In an effort to advance housing finance reform that will provide certainty and stability to the nation’s financial markets and promote job and economic growth, NAHB has updated its 2012 white paper on this key housing issue.
Why Housing Matters: A Comprehensive Framework for Housing Finance System Reform reflects market developments since 2012 and retains the central tenet of NAHB’s housing finance system reform policy – the creation of a new securitization system for conventional mortgages backed by private capital and a privately funded mortgage-backed insurance fund with a federal government backstop in the event of catastrophic circumstances.
NAHB supports comprehensive finance reform based on the bipartisan Johnson-Crapo bill (S. 1217) approved by the Senate Banking Committee in the last Congress that would gradually transition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a private-sector-oriented system, where the federal government’s role is clear, but its exposure is limited.
The home building industry’s ability to meet the demand for housing and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth depends on an efficient housing finance system. However, years after the fact, home buyers and builders continue to confront challenging credit conditions triggered by an overzealous regulatory response to the Great Recession.
While there are many reasons Congress and federal regulators must tackle housing finance reform, some stand out as compelling:
  1. The Housing Act of 1949 pledged a “decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.” That principle remains a bedrock for Americans, although delivering on the promise is more difficult in 2015 and beyond.
  2. Homeownership has been the most effective step on the ladder into the middle class and to create wealth for most Americans since the 1950s, and continues to fill that role while also fulfilling the promise of the Housing Act of 1949.
  3. Housing is “made in America.” The jobs that home building creates cannot be shipped overseas. Most of the products used in home construction are manufactured here in the U.S. and directly correlate to American manufacturing jobs at all levels.
  4. A reformed national housing finance policy supports the Housing Act of 1949’s goals. Equally important, fixing an inefficient housing finance system that lacks effective financial safeguards for the nation’s housing and mortgage markets will markedly reduce the probability of triggering another catastrophic Great Recession.
NAHB will continue to work diligently with policymakers to advance housing finance reform that will maintain an appropriate level of government support to preserve financial stability, encourage private capital back into the marketplace and ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing.