Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels
So, it seems that our government officials have learned to play nice in the sandbox last night leading to an end to our eighteenth government shutdown since the seventies! You may have seen the famous (or maybe “infamous” would be more fitting) hashtags “#SchumerShutdown” and “#TrumpShutdown” all over social media. This just goes to show that, leading up to the shutdown, some were more interested in finger pointing than solution seeking.
On January 19th we posted a blog about the potential government shutdown and less than 24 hours later it became reality. But after a 3-day standoff President Trump signed a bill that allowed government employees to return to work. I know what you may be thinking...” sheesh, thank goodness it’s over!” Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the “truce” is temporary and if both political parties don’t agree on the unresolved immigration issues by the February 8th deadline...then “ding ding ding” ...someone ring the proverbial bell for the start of round two!
If we do go into part two of the shutdown, those in the market for homeownership may be the ones to pay the price. Buyers who have applied for loans with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will absorb most of the impact. Why? Because, with these products; the government agencies play a more active role in processing and approving the loans. Unfortunately, the government employees who are responsible for those tasks are not exactly considered “essential personnel”.
According to HUD's shutdown contingency plan, the number of essential personnel goes a little something like this…there are usually about 7,797 employees at HUD but during the shutdown about 289 are allowed to work. The Office of Housing goes from 2,506 employees to 86, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity goes from 484 to 2 (Yes! Uno, dos…the end!), and Ginnie Mae employees go from 143 to a whopping 14! And just in case you were wondering…there is no work from home option. This is not to mention the IRS who will most likely move the processing of 4506T forms to the bottom of the “to do” list and the Social Security Administration is in no better position.
Bottom line, although the government has informed us that they “will not shut down the mortgage pipeline” if this continues; they could potentially be creating one heck of a paperwork traffic jam! Hopefully this won’t turn into a knock down drag out...but all we can do is stay tuned.
Until next time,
The opinions expressed in this post are the sole view of the writer and do not reflect the opinion of Princeton Mortgage Corporation.