FHA Issues Final Guidelines on PACE Assessments
The U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued final guidance in the form of Mortgagee Letter 2016-11 regarding the subordination of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. As originally announced in August of 2015, the guidelines are part of a broader initiative to expand the accessibility of clean energy financing options while simultaneously preserving the value of underlying property with PACE assessments. Most PACE programs permit the PACE assessment to generate a lien on the property that is pari passu with real estate taxes and other assessments on real property and comes ahead of any mortgage lien on the property; a structure for which both the FHA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have expressed concerns. To address these concerns, the FHA announced that it will begin insuring mortgages on properties with PACE assessments that meet five conditions.