MReport August 2018

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TH E M R EP O RT | 59 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT Fed Housing Survey Results Might Surprise You Nearly three-fourths of adults surveyed say they are at least "doing ok" financially; and two-thirds own their own home, though these characteristics vary by demographic. A recent report by the Fed attempts to gauge the health of the United States economy, and in the process provides insights into the health of the housing market. Entitled "Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017," the report was prepared by the Consumer and Community Development Research Section of the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA). The results are based on the fifth annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), which the Fed report described as being designed to provide "insights into how households approach their financial lives and decisions." Survey respondents reported plenty of good news. Seventy-four percent of adults surveyed said they were either "doing okay" or living comfortably in 2017, up 10 percentage points over the original 2013 survey's results. However, the Fed survey did register discrepan- cies in optimism depending on demographics. Over three-fourths of white respondents reported that they were financially doing okay in 2017, as compared to less than two- thirds of blacks and Hispanics. Three in 10 adults reported their family income varies from month to month, and 1 in 10 reported ex- periencing hardships due to those fluctuations. Nearly 25 percent of young adults under age 30, and 10 percent of all adults, reported receiving financial support from someone living outside their home. When it comes to housing, 8 in 10 adults living in middle- or upper-income neighborhoods reported being satisfied with their community, whereas the reported satisfaction rate for those living in low- or moderate-income neigh- borhoods drops to 6 in 10. Sixty-six percent of adults surveyed reported owning a home, 25 percent were renting, and eight percent reported some other type of living arrangement. On aver- age, renters are both younger and report lower income than home- owners, with less than half of those with incomes under $40,000 owning their own home. The median monthly rent was reported as being between $750 and $1,000. For low-income renters bringing in $40,000 or less a year, that median monthly rent drops to between $500 and $750. Seven out of 10 low-income renters reported spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Sen. Schumer Calls for Flood Insurance Reform The New York senator called for the extension and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program, which has been extended past its original deadline and received $16 billion in debt forgiveness from Congress. W ith the beginning of hurricane sea- son, Senate Minor- ity Leader Chuck Schumer announced an "all-out push" to convince Congress to extend and reform the nation's flood insurance program. Schumer shined a spotlight on the issue during a news confer- ence in the Long Island village of Lindenhurst in May. "Flood insurance is vital to over 150,000 Long Islanders," Schumer told the crowd, "so, A, we need to renew it, and B, we need to straighten it out so the insurance compa- nies and the federal government doesn't take advantage of these homeowners." The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood coverage for more than 22,000 American communi- ties, was originally set to expire last fall. Although the House of Representatives passed a reform bill entitled, The 21st Century Flood Reform Act, support for the program then stalled in the Senate. Since then, the Senate has okayed a series of extensions for the program. The most recent FHA Commissioner under former Presidents Bush and Obama. In recent years, he has served as Vice Chairman at The Collingwood Group, LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based real estate finance consult- ing firm. In November 2017, Trump nomi- nated Jerome Powell for the position of Fed Chair. "He's strong, he's committed, and he's smart," Trump said during the official announce- ment. "And if he is confirmed by the Senate, he will put his consider- able talents and experience to work, leading our nation's central indepen- dent bank, which has the critical responsibility to set monetary policy and our banking system as a whole." Powell won the Senate over and was appointed to this position in early 2018. During his congres- sional testimony in February after being confirmed, he backed further interest rate hikes. Around the same time, the President nominated Mick Mulvaney, the Federal Budget Director, to the position of Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), now the Bureau for Consumer Financial Protection. While the decision was a controversial one at that time, Mulvaney has brought in a slew of changes at the consumer watchdog. From requesting $0 in funding for the CFPB in the second quarter to announcing that the bureau had to be more "transparent and account- able," Mulvaney has made quick changes to the way the bureau works. In March 2017, Dr. Ben Carson was appointed as HUD secretary after a final Senate vote of 58-41. "I am immensely grateful and deeply humbled to take on such an important role in service to the American people," Carson said upon his appointment. Since then, despite the controversies, under his leadership, HUD has taken on several important initiatives, such as announcing a major disburse- ment of funds to help communi- ties still recovering from the 2017 natural disasters, partnering with the Department of Justice to end sexual assault in housing, and most recently commemorating 50 years of the Fair Housing Act. Continued

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