HAC News: March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010
Vol. 39, No. 5

FIELD OFFICES ENCOURAGED TO OBLIGATE ALL SECTION 502 DIRECT FUNDS THIS YEAR. An Unnumbered Letter to USDA state offices launches a campaign to use all FY2010 appropriation and Recovery Act loan funds by September 30, including providing at least 40% of funds to very low-income borrowers. The UL, dated February 24, 2010, is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/ul_list.html or from RD offices.

USDA TO ANNOUNCE SOME HOUSING NOFAS ON WEB ONLY. A Federal Register notice and an Unnumbered Letter state that NOFAs for some programs will be posted only on RD’s website, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov, and others will continue to be published in the Federal Register. The notice does not provide details, and HAC could not obtain any by press time. Any additional news HAC receives will be posted at http://www.ruralhome.org. See Federal Register, 3/4/10 or http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/ul/ulfebruary10.pdf.

SECTION 538 RENTAL HOUSING GUARANTEES OFFERED. Funds can be used for new construction; acquisition with rehabilitation; or revitalization, repair, and transfer of existing Section 515 housing, including equity payments in connection with transfer. Deadline is December 31. See Federal Register, 2/26/10 at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a100226c.html or contact a Rural Development state office.

RD CHANGES POSITION ON TAX CREDIT EXCHANGE PROGRAM FUNDING AS EQUITY. Responding to a letter from House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-Mass.), RD housing Administrator Tammye Treviño committed to reverse a November 20, 2009 Unnumbered Letter that stated TCEP funds would be considered grants rather than equity in Section 515 projects. A National Housing Law Project explanation and the Frank and Treviño letters are posted at http://nhlp.org/node/1293.

NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING GOALS PROPOSED FOR FANNIE AND FREDDIE. As required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has drafted new goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase single-family and multifamily affordable housing mortgages. FHFA also suggests revising the way it determines whether the goals are met. Comments are due April 12. See Federal Register, 2/26/10 or http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=89. Contact Nelson Hernandez, FHFA, 202-408-2993.

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANKS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT LENDING CHANGES SUGGESTED. Comments are due April 26 on a Federal Housing Finance Agency proposed rule regarding Federal Home Loan Bank community development finance, including definitions of terms such as “community development.” See Federal Register, 2/23/10 or http://www.regulations.gov. Contact Thomas E. Joseph, FHFA, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 202-414-3095.

CENSUS BUREAU DEVELOPING NEW POVERTY CALCULATION. The Supplemental Poverty Measure will not change the official government calculation, but will provide “an additional macro-economic statistic.” See the press release at http://www.commerce.gov/NewsRoom/PressReleases_FactSheets/PROD01_008963.

CENSUS PARTICIPATION TOOLS OFFERED. Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network resources, including a toolkit to help nonprofits encourage Census participation, are at http://www.nonprofitscount.org/downloads.html. Census Bureau resources are at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/.

HOME DEPOT OFFERS $1 MILLION FOR 2010 PRO TRADE SCHOLARSHIPS. The program will provide $1,000 scholarships to 500 students attending building and construction trade schools and $1,000 grants to their schools. Applications are due April 30. Visit http://www.homedepot.com/tradescholarship or call 877-743-5327.

CORRECTION TO BUDGET TABLE, HAC NEWS, 2/3/10. The second to last line in the table of HUD programs should read “Transformation Initiative” rather than “Transforming Rental Assistance.” HAC apologizes for any confusion. The corrected version is available at http://www.ruralhome.org.

RURAL VOICES MAGAZINE COVERS COLONIAS. In the latest issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine, nonprofit organizations working across the colonias region illustrate the work being done to organize residents, build affordable housing, and improve infrastructure. Articles by Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) and USDA housing administrator Tammye Treviño are included. Rural Voices is free at http://www.ruralhome.org. For one free print subscription per organization, contact Lawrence Adams, HAC, 202-842-8600, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . To sign up for email notices announcing new issues, visit http://www.ruralhome.org/information-and-publications/169-sign-up.

REGISTRATION AND DETAILS POSTED FOR HAC’S CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE APPROACHES. “Building Green in Rural America: A Symposium on Policy and Practice” will be held June 9 in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.ruralhome.org. Contact Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Comments (2)

  1. The principal adagvtnae of the OFHEO index is that it has broader geographical coverage than Case-Shiller index. The Case-Shiller national index (to be distinguished from the 10 city and 20 city aggregate indices) does not include data on 13 states and includes incomplete data on 29 others.However the OFHEO index is flawed in a number of ways that make it notably inferior to the Case-Shiller index. Two of the problems with the OFHEO index are related to the fact that its numbers are based only on homes sales with conforming home mortgages (prime loans less than $417,000), which eliminates a large percentage of real estate transactions, whereas Case-Shiller looks at all home sales, including nonconforming loans. First, OFHEO excludes all homes with mortgage loans of over $417,000 and so completely misses the top end of the housing market. Second, the OFHEO uses home price appraisals rather than actual sales prices. Third, the OFHEO uses an inferior method for weighting homes that have lengthy intervals between valuations. Fourth, since the OFHEO excludes subprime loans, it misses the huge differences in price patterns for inexpensive homes with alternative financing.So despite the fact that the OFHEO is more geographically comprehensive than Case-Shiller, it excludes the very portions of the housing market that have experienced the most speculation and the the highest probabilty of distressed loans, and, it is clearly subject to methodological flaws. Thus it is far less accurate and far less representative of the overall housing market. The Zillow index, the third major index of housing prices, is an indicator of just how inferior the OFHEO index is. The Zillow index correlates very well with Case-Shiller with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 95%. However both Zillow and Case-Shiller correlate with OFHEO rather poorly with Pearson Correlation coefficients of only about 50%. I suspect that as housing prices continue to in most parts of the country over the next couple of years, fewer and fewer people will be referring to the OFHEO index as it increasingly diverges from reality.
  2. The principal adagvtnae of the OFHEO index is that it has broader geographical coverage than Case-Shiller index. The Case-Shiller national index (to be distinguished from the 10 city and 20 city aggregate indices) does not include data on 13 states and includes incomplete data on 29 others.However the OFHEO index is flawed in a number of ways that make it notably inferior to the Case-Shiller index. Two of the problems with the OFHEO index are related to the fact that its numbers are based only on homes sales with conforming home mortgages (prime loans less than $417,000), which eliminates a large percentage of real estate transactions, whereas Case-Shiller looks at all home sales, including nonconforming loans. First, OFHEO excludes all homes with mortgage loans of over $417,000 and so completely misses the top end of the housing market. Second, the OFHEO uses home price appraisals rather than actual sales prices. Third, the OFHEO uses an inferior method for weighting homes that have lengthy intervals between valuations. Fourth, since the OFHEO excludes subprime loans, it misses the huge differences in price patterns for inexpensive homes with alternative financing.So despite the fact that the OFHEO is more geographically comprehensive than Case-Shiller, it excludes the very portions of the housing market that have experienced the most speculation and the the highest probabilty of distressed loans, and, it is clearly subject to methodological flaws. Thus it is far less accurate and far less representative of the overall housing market. The Zillow index, the third major index of housing prices, is an indicator of just how inferior the OFHEO index is. The Zillow index correlates very well with Case-Shiller with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 95%. However both Zillow and Case-Shiller correlate with OFHEO rather poorly with Pearson Correlation coefficients of only about 50%. I suspect that as housing prices continue to in most parts of the country over the next couple of years, fewer and fewer people will be referring to the OFHEO index as it increasingly diverges from reality.
  •