A day after President Obama outlined a series of policies aimed at boosting the housing market, he answered questions from homeowners and renters in a live Q&A session with real estate Web site Zillow. Here’s a roundup of questions from social media, with answers to some of them from Wonkblog’s Lydia DePillis.
Questions were sent in on Twitter using the hashtag #AskObamaHousing.
Making homeownership affordable was one of the top concerns.
How do you plan to make mortgages available to low-income, credit challenged borrowers in the absence of F&F #AskObamaHousing
— Terrance (@publiusterrance) August 7, 2013
#askobamahousing confiscatory tax rates for incomes <$40k are part of the problem. Why not remove that burden from the lower class?
— Scot Henk (@revord10) August 7, 2013
Affordable housing policies are often urban focused. What programs would ensure affordability in rural & underserved areas?#AskObamaHousing
— Athens County RPC (@AthensCountyRPC) August 7, 2013
President Obama’s policy: Obama wants financial institutions to pay a small assessment on mortgage-backed securities that will support low-income housing. That approach would replace explicit goals for lending to poor people, which is upsetting to some advocates.
Others asked about incentives to encourage first-time home buyers and young renters.
Has the administration explored the possibility of incentivizing home ownership through student loan forgiveness? #askobamahousing
— Randall. (@JRC_) August 7, 2013
— GreenliningInstitute (@Greenlining) August 7, 2013
President Obama’s policy: At his speech [in Phoenix on Tuesday], Obama spent precious little time talking about the third of Americans who rent their homes, and may do so forever. The fact sheet touts several existing programs, urges Congress to pass a budget that invests in affordable rental housing, requests that the new housing finance system support multifamily development, and expresses a hope that local governments can reduce barriers to housing construction.
Watch Obama’s response to a question from a young graduate who still lives with his parents because he cannot afford housing:
And here are some questions President Obama didn’t get to:
My housing question for Obama: Are high prices good or is affordable housing good? #AskObamaHousing
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 7, 2013
#AskObamaHousing Do you really believe that lending practices should be changed so that everyone can buy a house even if they can’t afford?
— Lewis Perez (@LewisPerez) August 7, 2013
— Andrea Romero (@AxisOfAndrea) August 7, 2013
Given Fannie and Freddie’s share of the mortgage market, do u have plans to incent private lenders to encourage lending? #AskObamaHousing
— Matt Gentile (@MattGentile) August 7, 2013
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 7, 2013
— Brian Bolan (@bbolan1) August 7, 2013
Finally, Obama said he would push for reform in Congress before the end of 2013.