ATLANTA/ Dec. 15, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) — As tax reform negotiations come to an end and a bill is finalized, Congress must shift toward reforming the nation’s unsustainable housing finance system, according to mortgage bankers across Georgia who say housing finance reform is the last piece of unfinished business from the 2008 financial crisis.
“The instability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a real concern for all Georgians and should be for all Americans, too,” said Fowler Williams, MBA State Ambassador and President and CEO of Crescent Mortgage Company. “With tax reform on its way to the President’s desk, Congress cannot wait any longer to address the housing finance system.”
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under government conservatorship – or legal guardianship – during the financial crisis in 2008. The move was intended to protect the U.S. housing system but instead resulted in a $187 billion taxpayer-funded government bailout. Nearly ten years later, these government-sponsored enterprises remain under the government’s control, monopolizing the mortgage system and creating an unsustainable market.
“Home values across Georgia have gone up 5.5 percent over the past year, and they’re expected to go up again within the next year. But that does not mean our housing market is strong,” Williams continued. “Affordable housing has become so sparse, even disappearing in some areas, that first-time homebuyers are being priced out of the neighborhoods where they want to live. We need a solution to address this current state of affairs.”
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the nation’s leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, has laid out a proposal to overhaul the current housing finance system. The plan aims to expand access to credit, promote affordable housing, and support underserved market segments.
“Democratic lawmakers, Republican lawmakers, and Administration officials all agree that the extended conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not sustainable,” said Williams. “Hopefully, after a long, partisan tax reform battle, lawmakers will shift their efforts to something with bipartisan support – housing finance reform.”