174 Congress members pressure Carson to finalize FHA condo rules

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Congress members and National Association of Realtors teamed up to put pressure on Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to finalize the rules regarding condos and Federal Housing Administration loan approval. Members of both parties, include 54 Senators and 120 members of the House of Representatives, signed a letter asking Carson to get a move on and finalize the rules in H.R. 3700.

Congress passed H.R. 3700, which made changes to rules that restrict FHA loan approval for condos, back in July 2016. Nearly two years later, with Carson  dragging his feet on setting these rules in stone, the industry, Senate and House have had it up to here.

“For nearly two years, Realtors have pushed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to finalize its rule streamlining and simplifying the process of securing a condominium loan. Thanks to the support of 120 Congressmen and more than half of all U.S. Senators, affordable homeownership opportunities could soon become available to countless additional Americans. NAR commends Sen. Tim Scott and Bob Menendez and Representatives Bill Posey and Emanuel Cleaver for their leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with HUD to finalize this rule,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said in a statement.

NAR was involved in rounding up support for this initiative, helping to round up the 54 Senators and 120 House members that signed the letter calling for action.

The letter expresses its authors’ displeasure with the FHA restrictions on the purchase and sale of condos. The authors cite these restrictions as an affront to affordability and decry them as a stymieing force on industry growth.

H.R. 3700’s proposed new rules include spot loan (a loan to purchase a single unit in a multi-unit building) approval, reductions to certification requirements, and changes to the owner-occupancy ratio, which NAR says will make condos a viable option for more homebuyers.

It remains to be seen how Carson will respond to the immense pressure from the industry and bipartisan forces in Congress.

To read the letters from Congress in full, click here.

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