Presidential Candidates Mostly Silent on Plans to Rescue U.S. Housing

by 20 Sep 2012

(TheNicheReport) -- The polarizing personalities, careers and political vision of the two presidential hopefuls in 2012 have given political analysts and news pundits plenty to talk about. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and United States President Barack Obama are diametrically opposed with regard to several issues that American voters are very concerned about, but when it comes to housing they seem to find a common ground: Silence. 

The U.S. economy is consistently a foremost issue in most presidential elections. The housing market plays a major part in economic recovery, and thus far both candidates have been able to avoid going into depth about their plans to shore up housing. According to statements made to the Bloomberg financial news network by housing industry experts, the main reason for the candidates' silence on this issue can be traced to the difficulty of providing easy solutions.

No Silver Bullets

When President Obama assumed office, the housing market had already taken a beating and his cabinet and advisors knew that it would only get worse. Government programs designed to contain a flood of foreclosures were hastily implemented by the George W. Bush administration, but even the improvements to those programs by the new administration did not provide adequate relief. 

There have been only two periods of improvement during the Obama administration. One is the modest ongoing recovery of median home prices thanks to increased activity by real estate investors over the last few months. The other period ended in 2010 when the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit ran out. 

The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 was also considered a silver bullet at one point, but as of today there is no clear plan to give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the boost they need to stay afloat. President Obama has discussed the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) while campaigning. He intends to expand the program and ask Congress to consider injecting money directly into the neighborhoods that have seen the most damage from the downturn, but that fails to address the delinquent borrowers who do not qualify for HAMP.

Few Words from Romney 

Voters are familiar with President Obama's failed attempts at jump-starting the American housing market, but they have not heard much from his opponent. Mitt Romney once hinted that the housing market should be allowed to sort itself out, meaning that government intervention should no longer be pursued. He then changed his opinion and outlined a plan that pretty much mirrors the efforts currently undertaken by the White House. 

The Romney campaign has not been too clear on how to achieve the proposed plan, but there have been hints with regard to protection of taxpayers and supporting private capital as the foundation of the American housing market. In the meantime, grassroots organizations and community development groups are scrambling to provide both candidates with ideas they urgently need.


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