Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 21, 2013

Reiss on Federal Housing Policy

By David Reiss

Law360 ran a story on President Obama’s vision for America’s housing policy and asked for my reaction:

For a piece of mortgage-related legislation to have any chance of passing, it has to require that a borrower pay some kind of down payment so as to remain responsible for at least a small amount of risk, said David Reiss, a professor of real estate and consumer financial services law at Brooklyn Law School.

“What we’ve seen fail pretty consistently is [legislation in which] the homeowner has no skin in the game at all,” and is allowed to obtain a loan — often backed by the government — without putting down a cent, he said.

While this type of policy may help more Americans become homeowners, it does little to fix the housing finance system, which needs a major overhaul, according to Reiss.

“This is the time to reset the market in a rational way, where private lenders make responsible loans because they are doing responsible underwriting,” he said. “Setting up the framework for that should be happening now, even though right now government lending in the residential sector is really the dominant form of lending.”

The rest of the story is here (behind a paywall).

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