Experts Weigh In On National Housing Policy

by Shilpi Paul

Experts Weigh In On National Housing Policy: Figure 1

As part of Zillow’s recent conference, “America’s Housing Crisis” the real estate website posed one question to a series of experts: If you were President Obama, what would you have done differently in regard to housing policy over the past couple years? The experts ranged from economists to think tank fellows to executives, and here are a few of the answers that they offered:

Jason Gold, Progressive Policy Institute, senior fellow: “I would have taken a different approach to the temporary 2009 “First Time Home buyer (FTHB) Tax Credit.” We need a fundamental shift away from the debt-driven relationship we have had with home-ownership in the past. I would have encouraged saving for FTHB’s through the tax code. My colleague, Anne Kim and I, proposed just such a policy concept with the creation of the ”HomeK”, a down payment savings account for FTHB within the 401k. This allows FTHB to save pre-tax for a down payment at the same time they are saving for retirement.”

Stan Humphries, Zillow, chief economist: “I would not have instituted the federal homebuyer tax credit. This wasted $30 billion simply pulling demand forward. It also made the market appear more stable than it was in reality and, thus, delayed the timing of the true bottom in home values. [Also], I would have implemented a streamlined refinancing program that applied to all mortgages, not just Fannie, Freddie and FHA mortgages. Obama can’t do this now because it would require congressional action, but he could have done it in 2009 when Democrats controlled both sides of Congress.”

Christopher J. Mayer, Columbia Business School, Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate: “The goals of policy should have been three-fold: return mortgage markets to their normal functioning level, reduce as many “preventable” foreclosures as possible while maintaining incentives for home owners to pay the mortgage, and return private capital to the housing market.

You can find all the answers here.

See other articles related to: zillow, policy, obama, housing policy

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/experts_weigh_in_on_national_housing_policy/5391

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