A trade association leader takes aim at Washington, a regulator tries to blame her bad judgment on reporters and an Alabama city with a troubled past displays a glorious present. Looking into the wild and wooly world of real estate, here are our Hits and Misses for this week.
Hit: Give ‘Em Hell, Broeksmit! Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Bob Broeksmit promised a “more pugnacious than normal” opening speech at his organization’s Secondary Market Conference this week – and, boy, did he deliver. Without mentioning President Biden and his progressive allies by name, Broeksmit called out a government where “policymakers are piling on with more enforcement and stifling levels of red tape” and complained that nonbank lenders were being blamed for the recent banking crisis. He questioned recent actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that “push for prudential standards for non-banks, including IMBs and mortgage servicers” and to possibly put nonbank financial companies under Federal Reserve supervision. He added: “To be blunt, this looks like a power grab.” Bravo, sir!
Miss: Curse You, Rupert Murdoch! Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra L. Thompson misused her time before a House of Representatives hearing this week to blame the media for the controversy surrounding her agency’s disastrous rollout of the new upfront fee policy. “Unfortunately, certain media reports have distorted basic facts by painting an incomplete and misleading picture of these pricing updates,” she said, ignoring that the stakeholders in the real estate and mortgage industries were too-well aware of the “basic facts” of what the FHFA was trying to accomplish. The inconvenient fact that the FHFA failed to clearly explain the policy ahead of its launch never occurred to Thompson.
Hit: Sweet Home Alabama. The Alabama capital of Montgomery rarely finds itself in the media spotlight, unless there is a story relating to the tumult and violence that occurred there during the Civil Rights Movement. This week, Montgomery was the focus of attention for a positive achievement happening today: WalletHub named it as the most affordable U.S. city for homebuyers. Kudos to the city, its leadership and its business community for creating an environment that encourages the future of homeownership.
Miss: No Real Estate for You! Florida’s legislature, at the urging of its White House-focused governor, passed a bill this month that bans people who hold citizenship in “countries of concern” from purchasing property in the Sunshine State. The countries in question are China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela and they are now prevented from buying farmland or any property within 10 miles of any airport, seaport, military installation power plant, water treatment facility or location deemed as critical infrastructure – which pretty much rules out the whole state. Yes, the policies of the governments of those countries should concern all Americans. But preventing people with no criminal histories and no evidence of sedition from legally acquiring property based on their place of birth, race or ethnicity runs into more than a few constitutional issues. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state this week to block this law – this story will be continued.
Hit: Preserving a Musical Legacy. Congratulations should be raised for tennis great Venus Williams and artist Pendleton, who co-curated a New York City art gallery auction this month that raised $5.4 million that will be used to restore the Tryon, North Carolina-based childhood home of music legend Nina Simone. According to a report in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, Pendleton is part of a four-person limited liability company that purchased the home in 2017 for $95,000 – their auction was supposed to happen earlier, but the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted their initiative. Simone was born in the three-room clapboard house in 1933 and spent her first 17 years there. Pendleton stated, “Nina Simone is one of the most important musical artists of the twentieth century. I’m inspired to be able to protect her legacy by preserving her childhood home. Her music, her vision, cannot be forgotten.”
Miss: A Double Whammy on Homeownership. There were two dismal data reports this week regarding the state of homeownership. The U.S. Census for 2020 determined that the nation’s homeownership rate is 63.1%, the lowest depth since 1970. And Redfin published a report that found there are only four major U.S. metropolitan areas where it would be cheaper to buy a residence than rent the typical home: Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Houston. In a word: Ouch!
But instead of ending the week on a sour note, let’s wrap things up with the always glorious sounds of Nina Simone:
You are so focused on your wokeness it is shameful!
Ron DeSantis is a great governor and focused on protecting our country.
Spot on, Linda.
Great job. $5.4 mil in rehab work on a 1933 three room clapboard house seems like a little overkill though don’t it?
That’s what I was thinking …