The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is asking all REALTORS® across the country to TAKE ACTION NOW and urge your Senators to pass H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016.” This bill makes needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium loan program, federal-assisted housing programs and Rural Housing Service loan programs. The reforms would make buying a condominium easier by expanding opportunities for first-time homebuyers and streamlining rural housing programs for low-income rental residents.

Early in February the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to advance legislation that will expand opportunities for homeownership, especially for first-time home buyers. H.R.3700 takes aim at the difficulties in getting mortgages for condominiums. NAR has supported the inclusion of reforms to current FHA restrictions on condominium financing.

Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time home buyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns. These include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” improving a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months.

H.R. 3700 also lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement (the number of units in the development owned by the people living in them) from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Additionally, the bill streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule requiring that condominium projects have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use. This effort is in line with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s initiative to promote neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing, businesses and access to public transportation, which has become a trend in housing development today.

Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.

H.R. 3700 removes a burdensome and expensive FHA condo approval process, reduces the FHA restrictions on the number of condos available to homebuyers, and permanently streamlines the Rural Housing Service loan program.

NAR is encouraging all members to take action even if they do not do business with condominiums or in rural areas. SILVAR members can take action by going to https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy

 

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