The ongoing shutdown of certain federal government functions will affect housing and home builders. 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.
Compiled by NAHB, the following is a list of government programs that could affect home builders and housing stakeholders under the current shutdown.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- 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.
- 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 continue without appropriation.
- 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. More details on how this could impact your company’s operations can be found here.
Small Business Administration
- The SBA will not initiate new loan guarantees during the shutdown.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- With 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 Interior
- Businesses 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.
Environmental Protection Agency
- Businesses that file the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in states where EPA is the primary permitting authority may notice a delay in issuance of their stormwater permits. These states are Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Mexico, along with the District of Columbia.
- 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 Service
- Some 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.
- Due 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.
In general, expect delays for any housing-related federal government programs that are still operating and plan accordingly. NAHB continues to closely monitor the situation, and we will keep you posted on any new developments.