Millions of Americans’ ability to buy and sell homes impacted by requirements.
Falls Church, Va., June 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac should be transparent as they develop final lending requirements for condominiums and housing cooperatives, say Community Associations Institute, the Community Home Lenders of America, and the National Association of Realtors.
CAI, the international leader for community association education, governance, and management, partnered with CHLA and NAR to voice concerns about the guidelines in a letter last week to FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson, Fannie Mae CEO Priscilla Almodovar, and Freddie Mac CEO Michael J. DeVito. FHFA oversees the mortgage financing companies.
Under FHFA’s conservatorship, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are set to release permanent guidelines that have been developed in secret with no public comment process. There is industry fear the guidelines will be even more restrictive than the temporary guidelines that have been in place since 2021 and result in more problems in the condominium and housing cooperative real estate market.
“We are requesting transparency in the process of developing the final guidelines for condominium and housing cooperative lending requirements,” write the three trade groups in the letter. “We also ask for the opportunity for public comment on these important lending policy positions impacting millions of Americans’ ability to buy and sell a condominium or housing cooperative unit.”
The organizations believe any changes to condo project or loan approval requirements should be subject to a public comment period of at least 60 days prior to adoption. They also urge Fannie Mae to make public its lists of condo projects ineligible for loan purchase, along with guidance as to the actions necessary to make them eligible.
“Our organizations are very concerned that the (government-sponsored enterprises’) condominium and housing cooperative lending requirements will restrict access to housing for many Americans while making it very difficult for current owners to build wealth and maintain their property values,” the letter states. “At a time when there is a heightened awareness and increased emphasis on building maintenance, restricting access to lending will plummet property values, leaving less money and incentive for homeowners to invest in maintenance, especially in urban opportunity zones throughout the U.S.”
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac updated their lending requirements in response to the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla., in June 2021 that killed 98 people. CAI, CHLA, and NAR support safe buildings for American homeowners as well as public policy that leads to safe buildings, but they believe the requirements have been too restrictive. The organizations urge FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to narrow the focus of the requirements to buildings that are at risk based on data.
“We stand ready to work with (the government-sponsored enterprises) and FHFA to develop and implement policy to keep Americans safe in their buildings while having appropriate access to lending for their homes,” write the trade groups.
The letter also was sent to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee and their staff members.
CAI developed a guidance document to help homeowner leaders and community managers navigate the current lending requirements in their communities. More information and resources related to condominium safety, as well as CAI’s Condominium Safety Public Policy Report, can be found at www.condosafety.com.
Senior Director of Publishing
[email protected] | (703) 970-9233
Dawn M. Bauman, CAE
Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, CAI | Executive Director, Foundation for Community Association Research
[email protected] | (703) 867-5588
About Community Associations Institute
Since 1973, Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been the leading provider of resources and information for homeowners, volunteer board leaders, professional managers, and business professionals in the more than 358,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With more than 44,000 members, CAI works in partnership with 36 legislative action committees and 64 affiliated chapters within the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates as well as with housing leaders in several other countries, including Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A global nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, CAI is the foremost authority in community association management, governance, education, and advocacy. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership, and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in community associations that are preferred places to call home. Visit us at www.caionline.org, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @CAISocial.
CONTACT: Daniel Brannigan Community Associations Institute 703-970-9233 [email protected]