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CoreLogic U.S. Housing Policy Update - The Candidates Start to Weigh In on Housing

April 2016

Faith Schwartz    |    Videos


Earlier this year I commented on the fact that no presidential candidate was talking about housing.I’m pleased to share that the topic of housing is just starting to get some traction. Hillary Clinton at least has now weighed in with some policy prescriptions, and Bernie Sanders used the Nevada caucuses to remind Hispanic voters of the impact of foreclosures in that community.

Even so, housing isn’t front and center in Clinton’s policy deck. Her pronouncements came during a speech on race relations in Harlem and are part of a larger economic development plan. It’s not yet that prominent on her campaign website either.

But when you do find it, Clinton’s plan is to spend $25 billion to “remove blight from neighborhoods, remove barriers to sustainable homeownership, and connect affordable housing to economic opportunity.” And it is being offered in the context of housing discrimination that has “excluded people of color from the mainstream mortgage market and cut families off from communities with high-performing schools, safe streets, and good-paying jobs.”

Distressed Sales Cont to Decline

Distressed Sales Cont to Decline

The National Association of Home Builders has applauded Clinton for bringing up housing. The Home Builders like the plan’s matches for down payment savings, emphasizing homeownership counseling and taking steps to improve credit availability for qualified borrowers. Her proposal calls for matching up to $10,000 of savings by those at or below median-area income to help with down payments. Another notable highlight is her idea to boost affordable rental housing with more Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a program that got its start during her husband’s presidency.

Sanders’ video showcases the most distressed of distressed Nevada housing with a soundtrack in both Spanish and English. His campaign said that foreclosures are still too high in the Silver State and that too many homeowners remain underwater on their mortgages.

In my last video blog I ticked off what I think are major housing concerns, both for homeownership and rental housing. These are the housing issues the eventual nominees, whoever they turn out to be, will have to address.

Resolving the decade-long quandary about what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is at the top of the list. This should include reducing the huge federal footprint in the homeownership business and putting private capital ahead of any taxpayer-funded losses. Clinton mentions holding government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) responsible for access to credit for underserved borrowers, but the specifics are thin. A related issue is the continuing tightness in rental markets that developed when ownership rates started to reverse at the time of the mortgage crisis.

Real leadership is required to resolve these essential problems. Hopefully more of the candidates will realize this and come forward to share their plans for addressing these important issues.Housing and shelter touch all of us, no matter where you live and no matter what your politics.

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