The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on January 27 with Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt. Watt was questioned for over four hours on a variety of issues with members’ questions and criticisms almost entirely focused on FHFA’s changes to single-family programs and policies. Of note, there was minimal discussion of multifamily or housing finance reform.
Specifically, Watt responded to the only mention of housing finance reform by saying that it was not the responsibility of FHFA to be part of the conversation. And, in terms of multifamily, his opening statement highlighted the recently published 2015 Housing Goals, which was followed by only brief mentions of multifamily during the remaining hearing.
Watt responded to a question regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s affordable housing goals by citing that the agency wanted to ensure responsible homeownership, as well as increase the availability of affordable rental housing due to growing demand. He also acknowledged that there was an error in the recently issued risk retention rule that resulted in Fannie’s multifamily securities being exempted, but Freddie’s being included. But he noted that this rule was not passed by FHFA and is under the jurisdiction of other agencies.
NMHC/NAA input was reflected in FHFA’s recently issued 2015 Housing Goals referenced above.
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