Will the new FHFA director help improve home affordability?

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This is the seventh installment of HSH.com’s Think Tank series which features in-depth questions and answers from the nation’s top real estate professors and professionals.

“Prepare for the future of housing finance in the United States” – that’s one of four strategic goals the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) intends to reach in the next three years. With Mel Watt’s recent confirmation as director of the agency, we expect to see some changes in the mortgage lending industry – but will they actually make housing more affordable in the future?

We went to our distinguished panel of experts, professor Robert S. Sichel, J.D., L.L.M., professor of business law at Kennesaw State University, professor Kemberley Washington, CPA, professor of accounting at Dillard University, and Dr. Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D., faculty director at the Tibor and Shelia Hollo School of Real Estate to understand what policies Director Watt is likely to change and how those changes could affect the housing market, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Q: What changes at the FHFA do you expect under new leader Mel Watt?
Professor Robert S. Sichel, J.D., L.L.M., Attorney at Law
Professor of Business Law at Kennesaw State University

A: I expect to see a shift in policy from the goal of stabilizing the mortgage market from the lender’s perspective to a focus on addressing the difficulties existing on the borrower’s side of the market. The emphasis will shift from protecting the lenders to protecting borrowers. ...