FHA Proposes Allowing Private Flood Insurance

The Federal Housing Administration on Tuesday proposed allowing a private flood insurance option instead of insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program when flood insurance is required by FHA. The rule would allow lenders to accept private flood insurance policies for single family insured loans for homes located in Federal Emergency Management Agency-designated Special Flood Hazard Areas. This would be consistent with similar provisions in use by other industry participants. “Our proposal would expand the options for obtaining flood insurance, rather than continuing to lock in borrowers to one federal option without any ability to comparison shop,” Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Dana Wade said. “We are also proposing important safeguards that will help protect borrowers, so…

FHFA Approves GSE Use Of Classic FICO

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday that it had validated and approved the use of the Classic FICO credit score model by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as work continues to assess adopting more modern credit score tools. In February, FHFA sought input on new credit score models, but Tuesday’s announcement gives FHFA time to sort through the different models. FHFA said it expects Fannie and Freddie will take “an additional year to complete the validation and approval process of the remaining credit score models submitted in response to the solicitation.” “The validation and approval of Classic FICO by the Enterprises allows them to continue supporting the mortgage market while assessing more modern credit score models that were submitted…

HUD Secretary Tests Positive For Covid-19

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, multiple news outlets reported. Carson, 69, attended a party at the White House on Election Night. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tested positive for Covid-19 last week. “Secretary Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Carson’s chief of staff, Coalter Baker, told ABC News in a statement. “He is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery.”…

MBA Vows To Work With Biden Administration

The Mortgage Bankers Association congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden for his victory in the presidential election, vowing to work with his administration on affordable housing and to assist homeowners impacted by the pandemic. “MBA looks forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, his administration, and the new Congress on the wide variety of issues impacting borrowers, renters, and commercial lenders and property owners,” said Robert D. Broeksmit, President & CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “This includes access to affordable housing for all Americans; helping first-time homebuyers enter the market; assisting owners, renters, and landlords negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; and ensuring liquidity and a level playing field for lenders and borrowers alike.” In February, Biden…

More Americans Seek To Cocoon Politically

In another sign of the political divide in the United States, 42 percent of Americans say they would be hesitant to move to an area where a majority of people have different political views from their own. That’s according to a new survey conducted this month by Redfin, which found the notion of cocooning increased from 32 percent in June and was the highest share since 2017, when Redfin began asking that survey question. “With political signs lining the front yards of homes across America, house hunters can’t escape the political views of their prospective neighbors,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “While living among like-minded people is important to many homebuyers, key concerns like affordability and space are more…

Red & Blue: White House Impacts Housing Choices

Americans largely consider it important to live in communities where people share their political views, though most have not considering moving somewhere based on politics, according to a survey released by realtor.com. The survey – conducted ahead of next week’s presidential and congressional elections – found that younger Americans are more inclined to let political views drive where they live. The survey found: 55 percent of Americans consider it important to live in a place with people who share their political views, while 23 percent it was “not very important” and the rest were indifferent.61 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds considered it important, while 49 percent of those 55 and over considered it important.20 percent of respondents said they had…

NAHB Seeks To Block CDC Eviction Ban

The National Association of Home Builders has filed suit in federal court challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order that bans residential evictions through the end of the year to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The CDC order, issued in September under the Public Health Service Act, covers renters of apartments or residential properties – but does not include a ban on foreclosures on home mortgages. It requires renters to certify to landlords that they would become homeless or forced to live with others “in close quarters” if they were to be evicted. NAHB objects to the order because it provides “no relief for landlords who must continue to pay bills, maintain the units and pay their employees…

FHFA Extends GSEs Ability To Buy Loans In Forbearance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that it will extend Fannie and Freddie’s ability to purchase some single-family mortgages in forbearance to continue to support the liquidity of mortgage lenders during the pandemic. FHFA originally put the policy in place in April in response to borrowers seeking mortgage forbearance shortly after closing on loans – and before the lender could deliver the loan to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Prior to the change, loans in forbearance were ineligible to be sold under Fannie and Freddie requirements, placing the borrower and the lender in jeopardy. The latest extension covers loans originated through November 30. “Eligible loans will continue to be priced to mitigate the heightened risk of loss to the…

FHFA Proposes New Fannie, Freddie Product Rule

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Monday announced a new rule that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide advance notice to FHFA of new activities and obtain prior approval before launching new products. The rule, which was announced by FHFA Director Mark Calabria at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual meeting, “establishes revised criteria for determining whether a new activity requires notice to FHFA and for determining if that activity is a new product that merits public notice and comment.”  “The proposed rule will enhance the safety and soundness of the secondary mortgage market by ensuring the Enterprises adhere to their statutory missions,” Calabria said. “This proposed rule is an important step as the Agency works to end…

Ginnie Mae Completes Record-Setting Year

Ginnie Mae issued a record $748 billion in mortgage-backed securities during the recently completed fiscal year, nearly 50 percent higher than the previous record, the government-owned housing corporation announced Wednesday. Ginnie Mae, which is the largest source of mortgage funding for first-time homebuyers, helped more than 2.8 million households secure homeownership or rental housing. The previous record was $504 billion in 2017. “2020 is a year that will stand out in the record books for Ginnie Mae,” Principal Executive Vice President Seth Appleton said. “We attracted record capital to support affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities for millions of American households, advanced key modernization initiatives, and responded swiftly to the COVID-19 National Emergency, all while operating in a remote environment.”…