Pressure Mounts on FHA to Relax Condo Rules


Lawmakers and housing groups are urging the Federal Housing Administration to relax its condominium regulations to help open up homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers and urban families.

More than 50 House members signed a letter last week asking the FHA to make policy changes.

“FHA places significant restrictions on the purchase and sale of condominium, even though they are often the most affordable homeownership option for first-time buyers, small families, urban and older Americans,” said the Oct. 13 letter, whose signers included Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, the chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing, held a hearing Tuesday on his bill that would force the FHA to make significant changes to its condo rules. The “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” would streamline FHA’s certification requirements for condo projects, allow more commercial space in agency-approved condo […]

Discrepancies Found in 39% of Appraisals


Over a third of appraisals during the third quarter featured property quality or condition ratings that did not match previous ratings, according to an Oct. 19 report from Platinum Data Solutions.

Platinum reviewed more than 300,000 appraisals using its appraisal quality technology RealView and found that 39% of appraisals featured these inconsistencies. Discrepancies in property quality and condition ratings can cause significant underwriting delays, Platinum noted.

“Causes aren’t easy to determine, so they need to be investigated,” said Phil Huff, president and CEO of Platinum Data Solutions, in the report. “Doing this after [Uniform Collateral Data Portal] submission opens lenders up to numerous issues. Costly delays are just one of them.”

The delays caused by these conflicts can range from one day to several days. The causes include human error, appraiser subjectivity, or actual changes to the property’s condition. Platinum also pointed to appraisal fraud as a […]

Late Payments on Home Equity Loans Hit Postcrisis Low


U.S. homeowners continue to take advantage of rising house prices to dig themselves out of the hole created by the Great Recession.

In the second quarter, the 30-day delinquency rate on home equity lines of credit dropped to 1.34%, its lowest mark since the third quarter of 2008, according to new survey data from the American Bankers Association. Late payments were down from 1.42% in the first quarter.

Similarly, the rate of late payments on closed-end home equity loans dropped to 1.36%, which is another post-recession low. The comparable delinquency rate during the prior three months was 1.53%.

The S&P/Case Shiller index, a widely cited measure of U.S. home prices, is currently at its highest level since November 2007. The index is up 30.7% from its low-water mark of February 2012, and is only 5.2 […]

Fannie, Freddie Reshaping Mtg Market W/O Congress’ Help

The chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are moving forward with a bevy of changes that will continue to transform the mortgage market without input from Congress.

After eight years in conservatorship, housing finance reform in Congress remains in limbo, leaving the Federal Housing Finance Agency to force the government-sponsored enterprises to make changes.

“There is no playbook for how to run in conservatorship,” Don Layton, Freddie Mac’s CEO, told a group of lenders Monday at a Mortgage Bankers Association conference in San Diego. “We are now in our eighth year of conservatorship and every expert says the big bill to do a major reform of the housing finance system is several years away at least, so we are going to be in this status for a long time.”

Both GSEs said they are looking to partner with individual lenders and with housing finance agencies to […]

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