FHFA initiates housing sustainability, affordability measures

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) officials said the agency has initiated a pair of measures designed to bolster nationwide mortgage borrower housing sustainability and affordability nationwide.

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The initiatives would particularly aid those in underserved communities. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would expand certain eligibility requirements for the RefiNow, and Refi Possible refinance programs seeking to assist low-income borrowers.

Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will, according to the FHFA, incorporate desktop appraisals into selling guides for new purchase loans.

“Expanding eligibility for low- and moderate-income families to refinance their mortgage and lower their monthly payments, together with leveraging desktop appraisals to reduce inefficiencies in the mortgage process, are meaningful steps towards overcoming barriers to affordable and sustainable homeownership,” FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson said.

Thompson said the actions demonstrate the FHFA would continually be in communication with stakeholders to minimize market disruption while ensuring regulated entities operate safely.

The measures will expand the income threshold to include varied moderate-income borrowers with incomes at or below 100 percent of area median income (AMI).

The scope of work used to arrive at the use of desktop appraisals include a review of data collected from the use of the loan flexibilities, input received from the Request for Input (RFI), and public listening sessions regarding appraisal-related policies, practices, and processes.