Urban Institute researchers monitor and assess housing market trends, affordable housing, homelessness, federal housing assistance, racial disparities and housing discrimination, and community revitalization. We recommended greater regulation and reforms for subprime mortgages before the housing market collapse and continue to follow its effects on families and neighborhoods. Our research informs decisionmakers with neighborhood-level data and evaluations of federal housing programs. Read more.
The January edition of At A Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center’s reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes a comparison of FHA and conventional high-LTV lending fees, updated origination forecasts from the GSEs and MBA, and the latest measures of credit availability nationally and by metropolitan area.
This brief examines the Federal Housing Finance Agency's proposed rule to prohibit captive insurers from becoming Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) members, a move which will essentially ban real estate investment trusts (REITs) from becoming FHLB members. Our analysis reviews the proposal's economic and practical considerations and concludes that any safety and soundness concerns pertaining to REITs and captive insurers can be effectively mitigated through existing regulation. Ultimately, we urge FHFA to take a more integrated view of the purpose REITs serve within the broader mortgage market, how captive insurers facilitate that purpose, and suggest alternatives for addressing the Agency's concerns.
The 2014 actuarial assessment of the Federal Housing Administration’s main funding source for its loan insurance program – the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMI)- reveals that the FHA’s financial situation is much improved but not as strong as last year’s predictions suggested it would be. This HFPC analysis lays out the methods used in the actuarial report and explains why the MMI’s current status should have no impact on the decision as to whether to lower premiums.
The heightened and uncertain cost of servicing delinquent mortgage loans is a significant, although underappreciated, constraint on access to credit. Lenders can price loans to reflect the anticipated servicing costs, but it is very difficult to price for the uncertain costs of default servicing. The penalties resulting from not meeting the GSE and FHA timelines, along with restrictive and anachronistic limits on reasonable foreclosure expenses, create uncertainties that are difficult to quantify and price for. The result: lenders forgo lending to borrowers more likely to go delinquent. The FHFA has made great strides with recent changes to compensatory fees, but more needs to be done. Servicing delinquent FHA loans presents an even greater challenge. To expand the tight credit box, these servicing issues must be addressed.
This month’s edition of At A Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center’s reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes updated indicators of credit availability, a breakdown of the composition of the US Housing Market from the Federal Reserve Flow of Funds report, and details of the latest GSE risk-sharing deals.