Housing Takes on Immediate Political Impact, Will Action Follow?

Although there was no need for further evidence that campaign season has begun, today’s Senate Banking housing hearing surely confirmed it.  Chair Brown (D-OH) used his opening statement and virtually all of his questioning to focus on Ohio-specific issues; GOP senators argued forcefully that Biden Administration policies reduce housing supply and hike unaffordability.  Sen. Brown talked about the need for legislation in several instances, but it remains to be seen if he plans near-term action on a specific proposal.  Perhaps hoping for this, Sen. Cortez-Masto (D-NV) questioned FHFA Director Thompson about Home Loan Bank mission compliance, pressing colleagues to support a bill she introduced in the last Congress to double the System’s affordable-housing obligation and alter other aspects of their operations.  Sandra Thompson announced that FHFA this year will issue proposals to address the Banks’ mission and “streamline” AHP activities – she did not say how – as well as sharply constrain insurance-company members with a new, ongoing requirement for mortgage-finance activities.