HUD Secretary Donovan Addresses NAHB

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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan addressed members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) this morning at a special session held during the association’s Spring Board of Directors’ Meeting.

Secretary Donovan commended the NAHB for being an organization that is about building the American dream for families and communities . . . the single most important building block for this nation. He commented, “The work that you (NAHB) do is the success upon which families raise their children.”

Donovan’s statement that economic recovery has to begin with a recovery in the housing market was met with a round of applause. With 14 billion dollars allocated to recovery, it is important to get this money out to work as quickly and effectively as possible.

Donovan outlined the “Making home affordable” plan to get single family housing moving. It includes:

  • Concerted actions by Fannie May and Freddie Mac
  • Families with good credit will have the opportunity to refinance through Fannie and Freddie
  • For families on the verge of losing homes there is a plan to aggressively modify loans and bring down payments to levels they can afford

Details of the $8,000 home buyer tax credit were released today in the long awaited mortgage letter that describes how the tax credit can be used. First-time buyers utilizing FHA financing can now be able to use the $8,000 federal housing tax credit at closing instead of waiting for the refund.

The highlights of the mortgagee letter are:

  • borrowers can apply the tax credit to their downpayment
  • homebuyers can use tax credit for non HUD products, pay upfront for interest products, or use for downpayments above 3.5%

These changes will help tens of thousands of Americans buy a new home.

Donovan also addressed the future of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They have increased hiring to address personnel shortage, as well as investing $4 million in an IT revue.

Also of interest are HUD’s energy efficiency goals and the budget invested in these.

  • $100M energy innovation fund
  • $150M sustainable communities initiative – between housing and transportation
  • Adequate space to develop housing

In Donovan’s closing remarks he states, “The American dream of a decent safe home to raise all of our families must become a reality again.”