From Ownership to Rentership Without Leaving Debtorship

The Boston Globe certifies the death of something that may never have been alive: President George W. Bush's "ownership society."

Reporting on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan's decision to spend $4.25 billion in ARRA funds on construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and purchases of foreclosed homes, Globe reporter Joseph Williams wheels in analysts to support the thesis that President Obama is taking "a wrecking ball to Bush's heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities."

Meanwhile, HUD's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), part of the department's $75 billion Making Home Affordable initiative, has now succeeded [pdf] in keeping 235,247 homes from coming onto the market.

So with one hand, HUD is trying to build affordable housing. With the other, it is trying to prevent housing from becoming affordable.

Does this sound like Felix Unger's sleeping habit?

Can HUD succeed in meeting both goals? No, says Mish's Global Economic Analysis and Hot Fries: Housing prices are going down down down as the flames get higher.

Can HUD fail to meet either goal? No, says Calculated Risk: The transition to rentership is already happening.

And if you put affordable housing in my back yard, could you please make sure it's "low-rise?" It sounds sexier.

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  • hmm||

    Yay. More crime infested shitholes destroying property values in an already decaying urban environment. Even the gay folks won't bother with gentrifying areas near low income housing. And those brave folks have turned some of the worst shitholes in the country into posh sought real estate.

    How about we don't do either. No public housing, no everyone in a home.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    How about if we declare "Doomsday is Here, Life Will Never Be the Same Again!" and be done with it now?

  • ||

    Oh wow, sounds pretty reasonable to me dude! I like it!

    RT
    www.online-anonymity.net.tc

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The upside is, of course, it's a lot easier to round up voters to get to the polls on Election Day when they're all trapped in the same building. So it's not all bad.

    But the Barney Frank spin from the Boston Globe article is priceless. Apparently this whole time Frank wasn't a champion of low cost housing but instead a closet racist who didn't want minorities to own homes. Who knew?

  • jtuf||

    I saw an article today on home buying groups in Israel. Members pool their resources and hire a developer to build afforable apartment complexes. Perhaps that could work in America.

  • robc||

    During the Bush presidency I went from about 20% equity in a condo to over 50% equity in a house.

    Tip O'Neill was write. And it applies to real estate even more than politics. And my personal situation is just an extreme example of local.

  • ||

    Bush's heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities.

    How does encouraging people to be house poor provide upward mobility? How does reducing consumer spending encourage national wealth? Only better education and better jobs can do those things, not acting like you have more money than you do.

  • robc||

    Nick,

    And the great society was supposed to win the war on poverty. Of course these programs never achieve their goals. And never could.

  • ||

    Tip O'Neill was write.

    Whose law is this?

  • ||

    Exactly, robc. All those programs backfire and create more poverty. When will our betters ever learn?

  • Rich||

    Members pool their resources and hire a developer to build afforable apartment complexes. Perhaps that could work in America.

    Perhaps -- if we can avoid the 1993 Waco mistake, the 2008 Eldorado mistake, ...

    Sounds like a job for a community organizer. ;-)

  • robc||

    Whose law is this?

    I claim early morning/on vacation as my excuse. But, ugh. My brain is horribly wired, fast typing causes homophone replacement.

  • Fluffy||

    Housing Projects: Change We Can Believe In.

    Seriously, how can ANYBODY think this is a good idea?

    "Oh, but we're constructing low-rise buildings and townhouses. It was the high-rise projects that were such a bad idea!"

    No, it was housing projects that were a bad idea. The projects were built as high rises because they were aping the popular urban development style of its era. Aping today's popular development style instead is not going to change the fact that housing projects are a stupid idea.

  • Rhywun||

    Maybe Obama's minions need to crack open their copies of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The fact that Ms. Jacobs is ignored on the Left and the Right says something.

  • Robert||

    I think the ownership society was a shot worth taking. Of course it was better in Britain, where selling off council housing, no matter how cheaply, actually saved money, than in the USA, where the gamble was that the cost to taxpayers would eventually pay off in changing the orientation of voters. Like when a parent buys a child something to take care of.

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