Reforming real estate finance

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Every few years, some members of Congress say they would like to see the functions of the Federal Housing Administration taken out of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and put into the private sector.

The historical HUD response has been that privatization would dramatically constrain the helpful programs that meet the needs of first-time homebuyers, low- and moderate-income families, and minorities. The FHA's reason for being is to make housing more available through loan guarantee and insurance programs.

A study presented last week in the nation's capital takes the concept even further. It proposes taking the government out of all housing finance, including the elimination of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In a recent white paper, "Taking the Government Out of Housing Finance: Principles for Reforming the Housing Finance Market," conservative think tank American En...