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December 16, 2016
FHFA Issues 2017 GSE Scorecard and Common Securitization Platform
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Copyright: R. Lassman

FHFA issued the 2017 Scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) on Friday, December 16, 2016.   The scorecard will be used as a tool by the GSEs to guide and provide a framework for their efforts and results throughout the coming year. As previously highlighted, the scorecard includes a production cap for 2017 that remains the same as 2016 at $36.5 billion. However, this year’s scorecard includes provisions for the GSEs to research and analyze ways to more effectively serve a number of key areas in the multifamily market - many of which were previously defined in the recently issued Duty to Serve Underserved Markets guidelines from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), including: workforce housing, affordability in high-cost and very-high cost areas, targeted affordable housing, small multifamily properties, manufactured housing rental community blanket loans, senior housing, rural housing and energy efficiency.

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Dr. Ben Carson Tapped for HUD Secretary

Copyright: Shutterstock.com

Amidst a flurry of nominations to secretary posts in recent weeks, President-Elect Donald Trump submitted Dr. Ben Carson’s name to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the new administration.  A loyal surrogate and confidant to Trump after withdrawing from the Presidential primary race earlier this year, it was widely speculated he would be offered the top job at the Department of Health and Human Services or another role more in keeping with his professional experience as a physician.  However, the emphasis Trump placed on restoring American urban centers during the campaign, especially in places like Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, pairs well with Carson’s upbringing in inner city Detroit.  The growing consensus within policymaker and academic circles about the nexus between housing and health also presents an opportunity for Dr. Carson.  He will be subject to the same Senate confirmation hearing procedure as other cabinet level secretaries, expected to take place early in the new year.

