Government Affairs Update for July 2021

Bob Jones General News, government affairs

National News

SCOTUS Majority: CDC Overstepped With Eviction Moratorium; Program Expires July 31

A majority of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have the authority to issue a nationwide eviction moratorium. The high court fell short of lifting the moratorium before it expires July 31, but the National Association of REALTORS® still calls the Supreme Court’s ruling a “victory for property rights.”

In May, a U.S. federal judge ruled the CDC’s eviction ban unlawful but kept the moratorium pending an appeal. The Georgia and Alabama Association of REALTORS®, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of housing providers, asked the Supreme Court to lift that stay.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, five justices agreed the CDC lacked the authority to implement the ban in the first place, meaning the CDC could not lawfully extend the moratorium without specific Congressional authorization. However, another combination of five justices also agreed to keep the current CDC moratorium in place for now, including Justice Kavanaugh, who concurred with this decision because the moratorium is expiring in only a few weeks.

The CDC’s eviction moratorium—in place since September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—has been controversial. Housing providers have been missing payments for tenants for more than a year, and the industry says they’ve had to absorb about $13 billion in unpaid rent each month due to the moratorium.

On Thursday, July 29, The Biden Administration said it would not attempt to unilaterally extend the eviction moratorium, allowing it to expire on July 31. 
 
In a statement, the White House acknowledged a recent Supreme Court ruling on the issue, saying, “. . . the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available.”

President Biden is now asking Congress to intervene and extend the ban.
 
“NAR is prepared to oppose vigorously any unreasonable effort by Congress to extend the ban without assistance for small housing providers,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer for NAR. “We have argued all along that the best solution for all parties is rental assistance for tenants in need paid directly to housing providers. Nearly half of all rental housing in America is a mom-and-pop operation, and these providers cannot continue to live in a state of financial hardship.”
 
“With the economy improving, rental assistance now available in all 50 states, and millions of unfilled jobs, it is time to return the housing market to its former, healthy function,” McGahn says.

FHFA Eliminates Adverse Market Refinance Fee

To help families reduce their housing costs, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will eliminate the Adverse Market Refinance Fee for loan deliveries effective August 1, 2021.

To allow families to save more money, lenders will no longer be required to pay the Enterprises a 50-basis point fee when they deliver refinanced mortgages. The fee was designed to cover losses projected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of FHFA and the Enterprises’ COVID-19 policies reduced the impact of the pandemic and were effective enough to warrant an early conclusion of the Adverse Market Refinance Fee. FHFA’s expectation is that those lenders who were charging borrowers the fee will pass cost savings back to borrowers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic financially exacerbated America’s affordable housing crisis. Eliminating the Adverse Market Refinance Fee will help families take advantage of the low-rate environment to save more money,” said Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson. “Today’s action furthers FHFA’s priority of supporting affordable housing while simultaneously protecting the safety and soundness of the Enterprises.”

The vast majority of Enterprise borrowers have successfully exited COVID-19 forbearance. In April, approximately 2 percent of single-family mortgages guaranteed by the Enterprises remained in forbearance, down from a high of approximately 5 percent in May 2020. FHFA will continue to monitor the housing finance system, making policy adjustments in coordination with the Enterprises as necessary.

State News

Division of Real Estate to begin accepting walk-in applications

Beginning on Monday, July 26, Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing began accepting “walk-in” applications from licensees at the Department of Commerce offices in Reynoldsburg, located at 6606 Tussing Road, Reynoldsburg 43068. Walk-in applications will not be accepted at the Division’s headquarters downtown any longer.

While the Division staff will not immediately process applications when dropped off at the Reynoldsburg location, the date the application was received will be indicated in the Division records as the effective date. This means that receipt of a “walk-in” receipt once again signifies that a transfer and/or reactivation of a license is immediately effective. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The Division is pleased to take this important step to open its doors to help meet the needs of the real estate industry,” said Superintendent Anne M. Petit. “We anticipate that this will help speed up the transfer process and allow us to quickly address other needs confronting brokers and professionals.”

It’s worth noting that the recently adopted Ohio Operating Budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023 includes funding to modernize the state’s real estate licensing system, which will allow for online license transfers. While an implementation date is not set at this time, the modernization effort remains a top priority for the Division.

Questions? Contact the office at (614) 466-4100.

Local News

Historic housing market has challenges for buyers and sellers, but experts say ‘Don’t give up’

Watch the video

Aliah Williamson of WDTN recently reported on the challenges that face buyers, sellers, and REALTORS® in the Dayton area housing market. She spoke with Greg Blatt, treasurer for Dayton REALTORS®, who provided an unflinching view of the industry. “This by far is one of the most challenging [housing] markets I’ve seen,” said Blatt.
According to Blatt, there is a low inventory of houses available, but a high demand for homes. “We have a tremendous housing shortage across the country and because of that we have a great pent up demand,” he explained.

What can local legislators do to promote more robust inventory? “What we need to do to help fix this problem is have our local governments work with builders and developers to reduce the fees involved in building a new home to help us get homes out of the ground sooner,” said Blatt.

Despite these challenges, Blatt says both buyers and sellers should be encouraged to stay in the market and find themselves the right realtor and team to guide them through the process.

“The American dream is alive and well and homeownership is the foundation to anyone’s financial security so don’t give up on that dream,” said Blatt.

Public Events Scheduled Throughout City to Discuss ARPA Priorities

The City of Dayton recently held a series of public meetings to hear residents’ ideas about how to use $138 million expected to be received as Dayton’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

In March of 2021, Congress approved and President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), with the goal of speeding the nation’s recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other purposes, ARPA calls for funds to be provided directly to municipalities for local use. City leadership recognizes the unparalleled opportunity presented by ARPA and is eager to hear residents’ opinions and suggestions for using the funds for the betterment of Dayton neighborhoods.