Thursday’s Advocacy & Think Tank Round-Up

  • The Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University has issued a report analyzing foreclosure activity which finds that foreclosures are down in the Chicago area in 2014.  The report also finds that mortgage activity remains low while investor buyers have become a major factor in the single family market.
  • Miami Coalition for the Homeless has proposed a set of solutions to make housing in Miami affordable.  The prosed policy changes grew out of a cross sector symposium dubbed the 2015 Housing Summit – organized to promoting the creation and maintenance of affordable housing in Miami-Dade County, where 71% of monthly household income goes to housing and transportation.
  • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) would like to see the Federal Housing Authority (FHA)  increase National Loan Limits.  The National Loan Limit sets the individual loan limits available under the Government Sponsored Entities (Fannie and Freddie) and FHA and VA loan programs. In a comment letter to the FHA NAR argues that since housing prices have rebounded following the financial crisis – now expected  to surpass 2007’s prices, increases are in order.

Reiss on New Mortgage Rules

The Redding Record Searchlight interviewed me in Experts Worry New Loan Standards, Lending Limits Could Hurt Housing Market. It reads in part,

New mortgage qualification rules and lower FHA lending limits that take effect next year threaten to slow the housing market’s recovery.

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David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School in New York, said there is nothing wrong with tying the price of a loan to the risk.

“There is some talk that if it’s not a Qualified Mortgage loan, the cost for the creditor or lender will be higher and the cost will be passed on to the homeowner. That will probably be true,” Reiss said.

But Lawrence of Silverado Mortgage said just because one in five loans written today wouldn’t pass Qualifying Mortgage muster doesn’t necessarily suggest the loan would not be approved and closed under the new standards.

“Making a minor adjustment such as using a different interest rate and closing cost combination may allow a loan to meet the standard that it wouldn’t otherwise,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence knows there will be some loans for which an alternative can be found to resolve a Qualifying Mortgage issue.

“But I think most buyers start with getting pre-qualified before they find the home they’re interested in purchasing,” Lawrence said.

Reiss on New Limits on Lending for Fannie and Freddie

Law360 interviewed me in Fannie, Freddie Will Only Buy Qualified Mortgages, FHFA Says (behind a paywall) about the new limits on lending imposed on Fannie and Freddie:

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Monday said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would only be allowed to purchase so-called qualified mortgages when the new standard comes into effect in January.

Under the new standard, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will only be able to purchase and securitize mortgages that qualify to an exemption to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability to repay rule, which the federal consumer finance watchdog finalized in January.

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Given the cautious state of mortgage lending, the change is likely to only affect Fannie, Freddie and the mortgage market along the margins, said Brooklyn Law School professor David Reiss.

“It will be interesting to see, however, whether the private-label market will step into the void and offer more of these products — and it will be interesting to see how the market prices them,” he said in an email.