In a move that will help first-time home buyers, President Obama announced today that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce its annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent during an address in Phoenix.
A fact sheet released by the White Housesays this reduction in premiums will produce an average savings of $900 annually for all new FHA borrowers and that the lowered premiums will create opportunities for 250,000 new home owners to purchase a home over the next three years.
“In recent years, many aspiring home owners have been waiting on the sidelines before buying a new home,” the fact sheet states. “By making mortgages more affordable and helping create further confidence among those wanting to buy a home, the FHA premium reduction will help hundreds of thousands of additional families own a home for the first time.”
Your Home Builders Association supports this action and has previously called on FHA to lower its insurance fees to further boost the housing recovery and reduce the cost of creditworthy borrowers. National Association of Home Builders Chairman Kevin Kelly, who attended the Phoenix event, issued the following statement after Obama spoke:
“NAHB commends the President for taking action to reduce FHA’s annual mortgage insurance premiums by 50 basis points to 0.85 percent. Lower premiums will make home loans more affordable for qualified borrowers, particularly first-time buyers, and help to alleviate tight credit conditions in the mortgage market. This prudent course reflects a recent actuarial report that FHA is back in black and strengthening its financial health. The new premium structure will allow FHA to continue building its reserves.”
Six federal financial regulatory agencies today issued a final rule that creates exemptions from certain appraisal requirements for a subset of higher-priced mortgage loans. The exemptions are intended to save borrowers time and money while still ensuring that the loans are financially sound.
The appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgages were established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Under the Dodd-Frank Act, closed-end mortgage loans are considered to be higher-priced if they are secured by a consumer’s home and have interest rates above a certain threshold. The Dodd-Frank Act requires creditors to obtain a written appraisal based on a physical visit of the home’s interior before making these loans.
The final rule provides that loans of $25,000 or less and certain “streamlined” refinancings are exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act appraisal requirements, which go into effect on January 18, 2014.
In addition, the final rule contains special provisions for manufactured homes, which can present unique issues in determining the appropriate valuation method. To ensure that access to affordable housing options is not hindered while creditors make the necessary adjustments, the requirements for manufactured home loans will not become effective for 18 months. Starting on July 18, 2015, loans secured by an existing manufactured home and land will be subject to the Dodd-Frank Act’s appraisal requirements. Loans secured by a new manufactured home and land will be exempt only from the requirement that the appraiser visit the home’s interior. For loans secured by manufactured homes without land, creditors will be allowed to use other valuation methods without an appraisal, such as using third-party valuation services or “book values.”
In January 2013, a final rule implementing the new Dodd-Frank Act appraisal requirements was issued by the Federal Reserve Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Compliance with the January 2013 final rule will become mandatory on January 18, 2014. These same agencies are jointly issuing today’s final rule to provide additional exemptions in response to public comments.
Builder Review Daily is highlighting the top 12 actions taken on behalf of Home Builders so far this Spring.
Accomplishment number 3: FHA Withdrawal of the “Credit Disputes” Rule
NAHB and other housing and banking industry groups helped convince the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to withdraw a controversial rule slated to go into effect on July 1 that would have prohibited borrowers with any credit disputes of more than $1,000 from obtaining FHA financing.
Earlier this year, FHA issued a mortgagee letter stating that buyers either had to pay off ongoing credit disputes of more than $1,000 that appeared on their credit reports or show proof that they have entered into a repayment plan with their creditors before they could qualify for an FHA loan. NAHB and others in the housing finance community opposed this action citing concerns that it would further restrain the flow of mortgage credit and prevent creditworthy borrowers from qualifying for an FHA-insured loan. Responding to these concerns, on June 15, the FHA issued an updated mortgagee letter formally rescinding its earlier ruling on this matter. However, the agency is expected to issue new guidance on this topic in the near future, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on how this develops going forward.
In good news for home buyers this week, NAHB and other housing and banking industry groups have helped convince the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to withdraw a controversial rule slated to go into effect on July 1 that would have prohibited borrowers with any credit disputes of more than $1,000 from obtaining FHA financing.
Earlier this year, FHA issued a mortgagee letter stating that buyers either had to pay off ongoing credit disputes of more than $1,000 that appeared on their credit reports or show proof that they have entered into a repayment plan with their creditors before they could qualify for an FHA loan. NAHB and others in the housing finance community opposed this action citing concerns that it would further restrain the flow of mortgage credit and prevent creditworthy borrowers from qualifying for an FHA-insured loan.
Thankfully, on June 15, the FHA issued an updated mortgagee letter
formally rescinding its earlier ruling on this matter. However, the agency is expected to issue new guidance on this topic in the near future.
Builder Review Daily continues to highlight the Top 12 actions your HBA has taken on your behalf at the Federal level.
Number 3, release of a comprehensive framework for housing finance reform and active discussions with lawmakers:
Because our members’ businesses depend upon the existence of an accessible and reliable housing finance system, NAHB has been deeply engaged in policymakers’ conversations about how best to reform the system, wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and ensure a stable supply of credit for both home buyers and rental housing. NAHB made a major contribution to this debate with the recent release of a comprehensive framework for housing finance reform that includes our specific recommendations.
Developed through a specially appointed NAHB working group and approved by NAHB’s Board of Directors in Orlando, this plan stresses that any transition away from the current housing finance system must be done in a careful and deliberate manner to avoid further disruptions to an already fragile market. It is also built upon the recognition that, as the private market assumes a greater role in the marketplace, it is vital to maintain an appropriate level of government support to preserve financial stability, promote investor confidence and ensure liquidity/stability for homeownership and rental housing. In keeping with these core directives, NAHB’s plan seeks to:
- Include private, federal and state sources of housing capital.
- Offer a reasonable menu of sound mortgage products for both single-family and multifamily housing that is governed by prudent underwriting standards and adequate oversight and regulation.
- Transition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new mortgage securitization system for single-family and multifamily conventional mortgages.
- Consider the 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks for this securitization role.
- Phase in the new system over time and allow Fannie and Freddie to remain operational until the alternative system is fully functioning.
- Provide a federal backstop to ensure that conventional 30-year home loans and adjustable rate mortgages are available at reasonable interest rates and terms.
- Structure the federal support to the conventional mortgage market through a privately funded insurance fund similar to the FDIC’s backing of the fund that insures savings deposits. This will allow the government to be the insurer of last resort in order to reduce the risk to taxpayers.
- Continue role of federal housing agencies (HUD, FHA, VA, USDA, Ginnie Mae).
- Expand the role of the Federal Home Loan Banks in the housing finance system.
- Restart a carefully regulated fully private mortgage-backed securities market through reforms to the securities ratings system to remove conflicts of interest.
- Repair other flaws that produced the housing boom and bust by closing the gaps in standards and oversight that allowed and facilitated the improper and illegal activities in financial and mortgage markets.
NAHB believes this plan will produce a sound housing finance system that provides a stable and affordable supply of credit for home buyers and rental housing. Going forward, NAHB will be working with the Administration, Congress and policy stakeholders to make this goal a reality, and we have already begun to promote our plan among lawmakers and the media. Contact: Chellie Hamecs (800-368-5242 x8425).