President Obama and Julián Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, visited Phoenix, Arizona to “put a spotlight on the recovering housing sector,” according to The White House Blog. “…home sales are up nearly 50 percent from where they were in the worst of the crisis. Homebuilding has more than doubled. That’s created hundreds of thousands of construction jobs,” said Obama at Central High School in Phoenix. “New foreclosures are at their lowest level since 2006. Since 2012, nearly 10 million fewer Americans have their homes underwater. Rising home prices have put hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth back in the pockets of middle-class families.” And while many Americans are benefiting from such progress, President Obama reminded the audience that there is still much work to be done. He said that mortgages need to be more accessible and affordable for credit worthy families.
In efforts to continue the upward streak in the housing market, President Obama revealed, “Starting this month, the Federal Housing Authority will lower its mortgage insurance premium rates enough to save the average new borrower more than $900 a year.” Naturally, the crowd applauded. “And for those who aren’t familiar with FHA, FHA underwrites, it guarantees, it’s the backstop for a lot of loans around the country, especially for middle-class folks. So a lot of people pay these fees, and if they’re saving $900 that’s money that’s going to be going throughout the economy.” He went on to assure that this would all make owning a home more affordable for millions of families in years to come. The White House Blog indicates that this new implementation will help 250,000 families purchase a home within the next three years.
Before closing his address, President Obama reiterated how passionate he is about home ownership and how it should be achievable for all Americans. He joked about he and First Lady Obama are currently living in a rental with only two years left on their lease. “I’m hoping I get my security deposit back. Although Bo and Sunny have been tearing things up occasionally — we’re going to have to clean things up a little bit,” he said before the audience broke into laughter. He then shared his feelings of when they moved into their first home. “So we bought this place — it was about, I guess, probably about 2,000 square feet. It was in this complex called East View Park. It was sort of like a railway apartment. And it felt huge when we moved in,” he recalled. “And then Malia and Sasha were born, and their toys got everywhere… But I have such good memories not just about the place itself, but all the work we had to do to save to get in there, and then to fix it up, and that sense of accomplishment that you were building something for your family and for your future.”
President Obama’s plan is an effort to not only allow citizens to experience the same sense of pride as he and First Lady Obama did when they moved into their first home, but to also help millions of families save billions in mortgage payments, which will also assist in stabilizing the housing market recovery.