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Budget wars in Washington threaten American housing dream

Published time: October 03, 2013 15:33
Edited time: October 04, 2013 06:28
Reuters/Brian Snyder

Reuters/Brian Snyder

With about 30 percent of all new mortgages in the US housing market financed by the government, the Washington budget deadlock could threaten many American's dream of owning their own home.

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Home ownership has been a staple of the American psyche, as the 2008-2009 financial crisis is testimony. Much of the debt was amassed by starry-eyed owners who grabbed cheap mortgages they couldn’t afford.  

When the US Congress failed to reach a budget decision by October 1 and forced the government into shutdown mode, over 800,000 federal workers were furloughed- sent home without pay. 

After Congress failed, Obama lamented the shutdown would have a "very real economic impact on real people, right away," also warning closed federal services would 'throw a wrench' into economic recovery in the US. 

House prices have recovered more than 20 percent since the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and have been a strong indicator America’s economy is ‘back on track’. Though new mortgages can be accrued, loans will be delayed. First-time home buyers, who need to submit a slew of documents to be verified and re-verified, will face big delays.

US federal programs that process paperwork for mortgage approvals are understaffed. If people can’t get mortgages to pay for their homes, recovery in the US housing market – a backbone of the economy – comes under threat.

The US Department of Housing and Urban development lost a majority of its fulltime staff- with only about 350 employees of a total of over 8709 in the office processing mortgage loans.

The US Federal Housing Finance Agency, which accounts for about 15 percent of new loans, only has 64 of its 2,972 employees processing  loan paperwork. The agency also regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Feddie Mac, but loans won’t be affected because fees are collected through private lenders. 

The US Department of Agriculture has said they won’t be issuing any new housing loans while its Rural Development program is shutdown. The branch has warned the shutdown could lead to  “a setback in construction start-up,” and if the shutdown lasts for an extended period, “a substantial reduction in housing available in rural areas relative to the population.”

Comments (5)


Roxy Chick 17.10.2013 13:05

Why is it when they talk of america they show blacks? Are they the americans or is it the natives? Where are the white ones? Why are blacks put above everyone else particularly in america?


KOS 07.10.2013 01:45

The 'dream' of owning a house - one you buy on credit (mortgage) - is a actually a nightmare in the present day of precarious employment, low wages, no benefits. It's a con job - your only hope in life is to stay out of debt - borrow NO money with a few exceptions - if you have what it takes to get a medical degree for example... which very few people have BTW.


Alexis Alexander 05.10.2013 21:06

The American dream has been changed. We want to be free again. Living wages and not being scared that criminals from the street, employers, government or police will destroy us. Non-toxic food would be nice to have again. We don't want GMO poison that looks like food.

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