Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries sat down with Barry Zigas, director of housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America and a commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission, to discuss the BPC's plan for housing finance reform. A video of this discussion, entitled "Zillow Presents: Discussing Housing Finance Reform Options with Barry Zigas of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, Facilitated by Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries," is now available on the Zillow Blog.
In February, the BPC released "Housing America's Future: New Directions for National Policy," a report detailing the key components of a resilient U.S. housing system, including a detailed proposal for reforming the housing finance system currently dominated by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Under the BPC plan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be replaced by a single public guarantor, responsible for providing a limited government guarantee on pools of mortgages sold to investors, known as securities. The plan aims to provide significant taxpayer protection while assuring that creditworthy consumers have continued access to an affordable mortgage market.
"Months before more recent legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seeking GSE reform, the Bipartisan Policy Center was out in front with its own detailed plan for housing finance reform, helping to start and build momentum around this all-important policy discussion," Humphries said. "It's critical that consumers are aware of and understand the various plans put forward for changing the way mortgage finance works in this country, and I'm very pleased Zillow is able to help keep the conversation going. As the housing market continues to improve, it's critical that we move beyond the stopgap solutions put into place during the housing recession and create a permanent and sustainable mortgage finance system that restores more balance between public and private credit risk."
The Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission is co-chaired by BPC co-founder and former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, former Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond, former Sen. and HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and includes 17 other individuals from diverse professional and political backgrounds.
In August, Zillow hosted President Barack Obama to discuss housing issues, and the president answered questions directly from consumers submitted via social media, including a number focused on GSE reform. Last month, Humphries also sat down with Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., co-sponsors of Senate Bill 1217, legislation also looking to tackle GSE reform. Video of both events is also available on Zillow.