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Organizations Call on FHFA to Lower Housing Costs for Renters, Homeowners

Nearly 80 consumer, energy, housing, health, manufacturing, and environmental organizations sent a letter calling on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to update energy code requirements to lower costs and make housing safer, healthier, and more resilient.

Among the many benefits of updating energy codes, the organizations note that it would lower housing costs, increase resilience to climate disasters, improve health outcomes, reduce emissions, and reduce risk of default.

In the letter, the organizations call on FHFA to require that all new homes with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet updated energy codes.

The organizations write:

“Requiring new homes to meet the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2019 energy codes would build on FHFA’s strong performance in ensuring that the Enterprises address the threats of climate change to the U.S. housing finance system and invest safely and soundly in communities. Adopting the code would also allow FHFA to act in concert with other federal agencies, creating consistent energy requirements for nearly all federally backed mortgage financing.

The outcome will reduce risk to the Enterprises and protect homeowners, while expanding access to affordable homeownership, addressing the racial home equity gap, and reducing home energy burdens. However, absent the new energy code, low-income households will continue to be saddled with decades of energy waste, high utility bills, and poor resilience, making housing less affordable long-term.”

Dozens of organizations across many industries have been outspoken in support of federal agencies adopting these updated codes, and helped lead the successful campaign to defeat a harmful and expensive amendment that sought to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from implementing these same updated energy efficiency standards for new housing financed by HUD programs.

Adopting up-to-date building energy codes can lower housing costs, including utility costs, and even save lives during extreme weather events. Research shows that homes built to updated energy standards help people to stay in their homes longer, with lower delinquency rates for loans and significantly lower default risks.

To read the full release, including the letter written to FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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