Launch of Housing Finance Initiative

MHARR LogoIt appears that April 14, 2010 could be an important date for the housing and housing finance industries. In an April 14, 2010 announcement issued under the joint auspices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury (copy attached) — as further explained and detailed in related testimony by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan before the House Committee on Financial Services (copy attached) — the Obama Administration has launched a process designed to bring about changes to both the public and private aspects of consumer home financing.

The joint HUD-Treasury announcement seeks public comment on seven broad questions concerning the future of housing finance and the proper role of the federal government in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system, in light of the collapse and subsequent federal conservatorship of both Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). Among other things, the questions seek comment on affordability goals, underwriting standards, sustainable home ownership, and variations in government policy based on “mortgage size or other characteristics.” It is expected that these questions will be officially published shortly in the Federal Register with a specific response deadline. MHARR, will thoroughly analyze these questions in light of its continuing efforts to promote final rules concerning the “duty to serve” mandate and FHA Title I and Title II program improvements contained in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), and will submit appropriate comments on behalf of the industry.

Similarly, in his April 14, 2010 congressional testimony, Secretary Donovan addressed the Administration’s efforts thus far to stabilize housing finance and outlined the basic principles and objectives that will guide its actions to reform and overhaul the existing system, including both the GSEs, FHA and Ginnie Mae. On a positive note for manufactured housing, Secretary Donovan emphasized in his testimony that “government has a role in promoting the development and occupancy of affordable single- and multi-family residences for [low and moderate-income] families.” This is consistent with the purposes of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and together with recent changes within the HUD program, hopefully points toward greater HUD involvement in advancing and expanding the availability of both public and private financing for HUD Code manufactured housing. On a related note, written comments from the Committee will be submitted to the Secretary, regarding both the status of the HUD manufactured housing program generally and the potential for the appointment of a non-career federal program Administrator, as provided by the 2000 reform law.

MHARR will continue to monitor these rapidly evolving matters, and will advise you of new developments as warranted.

cc: Other Interested Industry Members

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087

Fax: 202/783-4075

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