I’m sure I was not alone in hoping that the State of the Union speech featured some really solid plans and focus on the US housing market and the conundrum we’ve found ourselves in as real estate professionals. And while we’ve consistently reported stats that show the DC/Baltimore as one of the better markets in the US, we also know that all markets are hyper-local and, as a result, market activity can be uneven across the geography that MRIS covers. We also know that consumer confidence and the so-called “shadow” inventory of short sale to REO properties can and will have major impact on demand, prices and closings.
With this in mind, today’s news features an article by David Reilly of the Wall Street Journal. Reilly reports:
“So much for a grand housing plan. Going into the State of the Union, there were expectations President Obama could unveil sweeping initiatives related to foreclosures, mortgage refinancing or principal forgiveness. Instead there was a vague promise of legislation to enable ‘every responsible homeowner’ the chance to refinance at today’s low mortgage rates. Coming in an election year, that effort isn’t likely to amount to much. ‘Regardless of political appeal, housing support is not a Congressional priority for either side,’ FTN’s Jim Vogel said in a note Wednesday. ‘Priorities are taxes and jobs, and housing is too indirect.’
Full text of the article is here. WSJ subscription is required.
Clearly our leaders have decided to leave the housing market to its own devices. From my view and professional experience, calling housing “indirect” to the economy is not only inaccurate, but it shows a real disconnect with the economic factors and forces that really matter today.
If you were in President Obama’s position and made the speech, what would your initiatives be regarding housing?