CNU Leads Broad Coalition to Washington for Fannie/Freddie Reform

CNU Spearheads Effort to Reform Restrictive Fannie and Freddie Development Requirements

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Bringing together a broad coalition of partners such as the National Town Builders Association (NTBA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of Realtors, CNU led the way to Washington last Monday in a meeting with HUD/FHA Assistant Secretary of Housing Daniel Stevens. The coalition voiced support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise the minimum threshold amount of commercial space in mixed-use developments from 25% to 45%. Recognizing the latent demand stunted by the current restrictions in place, the four-party alliance presented their case as an effort to not only support smart-growth policies attuned to the goals of the HUD/USDOT/EPA Sustainability Partnership, but also to help jumpstart much-needed economic growth.

CNU President & CEO John Norquist is leading the effort to raise the mixed-use threshold requirements and to relax mortgage underwriting rules associated with such buildings. Norquist noted that the current restrictions "can undermine development and redevelopment along America's Main Streets," and that "current policies of FHA, the GSEs and the 221(d)4 multi-housing capital program discourage mixed-use development that the market might otherwise support." With the housing market still looking for recovery, the reforms will allow for developers and consumers alike to take advantage of the growing demand for walkable, sustainable and diverse neighborhoods in a variety of settings.

The dialogue that has now been started would guarantee federally-backed loans for a sector that has been overlooked for decades. By loosening the requirements that restrict the market to function of its own accord, Fannie and Freddie would in turn be encouraging a broader base of  customers eager to enter the marketplace. CNU and its partners look forward to the continued conversation with Secretary Stevens and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration in enacting such reforms into reality.