Housing Finance

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Covering a housing or banking story today? Here’s the latest from the experts on the AEI financial services team.

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AEI’s Edward J. Pinto presents documents from the FHA’s first five, formative years, and housing experts discuss.

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The Wealth Building Home Loan was designed to serve the twin goals of providing a broad range of home buyers a more reliable and effective means of building wealth without relying on home price appreciation, while maintaining buying power similar to a 30-year loan. But how does the it help borrowers reliably build wealth?

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AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk releases a new objective and transparent measure of the first-time buyer share and the riskiness of first-time buyer mortgages.

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To meet HUD quotas for mortgages to borrowers at or below the median income where they lived, Fannie and Freddie bought riskier mortgages, even if these mortgages were cash-out refinances.

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Federal policy often tilts the playing field, picks winners and losers, and rewards well-connected insiders, contributing to the public perception that the ‘game’ is rigged and harming economic growth. AEI scholars have identified a few policy changes that lawmakers can pursue if they want to combat cronyism and corporate welfare.

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In reality, the government spends a lot of its time trying to hide the real costs of what it is doing from the people who will ultimately pay them. This is particularly true in housing policy.

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What do the election results portend for the reform of Fannie and Freddie? Experts will discuss what could and should happen with housing finance reform in the new Congress.

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The fact that the government is once more trying to reduce underwriting standards, in order to sell more homes, shows clearly that the lessons of the financial crisis are again being ignored. Taxpayers should ask themselves why they just stand by and let this happen.

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Seven years after the housing bubble burst, federal regulators backed away this month from the tougher mortgage-underwriting standards that the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 had directed them to develop. New standards were supposed to raise the quality of the “prime” mortgages that get packaged and sold to investors; instead, they will have the opposite effect.

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Housing policy needs to be refocused on strengthening household balance sheets, especially by making borrowers more resilient to home price declines. The new Wealth Building Home Loan developed at the American Enterprise Institute does exactly that.

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The release of data on mortgage originations collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act has given rise to a number of articles that cite “racial disparities” in loan denial and approval rates. But do these numbers represent differences arising from the application of consistent credit standards to various groups, or are they disparities that arise from inconsistent credit standards? From the data as required by and reported under the HMDA, you cannot know the answer.

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