On my mind this month …
I became a licensed broker over 20 years ago and my passion all these years has been staying apprised of all the opportunities that help first time and low-income buyers become homeowners; programs like low down payment loans, down payment assistance programs, homeownership land trust and self-help programs.
I pay close attention to the legislative process in Olympia – especially where all-things housing are concerned. Below are some of my thoughts on a current bill.
House Bill 1110
HB 1110 is the flagship piece of a major legislative push this year to increase housing development in Washington, specifically “middle housing” options like duplexes, townhomes and backyard cottages that provide more housing units than single-family homes but are smaller than apartment buildings.
I believe there is confusion surrounding HB1110. If the intent is to allow individual property owners to be able to finance and build an additional three units on their property, FNMA (Federal National Mortgage Assoc.) will have to make some changes to their guidelines. Otherwise, it will turn into a developer product, leaving all the new inventory at market rate, which completely defeats the purpose of creating more affordable ‘middle housing’. As it stands right now, FNMA will finance up to four units, however, they need to be attached units, or one single family home and a tri-plex. In addition, one may build a six-plex if two are “Affordable” (defined as (80% of median income).
Additionally, HB1110 does allow a property owner to create a Condominium Association which may be the workaround to FNMA financing. Though that means more cost to the property owner for hiring a lawyer to draft the association documents and recording of those documents.
There’s a lot more information available – I’m putting the link to the bills on my website for those of you who are interested.
I’ve long been a proponent of legislation that positively impacts our housing market, especially when it addresses the challenges with affordable housing – for both low-income and middle-income individuals and families. I pay close attention to legislation like HB 1110 and HB1337; they impact our local housing market, which in turn impacts our communities and residents.
I’m still researching and learning more every day; these are complex issues both locally and nationally. What I do know is that I’ll continue to work on issues that impact our local ability to create more affordable housing options throughout our region.