By Tory Barringer | 05/21/2013
The Real Estate Roundtable's outlook for commercial real estate (CRE) remained "modestly optimistic" in Q2 even as public policy uncertainties cloud the future, the group revealed in its Q2 2013 Sentiment Survey. The survey's "Overall Index" reading stands at 69 in the most recent release, unchanged from the previous quarter. That score is based on the average of two indices: the Current Conditions Index (which read 71 for Q2, an increase of one point over Q1) and the Future Conditions Index (67 for Q2, unchanged).
By Tory Barringer | 05/20/2013
The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) again voiced its opposition to legislation that would amend the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to exclude certain factors when calculating points and fees for determining qualified mortgage (QM) eligibility. In a letter to Congress, CRL argues that H.R. 1077, the Consumer Mortgage Choice Act, "promotes steering borrowers into more expensive loans" and "creates new loopholes that would allow loans with higher costs and fees to improperly meet" QM standards.
By Tory Barringer | 05/17/2013
While other hot-button issues have drawn national attention away from the subject of tax reform, speakers at the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo urged industry professionals not to forget what's at stake. Speaking in a session, political commentator Jeffrey Birnbaum told Realtors that "Congress could move legislation quickly on tax reform" if necessary, spelling possible danger for the mortgage interest tax deduction.
By Krista Franks Brock | 05/02/2013
When it comes to the hotly debated mortgage interest tax deduction, Maryland takes the top spot in terms of claim rate.
By Tory Barringer | 05/01/2013
After months of speculation, President Obama named another potential replacement to take Edward DeMarco's place as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator for the GSEs. Obama announced Wednesday his nomination of Rep. Melvin "Mel" Watt (D-North Carolina) to serve as FHFA's director, a role played by DeMarco since he was appointed acting director in August 2009. Watt's past focus on increasing access to financing has been the subject of much debate since his nomination.
By Esther Cho | 04/24/2013
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray faced a contentious Senate Banking Committee Tuesday for his semi-annual report to Congress. A particular point of debate was the joint effort between CFPB and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to establish a national mortgage database that includes information such as borrower profiles, payment history, and mortgage products and terms on loans--an idea one senator described as "creepy."
By Tory Barringer | 03/22/2013
The Real Estate Roundtable, a group of leaders representing real estate businesses and trade associations, published a release urging lawmakers to take a pro-growth approach to tax reform that considers the commercial real estate (CRE) sector's role in the larger economy. In a letter, the group says a restructuring of taxes should recognize "commercial real estate's vast economic contributions" and include "transition rules" to minimize disruptions to real estate.
By Tory Barringer | 03/19/2013
Richard Cordray's nomination to continue leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is headed to the Senate following a vote from the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Tuesday. The committee confirmed Cordray's nomination by a party-line vote of 12-10, with Republican members keeping to their vow to not support any potential leader until CFPB's structure is fundamentally changed. Ranking member Sen. Mike Crapo specifically criticized the agency's spending, which he says is not as transparent as it should be.
By Tory Barringer | 03/15/2013
The FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) and sponsored by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts), is designed to give FHA more flexibility to take action against originators who engage in faulty underwriting or who have high loan losses. Additional measures include authorizing the agency to require indemnification for improperly written loans. The House committee has held several hearings recently to examine FHA following the news that the agency may require a taxpayer bailout.
By Tory Barringer | 03/08/2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder caused a stir Wednesday by voicing the idea that certain financial institutions may be "too big to jail." In a testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Justice Department (DoJ) oversight, Holder said he is "concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to to prosecute when we are hit with indications ... it will have a negative impact on the national economy."