MReport December 2019

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58 | M R EP O RT 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 HUD, NAR Discuss Barriers to Homeownership The agencies recently met for a roundtable discussion, with NAR pointing to several regulatory changes that could make access to housing easier for potential buyers. T he National Associa- tion of Realtors and the Department of Housing and Urban Develop- ment held a roundtable discus- sion, highlighting affordability concerns across the nation. "Housing affordability is one of the most significant problems fac- ing this nation, our economy and potential homebuyers in commu- nities everywhere, and the lack of housing supply is only adding to the problem," said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor from Edina, Minnesota. The NAR states that housing inventory has been considered the main cause to raising home prices. While new-home construc- tion has picked up, "it is still not enough to accommodate increased housing demand." The Federal Housing Administration finalized new condominium loan policies, which the NAR states should "yield thousands of new homeowner- ship opportunities and alleviate some affordability restraints for first-time homebuyers, small fami- lies, and those in urban areas. Additionally, HUD and the Department of Justice announced it will ease the use of the False Claims Act. The NAR applauded this decision, adding it will "help more consumers access low down payment loans and ensure a wide range of financial institu- tions will offer Federal Housing Administration-backed loans in the future." "The major mechanism for building wealth in this country is home ownership and doing it in a responsible way—that's the key—and this is all looked at in terms of sustainability," said HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson on the impact of the new regulations surrounding the False Claims Act. "Not only do we want to put people in homes, but we want them to stay in those homes so they can accumulate that wealth." President Donald Trump announced earlier this year, the creation of a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. The White House states that more than 25% of the cost of a new home is due to federal, state, and local regulations. "Regulations are creating exces- sive costs that are holding back the development of needed afford- able housing," the White House said earlier this year. "Many of the markets with the most severe shortages in affordable housing have the most restrictive state and local regulatory barriers to development." States Challenge CFPB Structure In another case which questions the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leadership structure, these state attorneys general have filed a Supreme Court brief against the Bureau. E leven state attorneys general are joined a complaint challenging the structure of the Consumer Finan- cial Protection Bureau, according to a brief filed with the United States Su- preme Court obtained by Reverse Mortgage Daily. The brief argues that the leadership structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional, stating that its structure encroaches on the states' own abilities to enforce its own consumer protection laws. The coalition of states includes Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. "If Congress wishes to permit federal agencies to assist or preempt States in protect- ing consumers, it must do so in a manner consistent with Article II of the Constitution," the brief reads in part. "The CFPB's structure violates the Constitution whether its director was (at any given point) temporary or per- manent. The CFPB thus had no authority to bring or to continue the enforcement action." The CFPB was similarly challenged ear- lier this year by a California law firm that argues the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutionally structured. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the law firm, Seila Law, who al- leges that the structure of the agency grants too much power to its director. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Protection Bureau suit some time in 2020, and CNBC reported that a decision in the case is likely by the end of June. Last year, in a split decision, a Washington appeals court reversed a previous ruling, declaring the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be constitutional after all. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in January 2018 that the CFPB's structure is constitutional and that the director of the agency can only be fired by the president for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office." The court's ruling read, in part, "None of the theories advanced by PHH supports its claim that the CFPB is different in kind from the other independent agencies and, in particular, traditional independent finan- cial regulators.

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