Op-Ed: More Than A Place To Live, CCRCs Plan For The Unpredictable

By CHRIS BARSTEIN Homeownership: the American Dream.  For so many adults, our homes not only fulfill the dream, they also are our most significant single purchase and our greatest investment. They’re where we build lives, families, and memories. Then, it happens. We age and, almost without warning, that dream starts to become a burden. This time of year, as winter sets in over much of the country, many older homeowners dread snow removal and heating bills. Regular upkeep and repairs get in the way of quality time and bigger projects are an expense that could be spent in other ways. What to do next can seem an overwhelming proposition. In an ideal world, retirement-age adults have a plan for where…

Powell Responds To Legislative Pressure As Feds Hold Rates Steady

By PATRICK LAVERY Saying the economy has surprised even the experts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly four years ago, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday announced that the Fed would hold its ground for now and keep its policy interest rate unchanged at its current range of 5.25% to 5.5%. “We believe that our policy rate is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle and that, if the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year,” Powell said in prepared remarks following the first two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting of 2024. The decision by the FOMC was not unexpected, and…

Judge Finds UWM Engaged In Unfair Labor Practices

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A National Labor Relations Board judge has found that portions of a mandatory employment agreement between United Wholesale Mortgage and its workers should be rescinded. “Having found that the respondent engaged in certain unfair labor practices, I find that the respondent must be ordered to rescind the unlawful portions of its current employment agreement and print and distribute a revised employee agreement that does not contain the unlawful portions,” Administrative Law Judge Susannah Merritt wrote. Merritt found that leaders at UWM violated federal labor laws because the company’s employment agreement contained overly broad, ambiguous, and/or discriminatory work rules about proprietary and confidential information as well as the return of property and information. Rules about employee communications, including…

Op-Ed: Congress, Please Don’t Legislate A Takeover Of The Nation’s Rental Housing Market

By TOBIAS PETER, KEVIN CORINTH, and ED PINTO It is an election year and Congress will soon consider two bipartisan bills to address high rental costs for many renters. The first is the Workforce Housing Tax Credit (WFHTC) and the second would be an expansion of the existing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). The WFHTC would extend eligibility for subsidized units to tenants earning below the area median. On a combined basis the two credits would expand eligibility to about three-quarters of the nation’s renters. Both programs would offer generous federal government subsidies for building new apartments. Such a massive expansion of the state would waste taxpayer money, crowd out more private builders, and deter many families from advancing economically.…

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…