Focus on Housing

Focus on Housing

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In an October 5 commentary, Harvard economist Ed Glaeser recommended that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be converted from quasi-private organizations into completely government owned and operated agencies.

An October 1 study from the Urban Institute examined the impact of the housing crisis on state and local governments.

On September 16, the Congressional Budget Office released a new estimate of the budgetary impact of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government’s two principal housing finance agencies.

In a September 8 commentary, Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz criticized government efforts to prop up the housing market because they are preventing a necessary readjustment.

On August 19, the Census Bureau released the American Housing Survey for 2009. Among the findings: homeowners paid about $1,000/month for housing while renters paid $800, but renters paid a higher percentage of their income.

In an August 17 interview, economist Dean Baker criticized the Obama administration’s housing policies. He estimates that homeowners have lost $6 trillion in wealth due to the fall in housing prices.

An August 16 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston looked at analyses of the housing market before the crash. It notes that many of those accurately forecasting a bubble did so well before the market peaked and thus lost credibility even though they were right.

In an August 12 paper, economists Christian Hilber and Tracy Turner examine the impact of the mortgage interest deduction on homeownership. They find that the impact is modest because the value of the deduction is capitalized into housing prices.

A July working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research examined two common explanations for the sharp rise in real housing prices between 1996 and 2006: low interest rates and permissive mortgage approvals. Neither explains more than a small part of the rise in housing prices.

I last posted items on this topic on June 16.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.