Biden's new FHFA head vows to prioritize affordable housing — what homeowners should do now

The FHFA has a new director who will put more focus on making housing affordable.  (iStock)

After the Supreme Court ruled this week that the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) leadership structure was unconstitutional, President Joe Biden appointed a new acting director. And with its new leader, the housing regulator has a new agenda that includes making housing more affordable. 

Newly appointed acting Director Sandra Thompson will serve as head of the agency until a permanent director can be confirmed by the Senate. And part of Thompson's agenda will be to ensure access to affordable housing. 

"I am honored that President Biden has designated me to be acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency until a permanent director is confirmed," Thompson said. "I look forward to serving in this role at this crucial time. As a longtime regulator, I am committed to making sure our nation’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner. We can accomplish this, and at the same time have a laser focus on mission and community investment. 

"There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color," Thompson said. "It is FHFA’s duty through our regulated entities to ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe, decent and affordable housing."

Although home prices are surging, one way housing has remained affordable is through low interest rates. When COVID-19 hit and the economy was shut down, the Federal Reserve moved quickly to keep interest rates low and stimulate the economy. Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to lower monthly payments to keep housing affordable. Visit Credible to see how much you could save on your monthly mortgage payments. 

The FHFA has been led for the past two years by former Director Mark Calabria, who was nominated by former President Trump and confirmed in April 2019. At the time, directors served terms of five years and could only be removed from their position if there was a cause to fire them. 

But Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling changed that, declaring the FHFA structure unconstitutional and giving the president the ability to remove a director for any reason, in order to appoint leaders that are more closely aligned with the administration’s agenda. 

When Calabria was director, the FHFA’s main objectives were removing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government conservatorship and growing the FHFA into a more thought leadership role through data and analytics. Now, the regulator will turn the agency's attention to helping underserved communities and making housing more affordable, with a focus on helping communities of color. 

The Supreme Court decision could mean the market will see more initiatives, such as the housing finance agency's recently announced low-income refinance program, which allows low-income families to capitalize on today’s low mortgage interest rates and refinance their home loan through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saving about $100 to $250 per month.

If you're looking to save on your monthly mortgage payments, visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and see what your options are to refinance.

This announcement comes as home prices surged to a record high in May. The median existing-home price for all housing types saw a record increase of 23.6% annually in May, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. 

This brought the median home price up to $350,300 in May, up from $283,500 last year — a record high and the 111th straight month of annual gains. The last time home prices dropped annually was in March 2012.

While this is detrimental for many first-time homebuyers or others looking to buy a home, homeowners have seen a surge in home equity over the past year. With interest rates at record lows, many homeowners could benefit from refinancing their home loans and could use their equity through a cash-out refinance to pay down credit card debt or update their homes. 

If you are interested in seeing the refinance options available to you, visit Credible to compare mortgage lenders and get prequalified without affecting your credit score. 

With a new head at the FHFA, underserved communities could begin to see more opportunities to enter the housing market or refinance their home to make housing more affordable for them. The new acting director plans to shift the focus at the housing regulator to align more closely with the Biden administration’s agenda.

Homeowners who want to refinance their mortgage can likely save on their monthly payments now because of today’s historically low interest rates. Contact Credible to see your options and talk to a home loan expert to get all of your questions answered.

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