Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

A Big Urban Victory – Mixed-Use and Fannie, Freddie and the FHA

Dateline: 1:08 pm January 17, 2011 Filed under:

The board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has approved a resolution that could have a dramatic impact on urban mixed-use, Main Streets and good development overall. In a partnership with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the National Town Builders Association (NTBA), the resolution by NAHB supports reform of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration’s guidelines for mixed-use development.

Currently, Fannie, Freddie and the FHA will not guarantee a mortgage on a development or building that is more than 25% commercial space. The resolution would raise that limit to 45%. This is significant because historic Main Street districts and new infill development would be suddenly eligible for significant new investment opportunities.

This topic is critical to urbanism because it provides significant financial underpinning for a long-overlooked sector. I personally can identify projects on which I am currently working, in large cities and small towns, and even developments in my neighborhood, that could benefit from Fannie, Freddie and HUD relaxing their rules on financing mixed-use development.

NAHB, NTBA and CNU will now be lobbying for this change to become offical, and we should all look forward this relaxing of restrictions on mixed-use development as holding exciting long-term prospects for urbanity.

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