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What We're Reading in Housing: September 17

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.

What We’re Reading posts now include a compilation of useful links in the Housing Visualized section below. These resources offer the latest economic indicators, expert insight, and statistical trends related to the U.S. housing market.

For the latest look at BPC’s Housing by the Numbers indicators dashboard, click here.

Housing Visualized

2010 Census l Mapping the Census l Housing Market Indicators

Infographic: Household Formation Gap l Who Gains Most From Tax Breaks

Infographic: Housing’s Economic Impact l Measuring Economic Mobility

Past Commissions and Reports l Trulia’s Housing Barometer

Credit Conditions l U.S. Housing Summary l Changes in Home Prices

Wells Fargo Monthly Economic Outlook l WF Real Estate & Housing Reports


NAR calls for easier mortgage lending

By Kerri Ann Panchuk


“Regulators and lenders could spur the creation of 250,000 to 350,000 jobs by easing tight lending standards that are causing an overcorrection in the space, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. If there is one complaint NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun gets the most from Realtors, it’s that the mortgage market is too tight with 53% of August loans going to borrowers with credit scores above 740, according to NAR survey data.” Read more here.

The Cheapest Generation

By Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann

The Atlantic

“According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, between 2006 and 2011, the homeownership rate among adults younger than 35 fell by 12 percent, and nearly 2 million more of them—the equivalent of Houston’s population—were living with their parents, as a result of the recession. The ownership society has been overrun by renters and squatters.” Read more here.

How the presidential election affects the real estate market

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis

The Washington Post

“Whether you prefer President Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney, there’s no denying that the next president’s economic and employment policies will be a key driver of the health of real estate for the next four years, not to mention the price of a mortgage. His policies will influence whether you can afford to buy a house or the amount of profit or loss you can expect from selling your house.” Read more here.

Foreclosures Leave Holes In Voter Outreach

By Corey Dade


“Today, three of the eight states with the highest foreclosure rates are presidential battlegrounds: Florida, Ohio and Nevada. Candidate Barack Obama won these states in 2008, but voter frustrations about his economic policies have since led each state to elect Republican governors… African-Americans and Latinos, two groups whose turnout is critical to Obama’s chances, have lost homes to foreclosure at disproportionately higher rates, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.” Read more here.

Home Builders Don’t Have Enough Workers to Meet New Demand

By Diana Olick


“After losing 70 percent of their business in the housing crash, the nation’s home builders are breaking ground again. New orders for homes are rebounding strongly, and housing starts have shown sustained growth over the past year. The demand is there; unfortunately, in some areas, the workers to build these homes are not.” Read more here.

Why the Candidates Aren’t Talking About Housing

By Nick Timiraos

The Wall Street Journal

“Mr. Obama has learned how difficult the housing problem is to fix, while Mr. Romney has discovered how hard it is to talk about in a sound-byte-driven campaign cycle. In short, housing doesn’t fit easily onto a bumper sticker. At least until next month’s presidential debates, a serious discussion may have to wait.” Read more here.

Shrinking Freddie, Fannie worries some

By Abha Bhattarai

The Washington Post

“Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages could be harder to find as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wind down, potentially forcing more borrowers to turn to short-term mortgages and variable interest rate loans, according to local community banks and credit unions.” Read more here.

How Will Boomers Reshape U.S. Cities?

By Ryan Holeywell


“Gone are the days when retiring meant packing up and moving to adults-only communities in Arizona or Florida, says Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of AARP’s state and national group. Surveys by her organization indicate that 84 percent of baby boomers plan on staying in their current homes as they age, she says, some because they want to, and others because they can’t afford to move. Those empty nesters who do move may be more interested in relocating to smaller apartments in connected urban centers than to retirement golf-course communities.” Read more here.

Assessing Fannie’s Past and Future

By James R. Hagerty

The Wall Street Journal

“Four years ago almost to the day, the Bush administration seized control of the two companies amid staggering losses on millions of mortgages they owned or guaranteed. So far, the Treasury has pumped about $142 billion into Fannie and Freddie to prop them up.” Read more here.

Quote of the Day

“In short, housing doesn’t fit easily onto a bumper sticker.”

Multifamily Construction, Vacancies Show Strength in Second Quarter

By Lew Sichelman

Urban Land Magazine

“Two key apartment market indicators from the National Association of Home Builders… show continued improvement through the second quarter, and experts said they are optimistic that a recovery is gaining traction. The statistics showed an increase in production and a continued drop in vacancy rates.” Read more here.

Regulator Vows New Rules to Repair Mortgage Markets

By Nick Timiraos

The Wall Street Journal

“In a move aimed at making it easier for consumers to get mortgages, the federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Monday the mortgage giants would address a big controversy of the housing bust: who gets stuck with bad loans. Fannie and Freddie have forced banks to repurchase billions of mortgages that have defaulted over the past few years. To protect themselves from facing similar demands, banks have raised their lending standards beyond what the two mortgage companies require, scrutinized appraisals, and demanded extensive documentation of a borrower’s income and assets.” Read more here.

Freddie Mac: Rising energy prices challenge housing recovery

By Kerri Ann Panchuk


“Energy costs soared on Labor Day reaching a level that is just 25 cents under the 2008 peak, threatening the strength of the housing recovery, Freddie Mac said. Skyrocketing fuel expenses generally force consumers to reduce spending in other areas, creating negative outlier effects for the entire economy and possibly housing, Freddie noted in its September 2012 economic outlook.” Read more here.

Foreclosure Fail: Study Pins Blame on Big Banks

By Paul Kiel


“As a result of banks’ disorganization and understaffing — particularly at the peak of the crisis in 2009 and 2010 — homeowners were often forced to run a gauntlet of confusion, delays, and errors when seeking a mortgage modification. But while evidence of these problems was pervasive, it was always hard to quantify the damage. Just how many more people could have qualified under the administration’s mortgage modification program if the banks had done a better job? In other words, how many people have been pushed toward foreclosure unnecessarily?” Read more here.

2012-09-17 00:00:00

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