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Industry Leaders Focus on Workforce Housing

Industry Leaders Focus on Workforce Housing

""Workforce Housing in the New Economy"" took center stage during a recent conference hosted by the ""University of Miami's"":http://www.miami.edu/ School of Business Administration, School of Architecture, and Office of Civil and Community Engagement.


Featuring expert commentary from past and present leaders for the ""Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD, the ""Bipartisan Policy Center"":http://bipartisanpolicy.org/, the ""Consumer Federation of America"":www.consumerfed.org/, and ""Habitat for Humanity"":www.habitat.org/, the Florida-based event provided insight into the policies, programs, and regulations that are impacting housing for U.S. workers.

Keynote speaker Barry Zigas, director of housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America, made a bold address, outlining five initiatives he would recommend to the next U.S. president, targeting solutions for the nation's housing recovery.

""We've got to move to make more credit available, on responsible terms. Not a return to sub-prime lending and an abandonment of underwriting principles, but the use of tried


and true underwriting principles that today have been tossed overboard in a terrible overreaction to the excesses in the market,"" Zigas stated.

Zigas went on to add that naming a permanent director of the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)"":www.fhfa.gov/, pushing strongly to pass the ""Federal Housing Administration (FHA)"":www.fha.gov/ refinance bill, moving aggressively to complete the restructuring of the mortgage financing system, and altering U.S. tax policies on home ownership and rental housing were central to stabilizing and growing the housing and mortgage industries around the country. Like many conference participants, Zigas also pointed out that softening the requirements for down payments might help instigate a stronger recovery.

Following his keynote speech, Zigas served on a separate panel, telling the audience, ""We have to find a way to enable people to buy homes with lower down payments than have traditionally been the case. Our reaction can't be 'Well gee, I saw low down payments was one of the features of a wave of tremendously terrible lending, therefore we should move back.'

""We should look back to the 1990s and the early 2000s, at example after example after example, of how well-underwritten, fully-documented, stable long-term financing, in which consumers bring some, but not an overwhelming amount of capital to the market, can be successful,"" Zigas concluded.

Other speakers contributing commentary at the conference included Alphonso Jackson, vice chairman of mortgage banking for ""JPMorgan Chase"":www.jpmorganchase.com/ and former secretary of HUD; Pam Patenaude, director of housing policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center; and former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

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