CNU Featured in New York Times Article, "Regulatory Break for Mixed-Use Projects"

The New York Times reported on a recent rule changed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that increases the allotment for government-insured mortgages for condos built within mixed-use projects. The change, championed by CNU via its Live/Work/Walk: Removing Obstacles to Investment initiative, makes it possible for owners to acquire a government-insured mortgage in developments with 35% commercial space, up from 25% previously.

Developers and city officials hope these new rules will stimulate buying and building in the housing sector, especially the condo market. 

While other changes to federal regulations are necessary to increase the share of walkable, mixed-use development starts, the rule change is a huge step toward making these type of developments the norm. Along with the FHA’s rule change, the number of allowed investor-owned condos has increased dramatically—to 50%, up from the original 10%—as long as the remaining condos are owner-occupied.

The NYT’s Joe Gose write, “Developers and others say that in addition to strengthening home sales, the changes represent a vote of confidence in the creation of sustainable, pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods, which are more likely to have projects that incorporate mixed-use buildings.”

Ben Schulman, Communications Director for CNU, is quoted in the piece, questioning whether the current regulations on commercial space mitigates risk better than mixed-use developments. Schulman says,“'We understand that risk has to be assessed somehow, but associating it with commercial is just not the right way to do it.'”

While the rule changes are good news for developers, communities, and CNU, the push for more change hasn’t ceased. As a part of our Live/Work/Walk campaign, The Congress for the New Urbanism remains committed and hopeful that HUD, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the FHA will continue to raise or eliminate the restrictive covenants on commercial space on traditional neighborhood districts.

Click to read the full NYT article: "Regulatory Break for Mixed-Use Projects."



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