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MBA's Stevens pushes for housing-director post

Mortgage Bankers Association President David Stevens has made another pitch for the creation of a cabinet-level post to guide housing policy in the next administration.

“I feel we are on the front edge of what is going to be a very significant housing crisis,” Stevens said in an MBA webcast.  

David StevensHe said a dedicated cabinet-level housing specialist is needed in the next administration to navigate through a web of federal and state-level regulations, and help ease the impediments to solving problems. Stevens cited as major problems the high cost for apartment rents and entry-level housing for buyers, delayed buying by the younger generation and overlapping regulations that have made it harder for builders to construct affordable homes.  

“This can only be done out of the White House,” Stevens said. He noted that housing represents about a fifth of the nation’s economy.

“It should be one of the top five economic platforms of any president’s agenda,” Stevens said.  

Stevens oversaw the Federal Housing Administration loan programs for just under two years during the Obama Administration’s first term as assistant secretary for housing and federal housing commissioner for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has previously called for the creation of a housing-policy director, but has not endorsed any candidate.  

The next administration should shift its focus on housing policy away from the rule making and enforcement that has dominated the post-recession era, Stevens said.

“We spent eight years focused on the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression,” Stevens said. “The focus of that administration was on making sure we protect the people and families in their homes, make sure the rules get right, that we don’t ever repeat the past, and they have been focused on enforcement.

“The next administration needs to change the dialogue in the way that President Reagan and President Clinton, and most presidents, have focused on housing," he continued.  


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