This week saw some major steps forward in getting condominium reforms within the FHA single family loan guarantee program.
On October 13, 54 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Cleaver (D-MO) sent a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro, urging him to ease restrictions on FHA condominium loans. The letter specifically included reforms to the certification process, owner/occupancy requirements and commercial space. NAR strongly supports this effort and thanks all Members who signed the letter.
In addition, Representative Luetkemeyer (R-MO) introduced H.R. 3700, the "Housing Opportunities through Modernization Act”. This legislation would make targeted reforms to various housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service (RHS). The bill includes 3 areas that NAR strongly supports:
- Ease FHA’s restrictions on the purchase and sale of condominiums. The bill includes changes to the certification process, owner/occupancy ratio, commercial space requirements, and transfer fees. NAR has been pushing FHA on these changes for more than 3 years.
- Provide the Rural Housing Service with delegated endorsement for approved lenders. NAR has been pushing for this provision for over a year, that will streamline the use of RHS loans and speed up processing times.
- Provisions to preserve and expand affordable rental housing. These provisions will reduce burdens for the owners and managers of these Section 8 properties and provide greater opportunities for low income tenants.
NAR sent a letter supporting this legislation, and NAR President Chris Polychron will testify before the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, supporting the bill.