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Countdown: Our most popular articles in 2019 (5-1)

What was the most read article of 2019?

From bankruptcies to new Federal Housing Administration rulings, 2019 was an interesting year in the world of housing.

In honor of that, we compiled a list of the top 10 most-read articles that HousingWire published this year. We’ve already covered part one, (stories 6-10) here

Now, as we usher in 2020, here is a look back at the top 5 articles of 2019. 

5) Bill eliminating VA loan cap signed into law

Shortly after the Senate unanimously approved, “The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” in June, President Donald Trump signed it into law. This act allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to back loans that exceed the conforming loan limit, as the bill eliminated this cap. Homebuyers can now borrow above the 2019 limit of $484,350 for most counties without any down payment.

4) Ditech files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for second time in 14 months

Ditech announced in February that it, along with its subsidiaries Ditech Financial and Reverse Mortgage Solutions, entered into a “restructuring support agreement” that will seek to restructure the company’s debt. The company’s struggles carried on through the rest of 2019, as HousingWire reported in October that Ditech sold its forward and reverse mortgage businesses to New Residential Investment and Mortgage Assets Management.

3) FHA eliminates two “unnecessary and outdated” lending roadblocks

Entering the top three, the news took off that the Federal Housing Administration was reducing some of the regulatory burdens that belabor the lending process. In short, the FHA eliminated the FHA Inspector Roster in order to expand the pool of inspectors for lenders. The agency also got rid of the requirement that borrowers purchase 10-year protection plans for new construction homes, thereby reducing expenses for the borrower.

2) Mortgage rates at 18%? That’s what we got the last time a president strong-armed the Fed

The second-most read story of the year came from HousingWire’s Real Estate Editor KK Howley, as she took a dive into the history of Federal Reserve rate cuts. Perhaps the most interesting statistic out of the story was that, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, President Donald Trump’s numerous Twitter attacks aimed at the Fed knocked a combined 10 basis points off the expected Fed funds futures contract, the equivalent to about 0.3 basis points per Tweet. 

1) HUD announces new rules for down payment assistance on FHA mortgages

Drumroll, please. The No. 1 most-read story for all of 2019 was published in April, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was issuing new rules for down payment assistance on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

The FHA stated at the time that current documentation requirements needed to be “clarified to provide Mortgagees with specific guidance regarding documentation that will give greater assurances that the standards for providing the MRI have been satisfied by the Governmental Entity.”

Although, it should be noted that the HUD and the FHA eventually repealed the new rules for down payment assistance after being sued.

Thank you for reminiscing with us. Here’s to another year of covering all things housing!

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