HUD extends support for ‘flipping’ homes

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has extended a waiver that allows the use of federally backed loans to “flip” houses within 90 days of purchase. 

The waiver, which had been scheduled to expire at the end of the year, permits the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to issue loans to buyers who remodel and then sell their homes at a higher value — a practice that has increased since the housing bubble burst, according to RealtyTrac.

HUD first granted waivers for federal support of home-flipping in 2010. The latest action marks the fourth time the waiver has been extended.

ADVERTISEMENT
The ban on FHA loans for remodeling homes is intended to protect buyers from predatory practices and inflated prices, but the Obama administration has waived the policy in an attempt to incentivize the renovation of foreclosed homes. 

The waiver attempts to guard against fraud by requiring the seller to provide documents and meet certain requirements if the price of a home increases more than 20 percent after renovations.

Since the waiver began in February 2010, FHA has insured “approximately 65,250 mortgages worth more than 

$11 billion on properties resold within 90 days of acquisition,” HUD spokesman Lemar Wooley said in an email.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed adding South Korea to the list of countries able to export poultry products to the United States, following a positive review of the country’s enforcement of food safety rules. 

In 2005, Korea asked for permission to export Jeukseok Samgyetang (instant ginseng chicken stew) and Gohyang Samgyetang (hometown ginseng chicken stew) to the United States. 

Poultry products imported from South Korea would be subject to further inspection by the USDA.

The agency says the imports would not threaten American poultry producers, which sell about $143 million worth of products to Korea each year.

Tom Super, vice president of communications for the National Chicken Council, said South Korea “should be afforded the same opportunities as other countries to compete in the U.S. marketplace.” The National Chicken Council, a nonprofit trade association that represents American poultry producers, supported the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. 

“They’re trying to create a niche market in the United States,” he added, referring to the ready-to-eat chicken products under review. Super said imported poultry accounts for less than 1 percent of all chicken consumed in the United States.