What the Government Shutdown Means for Home Builders & Realtors®
With the federal government shutdown now entering its second full week, business owners around the nation are assessing the impact that the standoff in D.C. might have on their companies. For home builders, Realtors® and other real estate professionals, the effects may be felt in a variety of ways — and could worsen the longer the shutdown goes on.
NAHB Chairman and Charlotte home builder Rick Judson sent out a detailed message to all members on Oct. 1 explaining some of the ways that the federal government shutdown could impact home builders and their associates going forward. While in most cases the short-run impacts will be minor, a long-run shutdown — lasting several weeks or a month or more — could have significant impacts on mortgage accessibility and reduce housing demand. And over the coming weeks, the shutdown could merge with the issue of raising the debt ceiling, which could have very significant impacts on interest rates, as well as monetary and fiscal policy.
Here is a quick rundown of need-to-know information regarding the status of key government housing programs during the shutdown:
FHA-insured single-family loans will continue to be endorsed in the near term, although some delays in processing and closing should be expected.FHA multifamily insured projects with firm commitments and scheduled closings may go forward, although no new firm commitments will be issued.Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance Contracts, rent supplement, Section 236, and PRACs with permanent or indefinite authority or multi-year funding will have payments made from budget authority available from prior appropriations or recaptures.No Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections can take place.CDBG, HOME and other block grant funds will be dispersed in cases where failure to address issues result in a threat to safety of life and protection of property.Authorized drawdowns for approved CPD program activities (homeless assistance programs, CDBG, HOME, HOPWA) using pre-FY2014 program funds will continue uninterrupted unless it is necessary for a HUD employee to approve a voucher or lift a system edit prior to a draw down.
Department of Agriculture
Most Rural Development programs will not operate while the shutdown continues.The Section 521 Rental Assistance, Section 542 Rural Housing Vouchers, and Single Family Section 502 Guaranteed Loans will continue until funding is exhausted.A shutdown of more than two weeks is likely to have a significant impact on rural development programs.
Department of Homeland Security
E-Verify, the Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S., is unavailable due to the government shutdown. While E-Verify is unavailable, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts. Details on how this could impact your company’s operations can be found here.Small Business AdministrationThe SBA will not initiate new loan guarantees during the shutdown.OSHAWith the exception of “imminent danger” to life or property and other emergency situations, OSHA’s investigation and enforcement activities will cease during the shutdown.Department of the InteriorBusinesses who seek permits from the Fish and Wildlife Service could be affected. New permits or applications currently under review will not be processed during the government shutdown, which will increase costs and delays.EPASince state agencies in North and South Carolina are authorized to review and issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permits under the federal Clean Water Act, no delays should be experienced.The Energy Star program is shut down until further notice and the processing of all partner applications and partner inquiries has been put on hold. Updates to Energy Star qualified product lists and release of draft Energy Star specifications will also be delayed.Internal Revenue ServiceSome lenders require home borrowers to file IRS form 4506-T to verify the mortgage applicant’s income and Social Security number. With the IRS shut down, this could result in major delays in some mortgage application approvals.Economic DataDue to the shutdown, the August Census construction spending report was not published. The important monthly jobs report for September from BLS is unlikely to be published. And future reports on items like housing starts and new home sales could also be postponed.Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
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