June 20, 2019
Congress Passes VA Loan Bill
The President is expected to sign H.R. 299, the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.” This legislation includes language which will eliminate the cap on the VA home loan guarantee. Veterans, under this legislation, will be able to purchase any home they qualify for using the VA home loan (with zero down payment).
As introduced, the legislation would slightly increase some of the guarantee fees for all veterans using the VA loan program, in order to pay for the healthcare component. NAR opposed this language, and in conjunction with other groups, was able to mitigate the impact of these increases. NAR will continue to work with the VA on implementing the loan limit provision and assuring all veterans have access to the home loan benefit.
House Committee Passes Flood Bill
On June 12, 2019, by a unanimous vote of 59 to 0, the House Financial Services Committee approved HR 3167: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization Act, sending the bill to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
The NFIP Reauthorization Act would extend the program for five years and include significant reforms to strengthen flood mapping, enhance mitigation investments and remove several barriers to private flood insurance options. It easily cleared the first hurdle of the legislative process because it was the product of extensive, bipartisan negotiations between Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC).
NAR supported committee passage because the bill represents a long-term solution to NFIP and a breakthrough of the two-year deadlock that has resulted in 12 short-term extensions and two brief lapses so far. The bill is not only a sensible, bipartisan pathway forward, but also includes numerous NAR-championed provisions and is consistent with long-standing NAR policy principles.
Next, the House of Representatives must vote on the measure, but the timing is not yet clear. NAR will urge the House to take up the NFIP Reauthorization Act at the first available opportunity and move the bill to the United States Senate. Currently, NFIP’s flood-insurance-writing authority is next set to expire on September 30, 2019.
Note: Remember, flooding doesn’t just happen on the coast. In Colorado, there were 1,174 flood events between 1996-2016, including the catastrophic 2013 flood. Over 2,160,005 homes are in a floodplain, according to NAR data and only 1 percent of those homes have flood insurance. The average Colorado NFIP claim payment is $254,509.