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Romney Housing Plan Appears, But Does it Lack Specifics?

by Chicago Agent

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Mitt Romney has released an official housing plan on his campaign website; how does it compare with the housing policies of Barack Obama?

By Peter Ricci

For months, real estate professionals and trade groups alike have bemoaned the lack of housing-related policies on the presidential campaign trail, and it seems Mitt Romney has taken consideration of those criticisms to heart in devoting a new page on his campaign website to a housing plan – though agents may end up hoping for more specifics.

The Romney Housing Plan

The goals of the Romney housing plan are as follows:

  • “Responsibly” sell the 200,000 or so REO properties the government currently owns.
  • Offer foreclosure alternatives for delinquent borrowers.
  • Repare the credit markets with “smart regulation” that holds banks accountable and does away with complex regulations.
  • Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to protect taxpayers from future bailouts.

Searching for Specifics?

Following Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice president, we asked what his nomination would indicate for the government’s housing policy, and though Romney’s housing plan covers a wide set of housing topics, it does not seem very specific in how it would correct those problems, which is something HousingWireMarketWatch and other news outlets have pointed out.

For instance, regarding the government’s REO properties, here how the housing plan elaborates upon Romney’s goal to sell those distressed housing units: “Mitt Romney will responsibly get the government out of the homeownership business and return these vacant homes to productive uses that will increase neighboring home values.”

Interestingly, Romney’s housing plan for Fannie and Freddie borrows none of the language in Paul Ryan’s oft-quoted budget proposal that he released in 2011 as head of the House Budget Committee. Though Ryan’s plan called for privatizing the GSEs, all Romney’s plan says is, “Mitt Romney will reform these government-sponsored companies to protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by ensuring taxpayer dollars in the housing market are replaced with private dollars.”

President Obama recently reaffirmed his commitment to a new government-led refinancing plan; do you think Romney’s housing plan matches that of his Democratic rival?

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