Vol. XXXVII No. 2

Quantifying the Tightness of Mortgage Credit and Assessing Policy Actions

Abstract: This Article quantifies the dramatic tightening of mortgage credit that has occurred in the post-crisis period. It then describes the policy actions to loosen the credit box taken to date by both the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as well as those taken by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), concluding the FHA still has some important actions it has yet to undertake. Finally, the consequences of tight credit are discussed: namely, a lower home ownership rate, particularly among minorities, leaving many unable to access what has historically been the single most powerful vehicle to build wealth.

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