Feb. 25, 2013
Six years after the collapse of the housing market, the problems in housing remain as severe as ever, and solutions continue to be elusive.
Excessively strict underwriting standards, caused in part by uncertainty about the regulatory “rules of the road” for lenders, are blocking the path to homeownership for many creditworthy households and delaying a robust housing recovery.
More than four years after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship, our nation still lacks a clear vision for the future of housing finance, and the government holds a dominant — and unsustainable — position in the housing market, supporting more than 90 percent of single-family mortgages and roughly 65 percent of mortgages for rental properties.
With rental demand increasing and rents rising, many low-income households are forced to spend less on health care, nutritious food and other essentials in order to cover their housing expenses. Our nation’s most vulnerable households are squeezed even further as the supply of affordable rental homes and availability of federal rental assistance fall far short of demand.
These problems persist as profound demographic changes are transforming the country and our housing needs. The aging of the baby boomers, the formation of new households by millions of young echo boomers striking out on their own and the increasing diversity of the American population will present new challenges and opportunities for housing providers and policymakers.
We are privileged to serve as co-chairmen of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, a group of 21 Americans from diverse political and professional backgrounds who have spent the past 16 months examining these key issues in housing and seeking practical solutions. Today, we are releasing "Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy" — a report we hope will serve as a catalyst for action.
Read the full op-ed here