Fannie's Plan Fannie Mae has announced a plan to impose an “Adverse Market Delivery Charge,” which would cost lenders an additional 25 basis points for loans purchased for portfolio as well as for loans delivered into Fannie's guaranteed mortgage-backed securities, for all mortgages purchased after March 1, 2008. Jerry Howard, NAHB executive vice president and CEO, says, “Fannie Mae's new fee is a broad tax on homeownership that ultimately will be passed along to consumers. … This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done and underscores the importance of Congress quickly enacting legislation that would strengthen regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while also preserving their vital housing mission.”

Market Mosaic Home-price appreciation rates among resale homes vary significantly among the nation's top markets, according to the latest monthly S&P/Case-Shiller home-price statistics tracking the 20 largest metro areas in the U.S.

Among the top 20 markets surveyed by S&P/Case-Shiller, which represent more than 40 percent of the U.S. population, five showed positive home-price appreciation rates over the past year, seven posted declines of less than 5 percent, and eight registered losses of between 5 percent and 10 percent.

Safety First The NAHB and the NAHB Research Center will be conducting 40 four-hour-long fall protection seminars for builders, contractors, supervisors, and workers this year.

Funded through a grant from OSHA, 35 sessions will be conducted in English and five in Spanish. The Spanish-language seminars are available upon request.

Local HBAs are invited to host the seminars for their members.

Holding Steady The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) announced that the 2008 conforming loan limit for single-family mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain at $417,000, unchanged for the third straight year. The announcement is consistent with guidelines proposed by OFHEO to handle future conforming loan limit adjustments.

Tricky Taxes Efforts in the housing finance industry to keep homeowners from losing their homes, limit the amount of inventory returning to the market, and help check further housing price declines are being hampered by federal tax law that legislators on Capitol Hill are attempting to change, according to Robert Dietz, an NAHB economist. H.R. 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which would eliminate the tax consequences associated with debt forgiveness, has been approved by the House of Representatives and is now awaiting Senate approval.

“The Internal Revenue Service treats all debt amounts that are reduced, forgiven, or eliminated as part of a mortgage restructuring or foreclosure as taxable income,” Dietz writes in a special study for NAHB Housing Economics. “This phantom income taxation creates a disincentive against restructuring an existing mortgage to ensure continued payment and avoid foreclosure.”