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Bill to expand homeownership passes House

WASHINGTON – Feb. 3, 2016 – The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.” The bill includes a number of initiatives strongly supported from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), which issued a statement praising the strong bipartisan vote as “important progress for homebuyers and sellers.”
“This legislation will put homeownership in reach for more families, and we applaud Congress’s work to take us there,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “We look forward to seeing it advance through the legislative process and to the President’s desk, so it can be signed into law.”
House passage is an important first step for the bill; however, it must now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. If it passes both the House and Senate, it then goes to President Barack Obama for his signature or veto.
NAR testified last year in support of H.R. 3700 before a U.S. House subcommittee, specifically praising the reforms within the bill to current Federal Housing Administration (FHA) restrictions on condominium financing.
Condominiums are often the most affordable homeownership options for first-time homebuyers and lower-income borrowers, but there are barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns.
The bill includes changes that could make FHA’s recertification process – a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months – “substantially less burdensome.”
It also would lower FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent and require FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with a less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Additionally, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule that requires condo projects to have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use – an effort 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.
Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.
© 2016 Florida Realtors®
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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