Housing Commission Blog

It would be a mistake to allow positive news to lull us all into a false sense of complacency
May. 14, 2013

It’s the $10 trillion question: “How do we move from the housing finance market of today, where almost all new single-family mortgage originations have some type of government support, to a future market far more reliant on the private provision of mortgage credit?

May. 1, 2013

Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic.

Guest posts are shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work.

Apr. 27, 2013

Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Housing downturn spurs a boom in foreclosure-to-rental conversions

By Brady Dennis

The Washington Post


"The real estate data firm CoreLogic estimated in a report this month that the burgeoning foreclosures-to-rental business could become a $100 billion industry this year as bigger investors get involved in hard-hit markets from Florida to California to Arizona to the Midwest." Read more here.

Apr. 23, 2013

Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Biggest X-Factor in the Housing Market? Where Baby Boomers Will Choose to Retire

By Nate Berg

The Atlantic

"America's aging population is already placing different demands on the housing market and affecting what developers will likely be focused on providing, according to Terry Holzheimer, director of economic development in Arlington County, Virginia. He's expecting to see more infill housing, more housing in areas that are walkable, and more pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods with high levels of services and amenities." Read more here.

While the track record has not been perfect, housing policy has traditionally been a bipartisan enterprise
Apr. 22, 2013

It has been nearly two months since the public release of the BPC Housing Commission report, and the overwhelmingly positive response we have received has been very gratifying. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to review the report and provide feedback on what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we may have missed. The commission’s work continues – we are fine-tuning our recommendations, drilling down deeper into some of the issues raised in our report, and examining new approaches to meeting America’s urgent housing needs.

BPC's Housing Commission has proposed a performance-based system for delivering rental assistance
Apr. 17, 2013

As a former HUD Secretary, I thought I would share some quick reflections on the 2014 budget proposed by President Obama as it relates to housing.

First, some context: According to HUD’s most recent findings, nearly 8.5 million unassisted lower-income households have “worst case” housing needs, meaning these households pay more than half of their income on rent or live in severely inadequate housing, or both. “Worst case” needs have grown 19 percent since 2009 and a staggering 43 percent since 2007. For those at the bottom of the income ladder, a major factor contributing to high housing costs is the great shortage of available and affordable rental units.

Properly structured mortgages can responsibly open the door to homeownership for families with modest wealth and incomes
Apr. 17, 2013

It is no secret that obtaining affordable mortgage credit for both home purchases and refinancing has become increasingly difficult for many low- and moderate-income families. High FICO scores, higher down payments, and more restrictive debt-to-income requirements are now the norm, even in today’s government-dominated market.

Apr. 10, 2013

Home Value Highest Since ’07 as U.S. Houses Make Cash

By Kathleen M. Howley


"An expanding group of homeowners is able to get cash from their properties as banks show more willingness to make home equity loans with the market’s recovery. Originations for the mortgages should rise 10 percent to almost $83 billion this year, from about $75 billion in 2012, said Shaun Richardson, a vice president at Icon Advisory Group, a mortgage analytics firm in Greensboro, North Carolina." Read more here.

Apr. 8, 2013

Performance-Based Management: An Important Tool in Tight Budgetary Times

By Barbara Sard

Among the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report, the highest priority for immediate action should be to evaluate the performance of administrators of all federal rental assistance programs based on outcomes. Why highlight something so seemingly bureaucratic? Because a shift to outcome-based performance measurement — if accompanied by real consequences for poor performance — is the most potent tool to ratchet up the effectiveness of current programs that is relatively low cost and largely within HUD’s control.

Counseling can help families decide whether they are prepared for the obligations of homeownership
Apr. 8, 2013

The BPC Housing Commission believes that counseling and education must be a central part of a more responsible approach to homeownership, particularly for first-time buyers.

I first learned about the benefits of housing counseling from NeighborWorks America, one of our country’s leading community development organizations. In 2007, then-Senator Dodd and I sponsored legislation supporting NeighborWorks’ efforts to help forestall foreclosure for struggling families.