Home >> Daily Dose >> Senate Passes Bill to Reform FHA Housing Policies
Print This Post Print This Post

Senate Passes Bill to Reform FHA Housing Policies

stack-of-papers-and-gavelA housing policy bill that passed by a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives in February (427 to 0) has now passed by unanimous consent in the Senate.

H.R. 3700, better known as the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, includes reforms to FHA’s restrictions on condo financing and helps veterans achieve homeownership, among other housing policy changes. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services.

“I am incredibly pleased the Senate came together and passed this comprehensive legislation which represents real reforms to our nation’s housing programs and policies,” Luetkemeyer said. “I would like to thank Senators Roy Blunt, Bob Menendez, Tim Scott and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver for their unwavering support in seeing this legislation through the House and Senate. Now that both chambers have unanimously supported this legislation, it is my hope that the President will make this bill a law without delay. It is time to take the first meaningful step to changing our nation’s housing policies.”

Tom Salomone, president of the National Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, praised the legislation for removing the “overly-burdensome restrictions” on condo financing which he said eliminates that option for many first-time and low- to moderate-income buyers.

“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans.”

Tom Salomone, President, NAR

“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans,” Salomone said. “Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today's market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they're ready, and this legislation does just that.”

The bill makes FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” according to NAR. It lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less restrictive model the Federal Housing Finance Agency uses.

The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act also contains provisions that ensure fair access to housing and homeless assistance programs to veterans; authorize the Rural Housing Service single-family housing guaranteed loan program to delegate approval authority to preferred lenders; extend the period allowing families to use a family unification voucher; increase the ceiling for the Family Unification voucher age requirement; and provide a thoughtful limitation on public housing tenancy for over-income residents.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

Check Also

Plan & Prevail: How the Industry Can Prepare for an Uncertain Future

Though the housing industry may not be able to pinpoint the next widescale impactful event, developing a well-grounded plan can help navigate it, mitigate risk, and get homeowners back on track.