A Guide to Housing Finance Reform

A "for sale" sign hangs in front of a house in Walpole, Massachusetts, Wednesday, September 18, 2013.

Five years after mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under the control of the federal government, our country’s conversation about housing policy and the government’s role in the mortgage market is finally moving forward.

The outcomes of this conversation will shape our country and economy for decades to come. The reform choices we make now could provide credit to a broad and diverse population, increase the supply of affordable apartments, and result in a larger, more stable housing market. Or they could create an environment in which credit and housing choices are more costly, more limited, and less sustainable, especially for minority and low- and moderate-income households and communities.

These choices are sometimes quite technical, but they have profound consequences for the future strength of our economy, housing market, and the opportunities for millions of families. To promote a better-informed, richer discussion, the CAP Housing Team has developed four fact sheets that explain the federal government’s current role in housing finance, recommend core principles for reform, and provide basic information on some technical issues:

As these fact sheets explain, key questions include how to structure the government’s role in the system, ensure standardization, support affordable housing, and ensure access to affordable and sustainable credit for all communities and creditworthy borrowers. The choices to be made are complex, but it is imperative that policymakers get them right.

In addition to these fact sheets, we have produced a number of publications that provide more in-depth information about housing finance reform and our recommendations: