Former FHA Commissioner And MBA President Remembered For Impact On Housing Industry

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Federal officials and members of the mortgage industry are mourning the loss of David Stevens, who helped the country navigate the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis before serving as president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association for seven years. Stevens worked as the Federal Housing Administration Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama. There from 2009 to 2011, he focused on restoring the administration to fiscal health and was a key player in drafting housing policy, according to an article by Reuters. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said on Wednesday in a statement, “This country is better because of David’s service and contributions.” “Over the course of his…

HUD Officials Lay Out Wins, Impacts On Homeownership

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge testified before the House Committee on Financial Services this week, emphasizing the department’s progress in tackling the affordability crisis. “When this Administration began, conditions were bleak. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost or had little access to quality, safe, and affordable housing. Many more were at severe risk of losing their homes,” Fudge said in prepared remarks. “Now, three years later, HUD has made historic strides to provide direct housing assistance, expand opportunities for homeownership and affordable rental housing, root out discrimination in housing, and build strong and resilient communities in urban centers and rural areas, alike.” Fudge noted, however, that the need for HUD assistance is “ever-growing.”…

What The Top Republican Presidential Candidates Are Saying About The Housing Market

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Home affordability is expected to be a pressing issue for American families again this year and although it is not a top priority for Republican presidential candidates yet, they are talking about it. At a rally last month in Durham, New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump said mortgages have become unattainable to the average person and promised to go after banks if he wins back the White House. “After three years of Bidenomics, they call it Bidenomics, from hell, the average monthly mortgage payment has gone from $1,746 under my administration to $3,322 today, but you can’t get the money, so it doesn’t matter,” Trump told the crowd. Trump claimed that “Biden’s handlers are making the banks…

Opinion: HUD Homeless Count Fails To Connect Dots On Supply And Displacement

By EDWARD PINTO On December 15, HUD released its annual Point-In-Time (PIT) homeless and housing inventory counts (HIC) conducted in January 2023. The key finding was that homelessness reached a record high as the 2023 annual count increased 12% and 18% respectively from 2022 and 2017. The average rate of homelessness per 1,000 population in 2023 was 20. The PIT is calculated for the 381 local and state Continuums of Care (CoC), which HUD uses to track homelessness. The hundred-plus page report had lots of data along with a handful of anecdotal references to burgeoning housing purchase and rental costs. However, it contained precious little insight as to the steps needed to address our burgeoning homeless problem. Conspicuous in its…

Legislation To Ban Hedge Funds From Owning Homes Finds Support

By ERIN FLYNN JAY A bicameral bill that would force hedge funds out of the single-family home market is supported by some industry leaders. Last month, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced the End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act of 2023. If passed, it would force hedge funds to sell at least 10% of the total number of single-family homes they currently own to homebuyers every year for a 10-year period. After a 10-year full phase-out, all hedge funds will be completely banned from owning any single-family homes. In a YouTube video, Merkley said rents are sky-high and families can’t afford to buy a home in their chosen community. “Hedge funds and…

Guest Post: Essential Tax Tips For Homeowners

By DAVE HEISTEIN Dealing with homeowner tax deductions can seem tough, but it’s key to making the most of your home financially. In this article, we’ll make taxes easier for you to understand. From breaking down various tax deductions to highlighting tax considerations for home improvements, we’re here to simplify these complex topics.  Understanding Homeowner Tax Deductions As a homeowner, you’re entitled to several tax deductions that can help you save money. Let’s break down five key tax deductions. Mortgage interest deduction: This allows you to deduct the interest paid on mortgage debt up to $750,000 ($375,000 if filing separately). To claim this, you need to itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). It’s important to compare your itemized…

Texas Lender Colony Ridge Sued By CFPB, DOJ

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Justice are suing developer and lender Colony Ridge, alleging it targeted Hispanic borrowers with “bait-and-switch” land sales and predatory loans. The lawsuit claims Colony Ridge gave borrowers inaccurate information about homesites and coerced them into loans they could not afford, according to the CFPB’s press release. “Our investigation uncovered that Colony Ridge is baiting borrowers with lies, saddling families with predatory loans for homesites that the company knows have repeatedly flooded with raw sewage and lacked basic utility infrastructure,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. Colony Ridge allegedly sold families flood-prone land without water, sewer, or electrical infrastructure. They are being charged with violating the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. …

Election 2024: Biden’s Housing Problem

By KIMBERLEY HAAS With just weeks left before the Iowa caucus and the presidential primary in New Hampshire, home affordability is weighing on the minds of voters and at least one leading economist says the issue could take center stage as the race for the White House heats up. Daryl Fairweather, chief economist for Redfin, has said that President Joe Biden will be forced to make home affordability a cornerstone of his reelection bid. “Even though the overall economy is strong, high housing costs are making many Americans feel poor,” Fairweather said in her recent release on housing predictions for 2024. “Home prices are up more than 20% since President Biden took office. That’s a problem for his re-election bid:…

Opportunity Zones: The Pros And Cons For Housing

By ERIN FLYNN JAY In some urban centers like New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, Opportunity Zones have led to substantial investments including the revitalization of neighborhoods. These zones attracted developers and investors due to the tax benefits, resulting in new housing developments, commercial spaces, and infrastructure improvements. However, concerns have arisen about the displacement of existing residents and whether the benefits truly reach the communities that need them most. And while these zones have found success in urban settings, many rural regions have struggled to attract significant investment. Limited infrastructure, a smaller workforce, and higher perceived risks have made it challenging to draw investors to rural areas. That hurts the low-income neighborhoods Opportunity Zones are meant to strengthen.…

Fed Holds Rates Steady As Expected

By PATRICK LAVERY Saying he and the Federal Open Market Committee were “proceeding carefully,” Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell announced that they voted unanimously Wednesday to leave its policy interest rate unchanged for a third straight meeting. This ensures that after more than a year of incremental hikes that eventually saw the key rate spike 5 1/4 percentage points dating back to the beginning of 2022, the target range will, for now, remain at 5.25% to 5.5%. Most experts do not expect the FOMC to start bringing the rate back down again until the third quarter of 2024, owing that to Powell and the Fed’s continuing mandate to bring inflation down to 2%. Total Personal Consumption Expenditures prices rose…