We have reached the summer of 2012 with some optimism about the state of the housing market and economy in South Florida. As one of the epicenters of the housing boom and bust South Florida continues to slowly climb out of the difficulties of the past few years. As you will note in the newly published report, Spotlight on the Housing Market in Miami-Dade, Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, foreclosures and mortgage defaults have come down from their highs, unemployment has improved, housing sales are up considerably and prices are starting to rebound from their lows. Stubbornly high default rates, looming foreclosures and difficulties obtaining mortgage financing present clear dangers to the recovery, however most indicators show that South Florida is rebounding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is committed to insuring that our programs assist with the ongoing economic recovery of South Florida through the various programs that we administer. Keeping citizens informed of what is happening with HUD programs and initiatives is part of our commitment to the community.
We hope you find the summer issue of South Florida HUD Happenings to be informative and look forward to any feedback you may have.
Miami Field Office Director
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
FHA Trainings in Miami
Appraisers and underwriters dealing with FHA, this is for you. Please note that classes are free but you must register as space is limited. On August 8, 2012 there will be a session, FHA Appraiser Training for Appraisers and Underwriters. The training includes coverage of recent Mortgage Letters, valuation policies, appraising REO properties, Minimum Property Requirements (MPR), and defining required repairs vs. cosmetic deficiencies. Course Materials. Please print course materials and bring to class. Registration required, no fee.
August 9, 2012 - Miami, FL. FHA Lender Training for Underwriters. The credit underwriter training includes coverage of recent Mortgage Letters, Post Endorsement Technical Reviews (PETRs), and general do's and don'ts. Course Materials. Please print course materials and bring to class. Registration required, no fee.
Let's Preserve the Nation's Stock of Affordable Housing
Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is a central part of the Department's rental housing preservation strategy, which works to preserve that nation's stock of deeply affordable rental housing, promote efficiency within and among HUD guidelines, and build strong, stable communities. With the publication of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) final rules in the Federal Register on July 26, HUD officially implemented a groundbreaking strategy to preserve tens of thousands of units of public and assisted housing. RAD allows public housing agencies and owners of certain at-risk, federally-assisted properties to convert their current assistance to long-term contracts. Such contracts will better allow owners to leverage millions of dollars in debt and equity to address immediate capital needs and preserve these affordable housing units. "RAD allows HUD to test the conversion of assistance as a means of preserving this scarce inventory of affordable housing and keep it on firm financial footing well into the future," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Last year, HUD released Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, a Congressionally-funded study of capital needs in public housing. The study found that the nation's 1.2 million public housing units need nearly $26 billion to keep these homes in safe and decent condition for families, a figure well in excess of the roughly $2 billion annually that the Congress appropriates for capital repairs. Beyond the public housing stock, the Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod Rehab), Rent Supplement (Rent Supp), and Rental Assistance Payment (RAP) programs either offer no option to renew and risk being lost from the affordable housing stock or cannot renew on terms that attract sufficient capital to preserve long-term affordability. The initial RAD program rules issued in March gave the general public an opportunity to comment on the overall framework for RAD, including eligibility criteria, ranking factors, application instructions, review and approval processes, and anticipated timelines. The final program rules reflect HUD's consideration of the more than 100 different individuals and organizations that submitted comments. Along with the publication of the final rules, HUD has published a document detailing its response to public comments. The initial application window for the competitive component of RAD (for public housing and owners of Mod Rehab projects) is scheduled to be open from September 24, 2012 to October 24, 2012. The non-competitive component of RAD (for owners of Mod Rehab, Rent Supp and RAP projects) is effective immediately. You can also join the RAD mailing list here.
NED-II Vouchers: Assisted housing for persons with disabilities
Non-elderly Disabled Category II, or NED-II Vouchers, represent a groundbreaking inter-agency collaboration between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The two federal agencies offer a combination of rental assistance, health care, and other supportive services targeted to help non-elderly Americans with disabilities leave nursing homes or other healthcare facilities to live independently. State Medicaid agencies link eligible families to local public housing agencies that administer voucher distribution. The effort furthers the implementation of the 1999 landmark Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which protects people with disabilities against unnecessary institutionalization; such forced institutionalization can lead to isolation and segregation of individuals with disabilities and be a serious and pervasive form of discrimination. The court's opinion provided a directive that public entities must serve qualified individuals with mental and physical disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions when such services are appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such placement, and the state can reasonably accommodate the placement, taking into account the resources available to the state and the needs of others with disabilities. HUD's NED-II voucher program coordinates with HHS's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), through its Money Follows the Person (MFP)program, which allows individuals who qualify for Medicaid-funded nursing homes or other institutional care to transition into the community with needed services. On June 29, HUD issued a guidance notice in June for public housing agencies to describe the actions that can be taken. Learn more about Olmstead.
Funding for the NED-II Vouchers came from HUD's Rental Assistance for Non-Elderly Persons with Disabilities Program, which uses $40 million to fund 5,300 vouchers for non-elderly persons with disabilities. In FY2010, HUD awarded $33 million to support a first round of 4,300 vouchers, making it possible for non-elderly individuals with disabilities to access affordable housing and avoid potential institutionalization. In FY2011, the second round of NED-II vouchers, targeted non-elderly individuals with disabilities currently living in institutional settings, such as nursing homes, who could move into a community with assistance. A total of 948 vouchers were awarded during 2011. In the Southeast, funding was available to Florida, $199,812; Georgia, $260,287; and North Carolina, $29,253. Nationwide, 28 public housing agencies in 15 states are using the vouchers. See Sonia's story (page 8 on the link).
