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In a relatively rare display of congressional bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. The legislation, formally known as HR 3700, previously passed in the House of Representatives in a 427-0 vote in February.
The legislation seeks to modify three areas of federal housing policy: The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development's (HUD) rental assistance and public housing programs, the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) requirements for condominium mortgage insurance, and the Department of Agriculture's single-family housing guaranteed loan program. The Obama Administration has not publicly commented on whether the president would sign or veto the legislation.
Industry trade groups supported the bill since its introduction and greeted the Senate’s vote with praise.
“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans,” said Tom Salamone, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that.”
“This bill contains a number of reforms to increase access to affordable rental housing, provide assistance to low-income renters and facilitate homeownership,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).