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New HUD Head Castro Pushes Nationwide Homeownership

Robert Ottone
Sep 16, 2014

After joking that he’s older than his twin brother by a minute, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro launched into his speech before the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Summit. The new head of HUD put an emphasis on homeownership, as opposed to renting, while also praising the efforts of the bipartisan committees since he took office. He also discussed visiting New Orleans and Indiana to see schools built post-Katrina and to chat with veterans about housing issues. “Many of them are ready to own, but are being left out in the cold. The truth is that the dream of homeownership is out of reach for too many Americans. This has to change. Housing finance reform obviously represents an important step. A government-dominated market is unsustainable,” said Castro. It’ll be interesting if this speech leads to more discussion regarding the privatization of the housing industry. Castro also highlighted that many housing units are falling to the wayside courtesy of disrepair. He also celebrates the fact that home values are rising. However, it is quite evident that the young people in our nation aren’t making much money and have been stifled by regulations such as the qualified mortgage (QM) rule. In additon, statistics show that the Millenial generation has proven to favor renting over owning a home. “Secretary Castro, in his first major policy speech since taking over HUD, has reinforced the agency's desire to strengthen communities and achieve a healthy housing market. We welcome his invitation to work together and completely agree that we should be looking for ways to attract private capital back into the market, establish certainty for lenders and protect taxpayers for the future.,” said David H. Stevens, head of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). "We appreciate the work FHA has put into loan quality assessment technology. This is an important first step toward providing greater clarity to FHA lenders and we look forward to working with FHA to further this important process.” “And cities are the heart of regional economies—impacting suburban, rural and tribal areas—so it’s clear that creating thriving urban areas should be a top national priority. HUD has a unique role to play in this work, and we intend to make the most of it. I know I’ve mentioned a lot of program names and talked a lot about process,” said Castro. “But at the end of the day, we’re about people. And I will judge my tenure by one standard: How well did we spark opportunity for Americans?” National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Steve Brown stated, “By making access to affordable homeownership the cornerstone of his vision for the future of HUD, Secretary Julian Castro is proving himself to be dedicated to the values supported by Realtors® and hard-working families everywhere. NAR looks forward to working with Secretary Castro and HUD officials to fulfill his vision and refine FHA policies that ensure responsible borrowers are able to purchase homes at all stages of their lives.”
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