By Peter Ricci
The final presidential debate is tonight, and though the specific questions of the event remain a mystery, one thing is certain – housing policy will not be among the topics discussed. The final debate, as it turns out, will focus solely on foreign policy, so domestic issues such as housing policy will not be on the table.
So, with the presidential election a mere two weeks(!) away, we thought it appropriate to revisit what the candidates’ positions are on housing policy, and the three ways that their elections could impact both real estate and the housing market.
Housing Policy and the Presidential Election
1. Federal Financing – Regardless of who is elected, there will be reform to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the government-sponsored enterprise system. For much of 2012, the Obama White House has been slogging through different plans for GSE reform, but Romney’s plan for the GSEs (which he’s only vaguely alluded to) could be far more dramatic for one reason – Paul Ryan, his running mate, who had made it a central policy of his budget to privatize the GSEs.
2. Lending Standards – The Dodd-Frank regulatory bill has been one of the jewels in Obama’s reelection crown, and he would almost certainly pursue the policies of that legislation if elected to a second term; Romney, however, has repeatedly spoken out against the tighter lending restrictions of the bill, and he criticized the oft-mentioned “qualified mortgage” rule in his first debate with the president.
3. Deduct What, Again? – Oh yes; we couldn’t ge through a discussion of housing policy without mentioning the mortgage interest tax deduction, now could we? President Obama specifically voiced his support for the policy during his convention speech in Charlotte, while Governor Romney, in a closed-door meeting with supporters in April, said he would prohibit the deduction for second homes.
Since then, though, Romney has amended that policy, and he mentioned during the second debate a proposal to allow each family $25,000 for deductions, and then let them decide what deductions to apply the funds towards. Though Romney said during the debate that such a policy would not change the MID-scenario for homeowners, Trulia’s Jed Kolko has written persuasively on the possible affects of the housing policy.