At a hearing this week before a U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee, National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron said that NAR stands ready to work on passage of H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015.”
The bill includes provisions intended to help expand housing opportunities in the marketplace, including measures that would reform current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing.
Polychron noted that such reforms are necessary to clear the way for new entrants into the condo market.
“Condominiums are often the most affordable homeownership option for first-time buyers, small families, single people, urban residents, and older Americans.” Polychron said in prepared testimony. “Unfortunately, current FHA regulations prevent buyers from purchasing condominiums, harm homeowners who need to sell their condominiums, and limit the ability of condominium projects to attract resident buyers.”
H.R. 3700 specifically deals with FHA’s recertification process, owner-occupancy requirements, commercial space limitations and the Administration’s policy on transfer fees.
Polychron noted that HUD championed neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing and businesses and access to public transit in the past, pointing to this as cause to address commercial space requirements at FHA. He also cited the cost to developments having to recertify with the FHA every 24 months as evidence of the need for reform.
The bill’s sponsor, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., presided over the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee hearing. Polychron thanked him for his work to advance homeownership with the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.
“H.R. 3700 includes changes to FHA policies that will give current owners and potential buyers of condos access to more flexible and affordable financing and a wider choice of approved condo developments,” said Polychron. “NAR thanks Congressman Luetkemeyer for introducing this important legislation.”