Monday, June 10, 2013

The next housing finance system should create access and affordability for all in America

by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference

Since financial crisis six years ago, the gears of government have ground slowly toward a replacement housing finance system. NHC offered our recommendations, as have many others, but much of the attention has focused on risks of default and prevention of another crisis. Recently, NHC joined with the Center for American Progress and National Council of La Raza in a paper calling for access and affordability to be central goals of the next housing finance system.

The basic principles are well established—the secondary mortgage market can encourage the primary market to offer safe, sustainable mortgage products to responsible borrowers that have been historically under-served by capital, and it can also make capital available reliably to finance affordable rental housing. The paper, “Making the Mortgage Market Work for America’s Families,” offers a concise objective: “By supporting these core values of access and affordability, the housing finance system can help provide access to credit, enable families to build wealth, build strong neighborhoods, and support both the local and national economy.”

Efforts towards mortgage finance reform are showing signs of movement in 2013, and multiple bipartisan bills are taking shape. Legislators need to hear from all of us that access and affordability are not only compatible with a sound housing finance system, but essential to its ongoing success.

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