Updates from the Hill

Updates from the final days of the 113th Congress. The Senate remains in session to vote....


On December 11, 2014, NAR held a webinar on changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The webinar featured noted RESPA Attorney Phil Schulman, partner at K&L Gates in Washington, DC.  The new rule combines the Good Faith Estimate with the Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosure now called the "loan estimate" and the HUD-1 settlement statement with the final TIL, now called the "closing disclosure."  It also makes numerous changes to the settlement process.  Perhaps the greatest change is that the closing disclosure must be in the hands of the consumer three days before closing.  The webinar covers this and other important issues relating to the new rule which goes into effect on August 1, 2015.  Click here to view the webinar. 

GSE's Detail Low Downpayment Program

On December 8, 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released details on new mortgage product offerings that will provide access to qualified borrowers able to put down at least 3%.  Both of the entities will require lenders to use automated underwriting systems to ensure borrowers have additional compensating factors such as history of successful use of credit or cash reserves to ensure they will be successful homeowners.  Lenders will be able start offering Fannie Mae’s product on December 13, 2014, while Freddie Mac will implement the program on March 23, 2015.

FHA 2015 Loan Limits Released

On December 5, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2015 Loan Limits.  FHA's calculation for maximum loan limits in high cost metropolitan areas of the country will remain at the 2014 level of $625,500. The standard loan limit for lower cost metropolitan areas will remain unchanged at $271,050. Any community that wishes to contest its loan limit must submit an appeal to the Santa Ana Homeownership Center no later than Jan. 5, 2015. An explanation of FHA’s loan limit calculations, FHA loan limit “look up” links and appeal information are provided in FHA’s Mortgagee Letter 2014-25.

2015 VA Loan Limits Released

On December 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its 2015 Loan Limits.  The temporary high cost loan limits, which are currently at 150 percent of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) loan limits, will expire on December 31, 2014.  The 2015 VA loan limits will mirror the 2015 FHFA loan limits.  The loan limits are the amount a qualified Veteran with full entitlement may be able to borrow without making a down payment. These loan limits vary by county.

FHA Flipping Waiver Expires

On December 10, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced that it will not extend the temporary waiver of FHA’s regulation that prohibits the use of FHA financing to purchase single family properties that are being resold within 90 days of the previous acquisition.  The waiver expires on December 31, 2014.  NAR sent a letter to Commissioner Galante on October 3, 2014 urging FHA to extend the waiver because of the positive effects of the waiver where property rehabilitation and resale of these homes has increased the availability of safe and affordable homes.  In response to a recent a negative HUD Inspector General report, however, FHA decided not to extend the waiver.

House Holds Hearing on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

On December 20, 2014, the House Committee on Transportation’s Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing on “U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Integration, Oversight and Competitiveness”. NAR sent a letter to Subcommittee members expressing support for the FAA’s actions to quickly create practical regulation for the commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Current FAA regulations ban the commercial use of UAS, and REALTORS® want to use this technology to take aerial photographs and videos of properties to enhance their listings. NAR has been working directly with the FAA to educate policymakers about the opportunities that exist for the commercial use of UAVs in real estate. (Read more)

 A Call for Action remains in place.

Urge the Senate to extend Mortgage Debt Foregiveness Tax Relief here

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