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FHA Loan Limits

Limited Time to Appeal FHA Loan Limits
Six Counties See Increases in FHA Loan Limits

Housing Issues Update

NAR Supports Bill for Homeless Children

Immigration and Visa Programs

NAR Supports Making Investor Visa Regional Center Program Permanent

Lease Accounting

NAR Signs onto Accounting Coalition Letter

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

House Subcommittee Passes RESPA Home Warranty Clarification Act

Rural Housing Programs

Rural Development Announces Fee Changes for Refinance Mortgages

FHA Loan Limits

Limited Time to Appeal FHA Loan Limits

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Maximum Loan Limits Effective October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012 includes language for appealing loan limits at the local level. However, the deadline for submitting appeals is December 22, 2011. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is using the same procedures that were established in Mortgagee Letter 2007-01. According to HUD, appeals “must contain sufficient housing sales price data, listing one-family properties sold in an area within the look-back period, January through August 2011. Requests should differentiate between single-family residential properties and condominiums or cooperative housing units.” Where possible data should also distinguish distress sales. Requests for a change will only be considered for counties for which HUD does not already have home-sale transaction data for the calculation of loan limits.

Megan Booth, 202-383-1222
Jerome Nagy, 202-383-1233

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Six Counties See Increases in FHA Loan Limits

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that six (6) counties have had Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limits increase for Calendar year 2012 from those in effect during 2011. These counties are Bristol Bay Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, and Petersburg Census Area in Alaska; Taos County in New Mexico, and Billings and Stark Counties in North Dakota. On December 2, 2011, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2011-39: “Federal Housing Administration Maximum Loan Limits Effective October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012”. The loan limits can be found on FHA’s Mortgage limits Web page.

Megan Booth, 202-383-1222
Jerome Nagy, 202-383-1233

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Housing Issues Update

NAR Supports Bill for Homeless Children

NAR sent a letter of support to Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL). They introduced H.R. 32, "Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2011", which will expand the definition of homelessness to include children who have been identified by schools or other government officials. This will allow these children to be eligible for HUD Homeless Assistance programs. Current estimates are that 39% of the national homeless population is children. The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the issue of homeless children this week.

Megan Booth, 202-383-1222
Jerome Nagy, 202-383-1233

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Immigration and Visa Programs

NAR Supports Making Investor Visa Regional Center Program Permanent

On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Program. The program allows foreign investors to obtain a visa to live in the U.S. by investing a certain amount of money through regional development centers approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). NAR sent a letter in support of the program, as it provides a way to bring foreign investment into American communities that have suffered during the economic crisis.

The program has traditionally enjoyed broad support since its creation as a pilot program in 1992. NAR and many other business and industry groups support making the Regional Center Program a permanent part of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.

Ken Bledsoe, 202-383-1150
Megan Booth, 202-383-1222
Marcia Salkin, 202-383-1092

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Lease Accounting

NAR Signs onto Accounting Coalition Letter

On Wednesday, November 30, NAR lent its voice to that of other real estate-focused organizations requesting an extension of the comment period for three proposed accounting rule changes promulgated by the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB). In particular, NAR and its partners would like more time to deal with the complexity of the proposals, the cross-cutting issues resulting from the combination of the three proposals, the effects on other FASB proposals, and the impact on international standardization efforts. Extension of the comment period would help ensure that NAR's comments are comprehensive and well-considered.

Vijay Yadlapati, 202-383-1090

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Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

House Subcommittee Passes RESPA Home Warranty Clarification Act

On Thursday December 8, 2011, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity passed H.R. 2446, the "RESPA Home Warranty Clarification Act of 2011" by voice vote. The legislation received bipartisan support with Chair Biggert (R-Il), and Representatives Stivers (R-OH), Waters (D-CA), and Clay (D-MO) speaking to the bill. The legislation would reverse erroneous Department of Housing and Urban Development guidance that has led to numerous lawsuits by clarifying that if the home warranty is not required by the lender, it is not a settlement service for RESPA purposes. The next step is for the legislation, which currently has 33 Co-sponsors, to go before the full committee before it can be considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives.

Kenneth Trepeta, 202-383-1294
Marcia Salkin, 202-383-1092

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Rural Housing Programs

Rural Development Announces Fee Changes for Refinance Mortgages

Effective December 7, 2011, the upfront guarantee fee for all refinance transactions under Rural Development's Single Family Guaranteed Loan Program (SFGLP) will increase from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. Conditional Commitments for refinance transactions issued prior to December 7, 2011, at the 1 percent upfront guarantee fee structure will be honored by the Agency once the commitment authority becomes available. According to the US Department of Agriculture (UDSA), this increase to the upfront guarantee fee for refinance transactions will make over $1.1 billion dollars in refinance commitment authority available to eligible homeowners.

Refinance funds for new fiscal year (FY) 2012 Conditional Commitments will not be available until the FY 2012 commitment authority is posted to the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program account. Until such funds are posted, Rural Development will issue Conditional Commitments.

The new fee structure for FY 2012 is: 2 percent upfront guarantee fee for purchase transactions; 1.5 percent upfront guarantee fee for refinance transactions; and 0.3 percent annual fee for both purchase and refinance transactions.

Jerome Nagy, 202-383-1233
Megan Booth, 202-383-1222

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