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Housing

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Urban Institute researchers monitor and assess housing market trends, affordable housing, homelessness, federal housing assistance, racial disparities and housing discrimination, and community revitalization. We recommended greater regulation and reforms for subprime mortgages before the housing market collapse and continue to follow its effects on families and neighborhoods. Our research informs decisionmakers with neighborhood-level data and evaluations of federal housing programs. Read more.

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Wealth in America: Policies to Support Mobility (Research Brief)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caleb Quakenbush, Caroline Ratcliffe, C. Eugene Steuerle

What role can policymakers play in helping families rebuild their balance sheets after the Great Recession and in helping young families, families of color, and those with less education who were falling behind even prior to it? This brief, based on a convening of nearly 25 national wealth-building experts, presents the facts and identifies four promising policy reforms: (1) providing universal children’s savings accounts; (2) reforming the mortgage interest deduction to better target incentives; (3) expanding access to retirement accounts and automatic enrollment; and (4) promoting emergency savings while addressing barriers such as asset tests in safety net programs.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Housing Finance At A Glance: A Monthly Chartbook: July 2014 (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman, Jim Parrott, Jun Zhu, Bing Bai, Pamela Lee, Taz George, Maia Woluchem, Alison Rincon

The July edition of At A Glance, HFPC’s reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes updated indicators related to credit availability, the state of the GSE portfolios, and the latest mortgage origination and housing market projections.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

VA Loans Outperform FHA Loans. Why? And What Can We Learn? (Commentary)
Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman, Jun Zhu

Veterans Administration (VA) loans have consistently performed better than Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. In this commentary, we take a closer look at both programs to identify why VA loans perform better. We conclude that the residual income test may be a critical differentiating factor and suggest that regulators evaluate whether the test might be a good supplement to FHA’s current assessment of a borrower’s ability to pay.

Posted to Web: July 16, 2014Publication Date: July 16, 2014

Housing Security in the Washington Region (Research Report)
Leah Hendey, Peter A. Tatian, Graham MacDonald

This study examines critical gaps in affordable housing across a range of income levels in the Washington, DC region. More permanent supportive housing is needed to reduce chronic homelessness. The lack of affordable apartments, particularly for extremely low income renters, contributed to the number of homeless people and resulted in over half of all renters paying over 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Low income homebuyers also faced challenges because of high prices. These findings can help local governments and philanthropy direct scarce public and private resources to address the region's affordable housing needs.

Posted to Web: July 15, 2014Publication Date: July 15, 2014

A Johnson-Crapo Dialogue (Discussion Papers)
Jim Parrott, Ellen Seidman, Laurie Goodman

Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman and Jim Parrott discuss the consensus that emerged around reform of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, the fault lines in the Senate negotiations, where reform stands now, and the likelihood and consequences of further action or inaction in the coming months.

Posted to Web: July 14, 2014Publication Date: July 14, 2014

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