Every voter should be concerned about housing!by Peter Miller
A new survey by Move,Inc. shows that almost 70 percent of all voters said housing will be an “important consideration” in the next election. The survey found that:
- Four out of five (81.7 percent) Americans consider housing to be a critical piece of our national economic recovery
- Nearly three quarters of Americans (73.1 percent) believe conditions for buying a home a year from now will be the same or worse than today
- Just under a quarter (23.2 percent) expects homebuying conditions will be better
It’s hard to say what such results will mean for current and future politicians, but the results of this survey do seem to indicate that Americans will be voting with housing issues in mind.
You can bet that upcoming politicall debates will involve back-and-forth disputes over such issues as how to absorb the backlog of distressed real estate, increase home prices, reduce foreclosures, and expand the availability of credit.
HARP: A much needed update
A great example of the need to improve housing and the need to do so before the upcoming election, is the recent expansion of the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).
HARP was designed to give current borrowers with little to negative equity the chance to refinance to current mortgage rates. Under the original plan, borrowers could be as much 25 percent underwater and still qualify. Unfortunately, it quickly became obvious that lenders weren’t all that interested in refinancing homeowners under this program.
The enhanced program not only allows borrowers to refinance no matter how underwater they are, it’s striving to eliminate certain lender obligations which put them on the hook when a loan goes bad, shifting the responsibility from the lender to the government.
Too much political involvement?
The government’s increased role in HARP 2.0 transitions nicely into another facet of the Move,Inc. survey: government participation. The survey found that:
- One in three Americans (31 percent) said the government’s role in housing should remain the same as it is today, while one in five (21.3 percent) said it should be increased
- Forty-two percent said government’s role in housing should be reduced, especially Americans ages 35 to 64 (56.7 percent)
- Just over two-thirds (67.4 percent) of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) said the president and Congress should reduce or keep the role of government in housing the same
The level of government involvement in housing is a key component in determining how certain housing issues will be resolved. Do you believe the government should continue to expand the programs—like HARP and HAMP—they created and institute more tax credits, or are you of the opinion that the government needs to step back and let the markets correct themselves?
Those opinions will certainly be revealed come election time.
Housing should be an issue for every voter
If nothing else, the Move survey is curious because it reports that 69.6 percent of all potential voters view housing as an important consideration in the next presidential election. Only 69.6 percent!
Why didn’t 100 percent of respondents see housing as a major issue in the next presidential election? If voters really stop and think about it, the nation’s housing issues are at the center of the financial crisis, and have only expounded the unemployment crisis and lack of economic growth this country is experiencing.
Why 100 percent, or nearly 100 percent, of all voters did not see housing issues as a core problem concerning the upcoming presidential election is difficult to believe.