Morning Briefing: Realtors react to proposed condo financing rules

by Steve Randall28 Sep 2016
Realtors react to proposed condo financing rules
Proposed rules on condo development financing have been published by the HUD’s Federal Housing Administration and the National Association of Realtors has mixed views.

The FHA says its intention is to ensure financial viability of condo projects but one part of the changes in particular has concerned the Realtors’ association.

The FHA suggests that the current requirement for 50 per cent of a development’s units to be occupied by owners could become an “allowable range” of between 25 and 75 per cent, noting that setting the bar too high damages marketability but too low can reduce viability.

This wider range differs from a previous proposal to maintain a fixed level but reduce it to 35 per cent, something the NAR says is a “more appropriate and productive threshold.”

A consultation period for this change means a delay for its implementation, something that NAR president Tom Salome is disappointed about: “HUD has the authority right now to set the owner-occupancy requirement at 35 percent while the regulatory process moves forward, and we would urge them to consider that option rather than defer the decision for an indeterminate amount of time.”

There are also changes in the proposed rules which would allow insurance of mortgages for certain developments which are not currently allowable.

Salome says that while the changes include some “hard fought victories” for Realtors, he believes that the owner-occupancy issue “…ignores the legislative intent of Congress and ultimately maintains an FHA regulation that puts homeownership further out of reach.”
San Francisco overvalued but not bubble-risk says report
A global survey of housing markets ranks San Francisco as overvalued but not currently at risk of being in a bubble. The report from UBS bank ranks New York as fairly valued and Chicago as undervalued.

The lender’s study considers 18 markets worldwide and has deemed Vancouver as the most at risk of a bubble followed by Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong. 

The lender says that those cities at risk show some typical signs: “…a decoupling of prices from local incomes and rents, and distortions of the real economy, such as excessive lending and construction activity.”

Vancouver is top placed following a sharp rise in home prices in the past 2 years exacerbated by low interest rates and foreign investment.
These cities are most in demand by millennial job seekers
Austin, TX is the city most in demand by millennial job seekers according to analysis by LinkedIn. The data, mined from job searches on the site, shows that midsize cities have seen 25 per cent more interest from millennials than large cities.

Following Austin are Rayleigh-Durham, NC; Detroit, MI; Cleveland/Akron, OH; and Charlotte, NC.

LinkedIn data shows that while these are the cities seeing strength for job searches, millennials are not yet moving there. Seattle, Portland and Denver have shown the largest rises in millennial users on the platform.