Congress’s approval ratings are currently at all-time lows. The bickering between the political parties on Capital Hill is at an all-time high. A majority of Americans are greatly unsatisfied with the choices their respective political parties have given them for President.
Yet in this toxic political climate it gives us all hope to see our elected officials work together to bring about some much needed help in our real estate market. Indeed, the rare display of congressional bipartisanship resulted in the Unanimous Passage of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act making it easier to buy and sell condominiums in South Florida.
The legislation was backed by several realtor groups. They supported the legislation because the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act seeks to streamline and improve three specific areas of federal housing policy.
Those three areas include the following:
First, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) rental assistance and public housing programs.
Second, the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) requirements for condominium mortgage insurance.
Third, the Department of Agriculture’s single-family housing guaranteed loan program.
The Obama Administration has not publicly commented on whether the President would sign or veto the legislation. But given the overwhelming bipartisan support in unanimously passing this legislation it would be surprising if President Obama vetoed this act.
Of significance to the local South Florida real estate market are changes in the act that will help with the sale of condominiums. South Florida has a high inventory of condominiums. Condominiums often represent an affordable housing option that makes sense for many first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers in South Florida.
But the sale of those condominiums are often bogged down due to some unnecessary and burdensome rules and regulations imposed on condominiums. This legislation addresses those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more first time home buyers and low to moderate income homebuyers in South Florida.
Among other things, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act seeks to make the sale of condominiums less burdensome.
For instance, the legislation includes revisions to make FHA’s recertification process substantially less burdensome. It does so by lowering FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%. The legislation also mandates that the FHA replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.