By Zoe Eisenberg
With the real estate industry soaring hotter than an Arizona August, President Barack Obama visited Phoenix Tuesday to address the recovering state of the U.S. housing market.
The president, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix’s Ahwatukee area, said owning a home remains the cornerstone of the American Dream, but reforms are needed to make it possible for the middle class. The president outlined steps his administration has taken to shore up the housing market and added steps that would overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance system, including winding down the government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a plan that has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.
“For too long, these companies were allowed to make big profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag,” Obama said, also noting, “We’re not where we need to be yet. We have to help first-time home buyers. We’ve got to turn the page on this boom-bust housing cycle that got us into this mess in the first place.”
Obama said action needs to be taken to “make it easier for qualified buyers” to get houses. These included making the popular 30-year-fixed mortgage available to a larger pool of borrowers; he also tied in his plan for immigration reform, which he said will help the housing market and many aspects of the economy.
In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, NAR President Gary Thomas lauded the president’s remarks, citing their alignment with the trade group’s own outline for housing finance reform.
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