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8.15.19 HUD Unveils Long Awaited FHA Condo Rules

Today, the Housing and Urban Development Department published their public documents changing the financing of condos under FHA.  The new regulations are aimed to make it significantly less difficult to purchase a condo with an FHA loan.

These rules will take effect October 15th 2019 and hold three specific changes as well as noting the minimum owner occupancy percentage as 50%.  First, in a building of 10 or more condo units an individual unit may be eligible for spot approval if the entire building does not exceed the 10% FHA-insured threshold.  Second, the length of time an approved condo project is certified for has been extended from two years to three years.  Third, in mixed-use buildings commercial space can now take up to 35% of the total square footage.

These changes come after over a decade of being championed by the National Association of REALTORS®.  Of the changes, NAR President John Smaby said “We are thrilled that Secretary Carson has taken this much-needed step to put the American dream within reach for thousands of additional families.”

You can find the document itself here at the Federal Register and NAR’s press release here.

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8.13.19 Municipal and Religious Overlay District Moves to Subcommittee

 

On August 1st, Salem City Council voted 9-1 to move the Municipal and Religious Overlay District to the Ordinance, Licenses, and Legal Affairs subcommittee.  This is a large step forward for the proposal, which had previously failed first passage and then failed immediate reconsideration.

To move the ordinance forward, an amendment was attached that mandated at least 10% of developed units to be affordable housing at 80% area median income.  Three of the buildings that would fall under this overlay have proposals contingent on the passage of the ordinance.  Each already meets or exceeds the 10% requirement and Mayor Driscoll noted it “should not pose a problem.”

Next for the ordinance is passage through the Ordinance, Licenses, and Legal Affairs subcommittee.  The meeting date scheduled for the ordinance is September 5th.  If it passes through subcommittee final passage would need to be done by September 15th.

You can read more about the August 1st meeting here.

 

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7.30.19 HUD Puts Down Payment Assistance Rule Change on Suspension

 

Following a federal judge ruling in Utah, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a notice to lenders that a rule change HUD made to down payment assistance guidelines in April is being put on suspension until further notice.

The initial April change stated that “a legal opinion” must be obtained for Governmental down payment assistance such that “the Governmental Entity is a federally recognized Indian Tribe operating on tribal land in which the Property is located or to enrolled members of the tribe.”

The lawsuit opposing the HUD change claims that it “unlawfully targets American Indian tribes and bands by prohibiting them from participating in home purchasing assistance programs and thus threatens a critical source of revenue for the Cedar Band” and furthermore it was adopted without proper notice.

The policy in broader terms focused on Governmental Entities having jurisdiction over the area where the property is located.

 

You can read more about this issue on HousingWire and NAHBNow.

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7.30.19 Manchester-By-The-Sea Continues Re-Codification

 

Manchester-by-the-Sea is making progress on the re-codification of its zoning bylaws.  This is following the Master Plan recommendation which stated: "A full zoning bylaw review and revision would allow the Town an opportunity to make the regulations easier to understand and administer and align zoning regulations with current land use goals, best practices and municipal capacity."

The next meeting is scheduled for September 11th and the public is welcome to attend. This meeting will focus on the creation a use table for each district.  Town Planner Sue Brown stated that there were no plans to change the district lines themselves and also added she would like to include new language in the zoning bylaws to allow more diverse housing options.

 

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7.19.19 Governor Baker Announces 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards

On July 18th in Swampscott, the 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards where announced by Governor Baker.  The North Shore was very well represented with four local recipients. The awards in total consist of nearly $80 million in direct subsidies and $38 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund the development, renovation, and preservation of housing opportunities throughout Massachusetts. 

 

The four local winners are:  Cabot Street in Beverly, which will construct 24 new units as well as rehabilitating 45 existing units.  All of these units will be restricted to individuals earning less than 60% of the area median income.  Harbor Village in Gloucester will be a mixed-use project consisting of a commercial ground level and 30 new units which will be restricted to 60% of area median income.  The Tannery in Peabody is a preservation project.  When the rehab is completed there will be 200 units reserved for those earning less than 60% of area median income and 35 units for those earning less than 30% of area median income.  Finally, The Senior Residences at The Machon in Swampscott is a redevelopment project of an elementary school for senior citizens.  There will be 38 units available for seniors earning less than 60% of the area median income and 8 more units for seniors earning less than 30% of the area median income.

 

You can find the state house’s official press release here.

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7.17.19 Manchester-By-The-Sea to Update 1978 Zoning Bylaw

 

After over 40 years of slight changes and reorganization, Manchester-By-The-Sea has begun to take steps for a Zoning Recodification and Update.  This comes on the heels of the new Manchester Master Plan, which calls for more diversification of housing opportunities as well as opening up commercial areas for the possibility of residential housing.

This endeavor is scheduled to overlap multiple Planning Board meetings as topics being tackled range from cleanliness/readability issues to major procedural changes.  Once a rough draft is completed, the plans will head to a Community Workshop before finally arriving at a formal Planning Board Hearing where an approval of two-thirds will be needed for it to pass. 

Attention Manchester-By-The-Sea Realtors, the next meeting will be held today July, 17th at 5pm in the Town Hall Room 5.  This will be to discuss the general recodification and get an update from Mark Bobrowski, who is the consultant hired to assist in this process.

Read more on the town's website here.

 

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