Obama has done a lot of things during the course of his presidency. But love him or hate him, should he get credit for saving the housing market?
My take is that housing has been a back burner issue for the president, with the HAMP program aimed at keeping homeowners out of foreclosure too often degenerating into a bureaucratic nightmare.
Also, I would be careful boasting about the current housing market as some sort of great success story - the rapid run-up in prices over the past year or two has once again pushed homes out of the reach of many middle class buyers, especially in "hot" markets like Boston, San Francisco and New York.
The Federal Reserve has been all too successful in its multitrillion-dollar campaign to re-inflate housing prices. And the jury is still out on whether this will stabilize the market in the long-term or simply create another bubble.
But for obvious reasons the public relations crew over at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sees things a bit differently.
HUD just sent out a rather cheery press release to announce the kick off "national homeownership month," complete with some glowing words about the president's oh-so-wonderful work on housing.
When President Obama took office in 2009, the nation's housing market was in free-fall, leaving many families trapped and anxious about their mortgages. Today, the housing market is in recovery as homeowner equity is more than $10 trillion, foreclosure starts are at their lowest levels since 2005, and American families are on pace to purchase more than five million homes this year.
No matter that the homeownership rate has fallen 69 percent in 2005 to 64.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014. During Obama's time in office, there free fall has continued, with the homeownership rate standing at 67.3 percent when he took office in early 2009, Census figures show.
Yes, I guess it could be a lot worse right now, but hardly seems like there's a lot of celebrate right now.
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