Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FAA forecast: 600,000 Commercial Drones Within the Year

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FAA forecast: 600K commercial drones within the year

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 30, 2016 – There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that opened the skies to them on Monday, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimate.
The rules governing the operation of small commercial drones were designed to protect safety without stifling innovation, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a news conference.
Commercial operators initially complained that the new rules would be too rigid. The agency responded by creating a system to grant exemptions to some of the rules for companies that show they can operate safely, Huerta said.
On the first day the rules were in effect the FAA had already granted 76 exemptions, most of them to companies that want to fly drones at night, Huerta said.
"With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world's busiest, most complex airspace," he said.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said people are "captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer." The few thousand commercial drones that had been granted waivers to operate before Monday have been used to monitor crops, inspect bridges and transmission lines, assist firefighters, film movies, and create real estate and wedding videos, among dozens of other uses.
In general, the new rules apply to drones weighing 55 pounds or less, and require commercial operators to:
  • Keep the drone within sight at all times.
  • Keep drones from flying over people not involved in their operation.
  • Limit drone operations to the hours from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
  • Limit speed to no more than 100 mph.
  • Fly no higher than 400 feet.
Drone operators must also pass a test of their aeronautical knowledge administered by the FAA. More than 3,000 people had registered with the FAA to take the test as of Monday.
The Air Line Pilots Association complained that the new regulations are "missing a key component" because there's no requirement that drone operators first have an FAA pilot license to fly a plane. The FAA considered requiring drone operators to have manned aircraft pilot licenses, but relented when the drone industry complained that the time and expense involved in obtaining a license, including considerable time practicing flying a plane, would be prohibitive.
AP Logo Copyright 2016 The Associated Press, Joan Lowy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Realtors have reason to celebrate today as legislation easing restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums is finally signed into law," says NAR President

FHA condo relief

WASHINGTON – Aug. 2, 2016 – President Obama has signed H.R. 3700 – the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act" – into law.
The move paves the way for more condo sales, especially in Florida. First-time buyers will soon find it easier to qualify for a mortgage in more condo developments, and, as a result, more current condo owners will find it easier to move up to a single-family home.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) hailed the development as a "significant step" in eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos.
The bill previously passed both the U.S. House and Senate with a unanimous vote. It passed the House in February and the Senate two weeks ago. NAR, an advocate of the bill, testified before Congress and lobbied for passage.
Passage was also the topic of NAR's recent Call for Action, where it asked Realtors nationwide to write to their lawmakers an encourage passage. Overall, nearly 140,000 Realtors across the country voiced their support for the legislation during the NAR Call for Action.
"Realtors have reason to celebrate today as legislation easing restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums is finally signed into law," says NAR President Tom Salomone, president of NAR and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. "This is a long-awaited victory for NAR and for homebuyers for whom condos are an important and affordable option."
The bill will make the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) recertification process "substantially less burdensome" and will lower FHA's owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace an existing policy on transfer fees with a less-restrictive model that has already been in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
This legislation offers relief to well-qualified potential homebuyers who have been facing tight housing inventories, rising home prices and strict mortgage credit underwriting guidelines, Salomone says.
"Condominiums often represent an affordable option that's just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers," Salomone said in a statement after the Senate approved the bill in July. "Overly burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers. This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans."
Source: Realtor Magazine
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