated online, allowing stakeholders to access the entire dataset in one place. Previously, loan-level data had been available only upon request from each filing institution. CFPB will also publish reports with insights into the 2021 data later this year.
AHTCC opens Edson Award applications

The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) is seeking applications for the 2022 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards, recognizing outstanding LIHTC affordable housing projects and developers.
This year's awards will include two new categories: Native American or Tribal Populations and Green and Healthy Housing. The deadline for applications is April 22.
Chart of the week
Chart of the week: Rising rents and home prices provide fewer affordable housing options for workers

New data from NHC’s Paycheck to Paycheck database shows that the salary needed to afford the typical home is approaching the typical annual wage. Meanwhile, the salary needed to afford the typical apartment, which has been higher than the typical annual wage since at least 2014, has been pushed even further above it, leaving workers with fewer affordable housing options than ever in the modern era.
What we're reading
Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford argues in Politico that the most significant component of accelerating inflation is the cost of housing. Reckford argues that housing cost inflation is not likely to be ameliorated by raising interest rates, and instead calls on Congress to roll back restrictive zoning, pass the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, and create a competitive grant program to encourage homebuilding by nonprofits.
Buzzfeed asks millennial readers how they bought their homes, revealing the extent of young Americans’ difficulties in achieving homeownership. Readers share how they cobbled together tax credits, waived contingencies, lived with their parents, and worked as surrogates to afford a home of their own.
LISC investigates whether housing speculation drives displacement in communities of color by examining tenant outcomes in buildings with the fastest-rising property values. They find that “private and corporate landlords have generated substantial returns by extracting wealth from low-income and Black and Latinx communities, while this speculation demonstrably harms and destabilizes the tenants who enable these profits.”
The week ahead
Monday, March 28
ULI: Value and cap rates, 1 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 29
NLIHC: Legislative working group, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 30
NCRC: Foreclosure counseling, 2 – 3 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 31
Friday, April 1
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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