Back in the 1990s during the Clinton administration, the U.S. housing policy seemed to assume that more homeownership was always better.
The Clinton administration even launched the “National Homeownership Strategy,” whose stated goal was to “attempt to help all American households become homeowners.” If I’m not mistaken our Massachusetts Rep Barney Frank was a big advocate of this homeownership initiative.
Why am I bringing up housing policies of the past? I just find it striking how the concept and the importance of owning your own home is no longer the American dream, well at least not to our government. Check out the newest version of the housing finance report from the Obama administration which can be summed up simply: not everybody should own a home.
The Administration believes that we must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that Americans have access to an adequate range of affordable housing options. This does not mean all Americans should become homeowners. Instead, we should make sure that all Americans who have the credit history, financial capacity, and desire to own a home have the opportunity to take that step. At the same time, we should ensure that there are a range of affordable options for the 100 million Americans who rent, whether they do so by choice or necessity.
I actually agree with this new policy over Clinton’s. I don’t think it the government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans should have homeownership. However, I still think at least in the short run, we still need Fannie and Freddie. If we abolish these entities I think Boston real estate market and national home prices would tumble, this would be bad for those owning a home or planning to sell. If you’re a potential home buyer, I don’t think abolishing Fannie and Freddie well help you either. Why? I think it would be nearly impossible for new buyers to get 30 year fixed loans relying solely on the private sector, especially at these current interest rates.
Am I off base on this? What are your thoughts?