The government shut down over ten days ago over a fight between the president and the Senate over the funding of a wall on our southern border. Here are some thoughts about how the government shutdown impacts real estate from Mike Wheatley at Reality Biz News.
RealtorMag reports that the National Association of Realtors is working closely with officials at Congress and in the White House to ensure that lawmakers are “aware of the importance of keeping programs critical to communities operating without interruption.”
One of these programs includes the National Flood Insurance Program, which loses its authority to sell flood insurance policies. That means the NFIP cannot renew or sell new policies, though existing policies remain unaffected until they expire.
The shutdown also means we can expect delays in the processing of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages, the NAR said. The shutdown means the FHA is forced to furlough non-essential employees, which in turn means that we can expect delays in the processing and approval of loans. Those mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not affected; neither are those backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The shutdown will also affect people’s ability to obtain taxpayer information from the Inland Revenue Service. Transactions are likely to face delays, the NAR said, as IRS offices will experience furloughs of non-essential employees and therefore will take longer to respond to requests.
The shutdown takes our focus off the need for affordable housing. Johnson County’s widespread unaffordable housing is a crisis that has become a pox on our community.
Sadly, people who work in Johnson County in jobs such as fast food worker, truck driver or nurses’ aide have about zero chance of living in the county where they work. At the same time, many longtime residents are finding that they cannot afford to retire in the county where they have spent their lives.
There are plenty of citizens who bemoan the affordable housing crisis. But what’s needed is, for now, unattainable. More government funding is necessary to bring housing subsidies more in line with market rates. But housing assistance faces budget cuts, pushed by President Donald Trump, as well as a recalcitrant Congress.
Perhaps that attitude could shift with the change in control in Congress. That may be the only real hope to make a dent. Until then, the meager efforts locally will not be
enough. It appears Johnson County, like many other affluent communities, will be affordable only to middle- and higher-income residents.
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