NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When President Obama unveils his plans for the housing market in Phoenix Tuesday afternoon, there will be a noticeable shift in his agenda.
With home prices now well off the bottom, there will be less talk of foreclosure prevention, principal reduction and loan modifications and he will likely stay away from Wall-Street bashing.
Instead, his focus will now be on long term goals, such as improving access to mortgage credit and building a sustainable housing finance system.
According to a housing plan released to reporters, the President will continue to push for a broader refinancing program that will provide relief for "responsible" homeowners with private mortgages who are underwater but current on their payments.But most of his focus will be on helping borrowers access mortgage credit, which has been scarcely available since the 2008 crisis. The President will call for greater clarity in mortgage regulations in order to encourage banks to lend to borrowers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already published its qualified mortgage rule, but until the qualified residential mortgage rule is written, the secondary market for all but the most pristine-quality mortgages will remain tight. Obama is also expected to support a new "Back to Work" initiative at the Federal Housing Administration that will allow borrowers who have been re-employed and have demonstrated strong payment histories in the past 12 months to qualify for a mortgage through the FHA, as opposed to the current waiting period of 3 years. Significantly, Obama is likely to share the Administration's vision for the future of the housing market. There has been very little talk of this from the White House, except for a white paper released in 2011, so this is a welcome change. The upshot is, the future housing finance system will be one with a far more limited role for the government. The President will call for the end of Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), the housing finance giants that went bust during the boom years leading to a $180-billion bailout in 2008.
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