Last week the United States House and Senate approved an omnibus budget bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018. Included in that bill were provisions related to Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The most important aspect of the bill for Realtors® is the 4 month extension of the NFIP until July 31st, 2018. This will allow new policies to be added to the program and doubles the funding to $263 million for updating the FEMA flood maps. The increase in flood map funding will create more accurate mapping and could potentially lead to a decrease in premiums for some homeowners.
The NFIP extension also maintains funding for flood mitigation, flood proofing, elevation of properties and the Office of the Flood Insurance Consumer Advocate, which assists homeowners with concerns over flood mapping and/or insurance ratings.
On April 1, 2018 NFIP premium rates are set to rise an average of 8%. The increase is in line with the annual 5-10% increases prior to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act. In some instances, individual property owners could see a rate increase up to 18% for newer properties and 25% for older ones. FEMA is also continuing to implement the next round of increases and other technical changes for the newly mapped and preferred risk properties.
NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall released the following statement prior to the passage of the stop-gap spending measure:
“In addition to extending the NFIP through July, with the goal of passing a long-term reauthorization and reform of the program soon, this spending bill contains significant improvements for providing affordable housing options for low-income households,” she said. “REALTORS® were a key part of a larger coalition that fought for these necessary changes, and we’re pleased to see the steps taken to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to address our country’s housing needs. It’s now time for Congress step up to the plate, pass the bill and fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.”