President’s State of the Union finally took on housing
Given the critical piece housing has played in the crushed economy and its continuing role in the potential for a recovery, all eyes were on the President last night, given that in his 2012 State of the Union address, he noted that leading up to the housing collapse in 2008, regulators looked the other way, which was progressive given that in his 2011 address, he didn’t allude to housing at all. Leading up to the State of the Union address, some speculated President Obama would gloss over housing yet again, but with a brand new speechwriter who used to write for President Kennedy, his tone was different, and whether you agree with his position or not, he finally addressed housing directly, and more than once.
The first mention of housing was early on in Obama’s speech. “Our housing market is healing and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before,” later noting that the nation has “cleared away the rubble of crisis,” and that the “state of the Union is strong.”
“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector,” the President said, touting progress in the decimated sector, but stating that the federal government needs to streamline rules that are keeping lending too tight, which he said is making home purchases and mortgage refinances too difficult for Americans who are legitimately creditworthy. “That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it.”
“Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates,” Obama said, contending that these housing bills should not be a partisan issue.
Additionally, the President revisited his ongoing initiative to rebuild communities hardest hit by the recession by creating high-tech hubs, incubating new businesses, and working with partners both public and private to rebuild vacant homes in “run down neighborhoods.”
National Association of Home Builders responds
Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said of the State of the Union address, “Extremely tight mortgage credit conditions are hampering the housing recovery and hurting job growth. The nation’s home builders were very pleased to hear President Obama acknowledge this fact when he said ‘too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected.’
Judson continued, “The President further noted that the housing sector must be involved in the rebuilding effort and we wholeheartedly agree. Building 100,000 homes creates 300,000 full-time jobs. With the right policies in place, housing can continue to lead the economy forward.”
Full State of the Union speech, as delivered:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.”
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.
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