What Explains Variation in Title Charges?
Title insurance and settlement costs represent a substantial proportion of real estate closing costs paid by consumers and add significantly to the cost of purchasing a home. The study What Explains Variation in Title Charges, funded by HUD and developed by the Urban Institute, uses data on mortgages in counties covering five major metropolitan real estate markets (Cook County, Illinois; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; Broward County, Florida; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Sacramento County, California), to estimate the extent of variation in title charges faced by consumers and the factors associated with those charges. Published in June, the analyses address the following research questions: How much do title charges vary? What factors are associated with variation in total title charges and components of title charges? How much variation in these charges remains unexplained after controlling for a series of factors commonly thought to influence title charges? Local regulations and home prices are substantially associated with costs. Characteristics of the home purchase that make title search more challenging are modestly associated with costs in some markets, but not others. Significant remaining variation between the fees charged by individual settlement agents suggests consumers would benefit from shopping for settlement services. These analyses contribute to the literature on title insurance, and real estate markets more generally, by assessing how factors hypothesized to influence title charges are associated with those charges across a variety of actors and markets. In addition to comparing results across five different regulatory and institutional environments this study answers these research questions from the perspectives of various parties: consumers, regulators, settlement agents, underwriters, and attorneys. Read the study
Nominate your Best for a Secretary's Award
The HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award recognizes excellence in planning that has led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic employment, education, or housing choice or mobility for low- and moderate-income residents. Developed in partnership with the American Planning Association (APA), the 16th annual prize is part of APA's 2013 National Planning Awards. All entries must be completed end submitted with the accompanying materials by Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Emphasis is placed on how creative housing, economic development, and private investments have been used in or with a comprehensive community development plan to empower a community. This award also emphasizes tangible results and recognizes the planning discipline and its contributions as a community strategy. Nominees should show how they have overcome difficult community issues to achieve measurable, effective outcomes.
Examples of eligible submissions include regulatory reform, workforce development, affordable housing preservation, growth management, public-private partnerships, transportation, community participation, diverse housing planning, and sustainable economic development. The strategy should employ a variety of actions that maximize increased choice and opportunity for all citizens in the community. To the maximum extent possible, submissions should involve formal community planning efforts and include physical improvements and interventions (although the latter are not required). The strategy submitted should have been in effect a minimum of three years. See more information.
Don't forget: Hardest Hit Funds still Available
Attention residents of hardest hit foreclosure areas in the Southeast: Funds are still available to help you. In the Southeast, funds are available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Administered by the Department of the Treasury, The Hardest Hit Fund was established to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. Each state housing agency gathered public input to implement programs designed to meet the distinct challenges struggling homeowners in their state are facing. States were chosen either because they are struggling with unemployment rates at or above the national average or steep home price declines greater than 20 percent since the housing market downturn. Hardest Hit Fund programs vary state to state, but may include the following: Mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners, Principal reduction to help homeowners get into more affordable mortgages, Funding to eliminate homeowners' second lien loans, Help for homeowners who are transitioning out of their homes and into more affordable places of residence. Only seek help from approved organizations designated in each state. Verify their information prior to releasing your financial data. View the information from The Department of Treasury regarding Hardest Hit Fund.
If you are in need of information regarding bed bugs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a website with useful information on how to deal with these pesky creatures. The Bed Bug Information Clearinghouse currently includes only material from federal agencies, state and local governments and universities. They review the accuracy of information, the discussion on pesticides, and how well the information is communicated. Their information is useful for a variety of audiences, from hotels to airlines, housing authorities and emergency facilities. Some of the publications are in different languages such as Spanish, Chinese and French. From their biological composition to detection, management and prevention, here is almost everything you need to know.
Housing Scorecard Spotlight: Miami
HUD and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the July edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard - a comprehensive report on the nation's housing market. Data in the Housing Scorecard show continued signs of recovery as foreclosure starts and completions declined in June, though officials expect activity to increase in the coming months as firms lift delays in foreclosure processing. In addition, the inventory of houses for sale remained low; at current pace, it would take 6.6 months to sell the supply of existing homes on the market and 4.9 months to clear the new homes on the market. Experts consider a six month supply of homes to be a balanced market. Distressed sales remain a key factor, however, as the impact of serious delinquencies and underwater mortgages continue to temper market gains. The full report is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard. Economic conditions in Miami are improving, but the local housing market remains fragile - with high concentrations of distressed mortgages, large numbers of vacancies, and 45 percent of home mortgages underwater. Miami currently ranks first in the nation for mortgages 90 or more days delinquent or in the foreclosure process. In addition, the state has the third longest foreclosure processing time, as lender processing delays and a backlog in the courts extend the average stay in the foreclosure pipeline. However, a modest recovery is underway as unemployment rates have fallen from a high of 11.4 in September 2010 to 8.6 percent in May 2012, and home prices have been rising since early 2011.