Analysts now say the housing market is so weak it may not rebound in our lifetimes. Yet the White House is pursuing the same policies that put it on its back.
Worse, many of the officials it has put in charge of reviving the housing market are the same ones who crafted the fatal policies before the crisis. First, consider the latest data supporting a lost generation in housing:
• The average homeowner today has 7% equity in his home vs. 45% in 1990.
• Home prices in 20 major markets plunged 3.5% from a year earlier; adjusted for inflation, they're back to 1998 levels.
• The U.S. homeownership rate fell to a 16-year low of 65.4% in the first quarter.
• Homeownership for blacks, now at 43.1%, is the worst since 1995, when the government first launched its reckless housing policies in a national campaign to boost minority homeownership.
It was then, roughly a decade before the mortgage meltdown, that the Clinton administration declared traditional underwriting standards racist.
And it forced lenders to comply with new minority-friendly rules by threatening to charge them with lending discrimination. Or deny their expansion plans.
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