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NMHC Insider
A Time for Giving (and Going!) Back
The holiday season is a time when families and friends get together to give thanks, celebrate our blessings and reconnect. For all of us at NMHC, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve such a special industry; we are blessed to have such wonderful members; and we are so very much looking forward to reconnecting with you all again in the New Year for the back-to-back annual Apartment Strategies Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego (Jan. 24-26). In the spirit of thanks and giving back, there are a few changes to our January meetings to which I'd like to bring your attention.
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Apartment Industry Urges Early Action on Regulatory Reform in 2017
On December 5, NMHC/NAA joined nearly 380 other trade associations and business groups from across the country in urging Speaker Paul Ryan to make consideration of the “Regulatory Accountability Act” an early priority for the new Congress in 2017. The legislation, if enacted, would improve the transparency of executive branch regulations by requiring federal agencies to invest more effort earlier in the rulemaking process to gather data, evaluate alternatives, and receive public input about the costs and benefits of its rules.
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Real Estate Industry Reminds Policymakers of What's at Stake in Tax Reform
On December 13, NMHC/NAA and a coalition of real estate organizations sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) identifying the sector's key principles for tax reform. The letter comes as Ways and Means Committee members meet to discuss their blueprint for tax reform that could see action in the early part of next year.
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New Administration May Pivot on Fair Housing Priorities
As the incoming Trump Administration takes shape, there appears to be significant potential for changes to current fair housing policies. The Obama Administration has aggressively pursued increases in fair housing protections and enforcement practices, including the expanded use of disparate impact theory, limitations on criminal screening and resident-friendly reasonable accommodation recommendations. However, the President-elect has not signaled a continuation of these priorities.
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San Francisco Law to Limit Owners' Right to Control Access by Internet Providers
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance on December 13, 2016, that could significantly affect an apartment firm’s ability to manage communications services for their communities. Specifically, the ordinance creates a right for residents to request service from any city-authorized internet provider regardless of whether, or how many, providers already serve the property. The ordinance, which covers both apartments and commercial office buildings, is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee and take effect in January.
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House Releases Draft Principles for Flood Reauthorization
Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Leutkemeyer has released long-awaited draft principles outlining a path forward to reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) before it expires in September 2017. The document provides a framework that will ensure market certainty for the real estate community, while lessening taxpayer exposure and liability via mandatory use of reinsurance and risk transfer. Several of the key principles have the potential to drive down costs for apartment firms that mitigate risk.
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New Tax Legislation to Impact Partnerships and Foreign Pension Funds
Congressional tax writers introduced bicameral technical corrections legislation on December 6 that would clarify tax provisions enacted in a 2015 bill related to partnership audits and foreign pension funds investing in U.S. real estate. The corrections would give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) additional flexibility in implementing the new audit regime. Given the large number of partnerships in the apartment industry, these revisions may have a significant impact.
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NMHC and NAA ask Regulators to Pause Before Moving Ahead with Basel IV
Federal regulators are considering an extension of the Basel III regulations known as Basel IV.  The Basel accords are a global, regulatory framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk agreed to in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
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NMHC/NAA Advocacy Helps Preserve Military Housing Benefits in Annual Defense Bill
Congress passed the long-stalled 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on December 8, 2016, after reaching agreement on several contentious provisions, including proposed cuts to military housing benefits. The final package eliminated provisions opposed by NMHC/NAA that would have increased out-of-pocket housing expenses for some service members and negatively impacted apartment communities that serve the military.
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Industry Weighs in on Proposal Requiring Universal Energy Benchmarking
NMHC/NAA issued a comment letter on December 5, 2016, opposing a proposed rule that would require every building backed by a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) multifamily loan to track and submit energy benchmarking data through EPA’s ENERGYSTAR Portfolio Manager. While NMHC/NAA support methods to improve the operational efficiency of the apartment industry, including voluntary benchmark building performance, we oppose FHA’s efforts to mandate benchmarking across their entire portfolio.
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FHFA Issues Final Rule for GSEs Duty to Serve Underserved Markets
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today issued a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions mandated by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The statute requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing – by improving the distribution and availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low-, and moderate-income families in these markets.
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FTC Offers Helpful Guidance on Apartment Firm Use of Credit Reports
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated several of their guidance documents that help apartment firms understand how to use credit and background screenings to manage properties, operations and workforce without violating federal law.
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Apartment Industry Looks Forward to Working with the Trump Administration and Dr. Ben Carson
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) issued the following statement to congratulate Dr. Ben Carson on his nomination to serve as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): 
"NMHC and NAA congratulate Dr. Carson on his selection as HUD Secretary. As the voice of an industry that contributes $1.3 trillion annually to the economy, represents more than 12 million jobs and the 39 million who live in apartment homes, NMHC and NAA are looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for Secretary of HUD."
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Upcoming Meetings
NMHC Annual Meeting, January 24-26, 2017 in San Diego, CA
PAC and Member Alert
NMHC PAC Finishing Strong in 2016!
Our multifamily community came together this year and exceeded the 2016 NMHC PAC fundraising goal of $1.5 million! And, since the PAC operates on a calendar year, members continue to show their support.
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Hill Watch
During Congress' lame duck session there have been no relevant committee hearings listed.
Media Roundup
Here's the Shortlist for the Real Power Position at HUD: Deputy Secretary
Housing Wire
Get the Latest on Congress' Committee Leadership
Roberti Global
Regulatory Reform Must Be a Top Priority in Washington
The Hill
Fannie-Freddie Regulator Said to Plan to Stay On Under Trump
Home-Price Increases Outpace Rising Rents in Major U.S. Cities
Wall Street Journal
Why Are Blue State Buyers Investing in Red State Rentals?
FHFA Makes It Official: Fannie, Freddie Required to Open Credit Box To "Underserved"
Housing Wire
Inside Ben Carson's Inner Circle
HUD Announces Public Housing Smoking Ban
Zillow Gives 6 Predictions for Housing in 2017
Housing Wire
The Scoop

Who Picks the Capitol Christmas Tree?

Ever wonder how the Capitol Christmas tree is chosen? Well, it’s not a short process. This year, it began in July when Capitol Grounds Superintendent Ted Bechtol traveled to the Payette National Forest in Idaho to select the perfect Christmas tree for the Capitol building’s front lawn. There, he chose an 80-foot Engelmann spruce from among a dozen candidates nominated by forest rangers.   

Each year the tree is selected from one of the country’s national forests. Last year, for instance, the tree traveled a record-breaking 3,411 miles from Alaska, while the 2004 tree was trucked a measly 200 miles from central Virginia.

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