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Working Papers

What Next for Housing Finance?

Working paper #728
Adam J. Levitin and Susan M. Wachter

Since the financial crisis of 2008, approximately 90 percent of the housing finance system has migrated into the federalized auspices of FHA and the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With taxpayer money at risk and hopes of revitalizing the private market, policymakers have proposed new ways to transition away from this nationalized system. The central debate rests on the government’s role in the long run: Should it continue to guarantee safe, affordable mortgage products, or can market stability exist without taxpayers assuming the tail risk? Of equal importance, but less acknowledged, is the necessity of comprehensive reform, including transparency and standardization for all mortgage products and securities, government-backed or not.

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