FHFA releases new rules for Federal Home Loan Banks' Affordable Housing Program

by Francis Monfort25 Nov 2018

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has published a final rule amending its regulation for the Federal Home Loan Banks' (FHLBs) Affordable Housing Program (AHP).

FHFA said the final rule provides additional flexibility at the local level for the FHLBs, in consultation with their advisory councils, to allocate their AHP funds and to design their project selection scoring systems to address affordable housing needs in their districts.

The amendments would also make the program easier to use, both for the FHLBs and award recipients, by reducing regulatory monitoring requirements that are redundant with other federal programs. The final rule also authorizes the FHLBs to establish special competitive funds that target specific affordable housing needs in their districts.

The rule further removes the requirement for retention agreements for owner-occupied units where the AHP subsidy is used solely for rehabilitation and reduces administrative and financial burdens on FHLBs, members, and households related to calculating and obtaining household subsidy repayments.

“We appreciate the thoughtful comments we received on the proposed rule and implemented many of those suggestions," FHFA Director Melvin Watt said. “We believe that those suggestions incorporated into the final rule will help to further strengthen this important program, which has supported more than one million units of housing affordable to low-income homebuyers and renters since its inception in 1990."

The FHLBs must implement all changes in the final rule by Jan. 1, 2021, except that they must implement the changes regarding the owner-occupied retention agreement requirements by Jan. 1, 2020.