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TheStreet Open House

New Rules Target House Flipping (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: BACFNMAFMCC

The regulators said that the requirement of a second appraisal "is consistent with regulations promulgated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address property flipping in single-family mortgage insurance programs" of the Federal Housing Administration. Under the FHA's Anti-Flipping Rule, "properties that have been resold within certain recent time periods are ineligible as security for FHA-insured mortgage financing."

The regulators also proposed requiring the second appraisal if "the consumer is acquiring the home for a higher price than the seller paid," which would, of course, cover the requirement for homes being flipped within 180 days of the seller's purchase, however, the regulators took a soft approach on this requirement, saying "comment is requested on whether a threshold price increase would be appropriate."

Required second appraisals must include "an analysis of the difference in sale prices," taking "changes in market conditions, and any improvements made to the property between the date of the previous sale and the current sale," into account.

Public comments will be accepted by the regulators until October 15.

Over the long haul, the requirements on second appraisals for the higher-risk mortgages, could save lenders from themselves. Bank of America (BAC) reported a 41% increase in total mortgage repurchase claims against the company, to $22.7 billion as of June 30 from $16.1 billion the previous quarter. Most of the claims involved loans issued by Countrywide, before that lender was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.

Putback claims from Fannie and Freddie made up 53% of outstanding claims against Bank of America, and repurchase demands from private investors increased to $8.6 billion at the end of the second quarter, from $4.9 billion in march. Bank of America said in an earlier filing that mortgage-backed securities litigation against the company "generally involve allegations of false and misleading statements regarding... the process by which the properties that served as collateral for the mortgage loans underlying the MBS were appraised."

Frank Mayer -- a partner in the Financial Services Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, in the firm's Philadelphia office -- says the proposed appraisal rules "would cover all creditors that extend higher-risk mortgage loans, not just the 'federally related transactions' that are currently covered by the appraisal regs."

Mayer also says because "the proposed rule would include all charges (i.e., additional creditor and 3rd party charges) in the calculation of the finance charge," more loans will probably be brought "within the parameters of the higher-risk definition and, therefore, subject them to the greater regulatory burdens."

"I would expect a good deal of comment on the metric used to cover loans subject to the new burdens."

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn.

To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/PhilipvanDoorn.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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