Acting Deputy Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery told a group of REALTORS® last week that housing affordability is being negatively impacted by overregulation and misguided zoning laws, according to  the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

However, he said that the Federal Housing Authority is pursuing changes to its condominium approval policies that NAR supports, including “allowing owner-occupancy level determination on a case by case basis, allowing up to 45 percent commercial space without documentation and implementing a five-year approval period for project certification.” The comments were part of a discussion with about 100 REALTORS® at HUD headquarters in Washington, D.C., during the NAR Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo. Read the NAR story.

“As you all know, one opportunity is condominiums, which have been traditionally a mainstay of affordable housing for both first-time homeowners and seniors,” said Montgomery. “We’ve been in the process of revising our condominium project approval requirements to get to a final rule and update our policies.

“We anticipate that the updated regulations will be more flexible, less prescriptive and more reflective of the current market than existing provisions,” he said. “It may also include single unit approvals for loans that meet HUD standards for unapproved projects, allowing HUD to set the specific percentage.”

Changes to HUD’s condo rules must be approved by Office of Management and Budget, but Montgomery said the review will happen soon.

Find out more about Montgomery’s affordable housing analysis.