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Biden-Harris Announce First-Day White House Actions

Biden says he’ll immediately ask the CDC and FHFA to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until March 31, giving Congress time to pass new pandemic relief.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris issued a joint media release on actions the White House will take “hours after taking the oath of office.” Some of those actions directly impact the nation’s real estate industry, and some have an indirect effect.

Actions planned by Biden

Extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums
Noting that 1 in 5 renters and 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage are behind on payments, Biden says that he’ll ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to “consider immediately extending” the federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31, 2021. He’ll also ask Congress to provide rental assistance and extend it further.

The release says he’ll also “ask the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to “consider extending” foreclosure moratoriums for federally guaranteed mortgages and continue accepting and approving forbearance applications for federally guaranteed mortgages until at least March 31, 2021.

On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – the arm that oversees secondary mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – extended its foreclosure and eviction moratoriums until Feb. 28. Biden will also ask FHFA to extend that eviction and foreclosure moratorium.

Extend the student loan pause
Student loans – often cited by millennial homebuyers as their greatest challenge in trying to buy a home – stands at over $1.5 trillion. Saying “borrowers of all ages are often faced with a tough tradeoff between making their student loan payments, investing in their long-term financial future, or paying their bills,” the White House says it will ask the Department of Education to “immediately extend the pause on interest and principal payments for direct federal loans until at least Sept. 30, 2021.”

Advancing racial equity and supporting underserved communities
Biden and Harris mentioned housing in a lengthy commitment to “advancing racial justice and building back better for communities who have been underserved, including people of color and Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities, and rural and urban communities facing persistent poverty.”

They plan to close “racial gaps in wages, housing credit, lending opportunities, and access to higher education.”

In an executive action planned for the first day, the equity initiative would, among other things:

• Direct every federal agency – which includes departments such as HUD that focus on housing – to “undertake a baseline review of the state of equity within their agency and deliver an action plan within 200 days to address unequal barriers to opportunity in agency policies and programs”

• “Study new methods that federal agencies can use to assess whether proposed policies advance equity”

The complete announcement – President-elect Biden’s Day One Executive Actions Deliver Relief for Families Across America Amid Converging Crises – is posted online.

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