Testifying at a Senate committee hearing this week, housing experts offered several suggestions for restructuring the U.S. housing finance system so that it relies more on private capital. Among them: ending government guarantees for jumbo mortgages and converting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into regulated cooperatives with a smaller role in mortgage financing.
Two economists at the University of Warwick in England have concluded that in areas where homeownership increases, the unemployment rate later rises sharply. The study argues that workers' sense of permanence in one location makes commutes longer as they change jobs but not homes. These areas have less-mobile workforces and are less hospitable to innovation and companies that would create jobs.
Just six of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns have met the requirements of the federal and state housing mandate of 10% affordable housing. "One of the problems with meeting the mandate and bringing municipalities into compliance is that there has been very little market-rate construction," said Kevin Flynn, associate director of Rhode Island Statewide Planning.
Texas budget writers plan to spend $134 million that the state received from a 2012 national foreclosure settlement on general budget expenditures, not housing-related programs. Housing advocates are criticizing the decision, which other states also have made.
An increasing proportion of working families in the U.S. are spending more than half their paychecks on housing costs, according to a report from the Center for Housing Policy. In Washington, D.C., however, the percentage of families in that category is shrinking.