WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the Affordable Housing Bond Enhancement Act to make homeownership more accessible for working families. The bill would improve tax credits for first-time homebuyers by bolstering the Mortgage Revenue Bond (MRB) program and Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCC) that have helped nearly four million low- and moderate-income families purchase their first home.
“Middle-class Americans should not be priced out of the American Dream because of rapid inflation and sluggish economic growth,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill helps families achieve that dream of homeownership.”
“The opportunity to own a home is an important piece of the American Dream. That’s why I’m fighting to help families afford a home through federal tax investments that provide lower interest rates and annual tax credits that help families with their mortgage,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan bill will help more Nevadans be able to own and improve their homes, and I won’t stop working to lower housing costs in Nevada and across the states.”
“The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) thanks Senators Bill Cassidy and Cortez Masto for introducing the Affordable Housing Bond Enhancement Act, which will expand access to homeownership for low- and moderate-income home buyers,” said Stockton Williams, executive director of NCSHA. “Mortgage Revenue Bonds and Mortgage Credit Certificates historically have been the state housing finance agencies’ primary tool for financing affordable homeownership opportunities for working families, having helped nearly four million home buyers combined. This legislation will enact a series of simple, commonsense reforms to the MRB and MCC programs that will allow HFAs to better stretch their resources and help more underserved households.”
Specifically, the Affordable Housing Bond Enhancement Act would:
- Simplify the application process for MRB and MCC programs and make commonsense changes to use tax benefits to aid working families and add additional flexibility for borrowers.
- Allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages with MRB loans lowering costs for homeowners.
- Increase the amount of money homeowners with MRB loans can direct towards making home health and safety improvements—including possibly adding accessible bathrooms and ramps to help older and disabled Americans remain in their homes, as well as supporting energy efficiency upgrades or disaster mitigation renovations. The bill raises the current limit of $15,000 to $50,000.
- Provide housing finance agencies with the flexibility to extend loan and credit periods to account for delays due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, or construction shortages.
- Only require the issuers, not the lenders, to report MCC recipients to the IRS for tax accuracy and shorten the lengthy 90-day public notice requirement to 30 days to encourage more widespread use of the MCC program.
This legislation is endorsed by the National Council of State Housing Agencies, LISC, National Association of REALTORS, National Association of Homebuilders, and the Mortgage Bankers Association.