Taking Suggestions

The White House wants our input on how to overhaul the nation’s $11-Trillion mortgage market.  Through the Office of the Federal Register, the administration will be asking the public to provide comments to questions regarding the futures of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the broader U.S. housing-finance system.

While there is currently no specific legislation to address the challenges of each, the open-ended questions proposed are thought provoking.  The expected questions will include:

  • How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?
  • What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?
  • Should the government approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how?
  • How should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?
  • How should the housing finance system support sound market practices?
  • What is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?
  • Do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform US reform choices?

Regardless of your political point of view and your thoughts on what happened in the past, truly thinking about these questions and providing answers under the auspices of what is right for the collective good of America is a brain teaser. And before you consider answering these questions, also include a few other macro-economic points to ponder:

  • Foreclosures are up nationally.
    • RealtyTrac Inc. states that the number of U.S. homes taken over by banks jumped 35 percent in the first quarter from a year ago.
  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance are up.
    • Claims rose by 24,000 to 484,000 in the week ending April 10.
  • However, manufacturing results came in much higher than expected.
    • A reading of 31.8 versus last months of 22.9 (readings above 0 suggest expansion).
  • Benchmark Treasury yields rose and mortgage backed security prices fell (which means mortgage rates raised ever so slightly) based on additional positive economic data.

So, how would you answer these expected questions from our administration?

For me, while I can (and will) provide my comments when the questions hit the airwaves (blogwaves?), the immediate answer is to just keep selling.

No matter what happens, I/we need to continue to take advantage of whatever the market throws our way and help our buyers/sellers/potential new franchisees be in a better place tomorrow than they are today.

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