FEBRUARY 2017 Government Affairs Update
PAUL HERRERA, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR
Assm. Marc Steinorth Reintroduces Bill to Help Californians Save for Home Ownership
Assembly Member Marc Steinorth announced that he has introduced a new bill aimed at helping California taxpayers save for costs related to the purchase of a home.
AB 53, co-authored by 13 Assembly colleagues and four state senators (bill details: http://bit.ly/2lCE5S4), would allow Californians to deposit money into designated Homeownership Savings Accounts. Those funds would be deposited tax free and would work very similarly to 529 plans widely used to set aside education funds by families nationwide. In this case, the funds would have to be used for certain qualified expenses for a first-time home buyer, such as down payments and closings costs on the purchase of a home. The definition of first-time home buyer matches that of the Federal Housing Administration.
The funds would be capped at $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for joint filers and could be transferred to eligible recipients, again with rules similar to 529 plans.
NAR, Assm. Sabrina Cervantes Asks HUD to Reinstate FHA Mortgage Insurance Rate Cut
Shortly after taking office, President Trump froze a planned FHA mortgage insurance rate reduction that was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 27th. The action was part of a broader freeze on actions from the previous administration pending further review.
In a letter (http://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/3/2822.pdf ), the National Association of REALTORS® has asked new HUD Secretary Designate, Dr. Ben Carson, to reinstate the mortgage insurance reduction.
The rate cut would return insurance rates back to near their level prior to the housing downturn when waves distressed properties triggered claims that brought the FHA insurance fund reserve to below statutory requirements. To rebuild the fund, FHA raised the insurance rate from 0.55 percent to 0.90 percent initially and then raised it again to 1.35 percent in 2013. Each time, the increases were designed to shore up the insurance fund while having unfortunate effect of putting mortgages out of reach for an estimated 1.5 million Americans.
On February 15th, Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes introduced a resolution, AJR 4, asking President Trump to reinstate the planned mortgage rate cut.
“Home ownership is fundamental to the prosperity of our middle class,” said Assembly Member Cervantes. “We as legislators should do everything we can to support Californians who want to buy their own homes.”
Additional Resources on Rate Cut:
- NAR Response to Rate Cut Announcement: http://bit.ly/2lr8IYq
- NAR Letter Requesting Rate Cut Reinstatement: http://bit.ly/2lrjdLo
- Assm. Cervantes Press Release Regarding AJR 4: http://bit.ly/2lrfeyt
IVAR Recruiting Members to Serve on Housing Policy Committee – San Bernardino
IVAR continues to work on growing its San Bernardino County-focused Housing Policy Committee. The committee, which works parallel to a similar group in Riverside County, reviews issues that impact REALTORS®, their clients and issues of housing and property rights. That includes meetings with elected and appointed officials, discussion and advising the IVAR Board of Directors on positions to adopt on public policy.
The committee has updated its meeting schedule and will not meet monthly on the first Thursday of each month at 9am at IVAR’s Rancho Cucamonga office. If you are interested, contact Paul Herrera, Government Affairs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 951-500-1222.