Looking at candidate perspectives

In determining which presidential candidate will be best as president, voters are focusing on their proposed plans to improve the economy, and to that end, bolstering the real estate market is key.


President Barack Obama wishes to prevent the mortgage practices that contributed to the housing crisis and enable responsible home buyers to get mortgages. His Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, believes a healthy economy will enable home ownership. Mr. Romney wishes to improve the economy by reducing “across the board” tax rates and streamlining rules. President Obama defends his health care reform while Mr. Romney seeks reforms through competition without government intervention.Mr. Romney believes in home ownership that can be achieved through employment and not regulations imposed on lenders. Mr. Romney stated: “We need policies such as 20% across-the-board cuts in tax rates, sensible regulation, and open markets that create a growing economy.”

The president believes home ownership is vital to economic opportunity and says he is committed to keeping responsible homeowners in their homes. He also wishes to see those responsible have home ownership. The president has stated that one of the policies he signed into law, an expansion of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, has helped 2.5 million families buy homes.

Further, President Obama claims that he enabled more than five million homeowners get mortgage modifications while expanding access to refinancing for others. The president is now proposing a plan to help responsible borrowers refinance their mortgages and save $3,000 a year.

With respect to tight lending policies by financial institutions, President Obama says he wants to restore trust in the mortgage markets. In this way, he believes uncertainty or risk will be minimized and lenders will make loans to borrowers. The president also believes lenders need to have policies and standards consistent with those of FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This explains why he wishes to work through FHA (which is the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to clarify lenders’ obligations in providing FHA-GSE backed loans. He also wishes to minimize the hurdles of refinancing for responsible borrowers and new mortgages.

On the other hand, Mr. Romney wishes to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. This act became effective on July 21, 2010, and is intended to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency of our financial system and to protect Americans by ending bailouts and abusive financial services practices. But Mr. Romney believes that this act is taking resources away from banks that should be applied to making loans.

Federal banking regulators are seeking to set minimum down payment amounts for mortgages and lending requirements. Mr. Romney has said he wants to encourage private markets to provide mortgages at affordable rates with “simple and understandable” terms and conditions for buyers.

President Obama is committed to Wall Street reform to prevent reckless lending by banks. He has said he wants banks to have “skin in the game” of lending and feels this can be done while giving access to responsible buyers. President Obama believes the middle class should have access to home ownership while the housing market recovers, stabilizes and becomes “robust.”

Given their perspectives, it is up to the voters to choose who is best.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected] or she may be reached directly at 203-249-2244.

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