While the housing debate didn’t have a great impact on the 2016 presidential race, President-elect Donald Trump and the new sessions of Congress have decisions ahead of them that could significantly affect the mortgage industry.
When the new group takes office in January, here are five major mortgage questions that need answers:
1. Who Will Assume Federal Housing Roles?
The new administration will make appointments to a host of housing-related positions. They include the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commissioner of the Federal Housing Authority, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and president of Ginnie Mae.
2. Will Anything be Done About GSE Conservatorship?
A decision is upcoming on the future of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are in the eighth year of conservatorship under the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and with reform talks stalling, the administration and Congress will be on the clock.
3. When Will the Fed Raise Rates?
Last December, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate 25 points for the first time in over nine years. It has held steady since, but with the election finally over, is another hike looming? We may learn more after the Fed’s December meeting.
4. How Safe is the Mortgage Interest Deduction?
The mortgage interest tax deduction has been adamantly defended by the housing industry as a method of promoting homeownership. However, the Mortgage Bankers Association has recently indicated some willingness to re-examine it if it comes as a part of a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code. What will any changes made by Congress mean for the deduction?
5. Who Will be Named as the Ninth Justice?
As a result of a federal appeals court’s ruling that the current structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, a new case with massive mortgage industry implications may be on the way to the Supreme Court. President Obama’s nominee for the open Justice slot, Merrick Garland, has been blocked by Senate Republicans, and the Trump Administration will likely get a chance to fill the opening.
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