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.