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Weekly Address: President Obama – Growing the Housing Market and Supporting our Homeowners

From the White House – Weekly Address

President Obama discusses the housing market and urges Congress to confirm Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency and take action to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance and save money on their mortgage.

Transcript Growing the Housing Market and Supporting our Homeowners –

Hi, everybody.  Our top priority as a nation is reigniting the true engine of our economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.  And few things define what it is to be middle class in America more than owning your own cornerstone of the American Dream: a home.

Today, seven years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing.  Sales are up.  Foreclosures are down.  Construction is expanding.  And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more families have been able to come up for air, because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages.

From the day I took office, I’ve made it a priority to help responsible homeowners and prevent the kind of recklessness that helped cause this crisis in the first place.

My housing plan has already helped more than two million people refinance their mortgages, and they’re saving an average of $3000 per year.

My new consumer watchdog agency is moving forward on protections like a simpler, shorter mortgage form that will help to keep hard-working families from getting ripped off.

But we’ve got more work to do.  We’ve got more responsible homeowners to help – folks who have never missed a mortgage payment, but aren’t allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they’re worth.

Last week, I nominated a man named Mel Watt to take on these challenges as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Mel’s represented the people of North Carolina in Congress for 20 years, and in that time, he helped lead efforts to put in place rules of the road that protect consumers from dishonest mortgage lenders, and give responsible Americans the chance to own their own home.  He’s the right person for the job, and that’s why Congress should do its job, and confirm him without delay.

And they shouldn’t stop there.  As I said before, more than two million Americans have already refinanced at today’s low rates, but we can do a lot better than that.  I’ve called on Congress to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance, and with it, the opportunity to save $3,000 a year. That’s like a $3,000 tax cut.  And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who could take advantage of that, you should ask your representative in Congress why they won’t act on it.

Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress – but we could do so much more if we work together.  More good jobs.  Greater security for middle-class families.  A sense that your hard work is rewarded.  That’s what I’m fighting for – and that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for as long as I hold this office.

Thank you.  And have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

Editor’s Note: This will be the weekend open news thread. Please share links to general news items in the comments.


  1. When a new house is built or an existing home is purchased, people buy appliances and furniture. An existing home may require renovations which puts people to work. Plus it is good for families when then can buy houses (that they can afford) because a house is an investment.  

  2. $3,000 a year is a BHD and that money would very likely be put right back into the economy.

    Lots of people are living month to month with crushing mortgage payments … hoping that none of the breadwinners lose their jobs because it would mean losing their homes.

  3. DeniseVelez

    for some agency to take over many of the homes in foreclosure, that are sitting empty and in many cases deteriorating and bringing down property values, and rent them out – at reasonable rental rates with an option to buy – part of the rents applied to a potential future mortgage.

    So many families can’t find space, apartments with enough bedrooms and they actually pay more for crowded apartment living than they would if they had a house.

    Just one of my dreams.

  4. princesspat

    In Wa, State the shortage of workers in both the construction and agricultural industries makes the need for wiser immigration policies as well as educational opportunities very apparent yet ideologically driven politicians are not able to address the needs in the state legislature.

    Builders struggle to find enough workers

    The real-estate bust idled hundreds of thousands of construction workers. Now, with housing on the mend, builders are hiring again.

    Trouble is, many workers aren’t coming back.

    Years of sporadic employment drove many from the industry. Incomes aren’t what they used to be. Laid-off workers remember the sting of lost livelihoods; some have had enough of boom and bust.

    Rachael Maddow reported this story on her MSNBC program last night, and as I read it this morning I am even more alarmed and frustrated with the do nothing congress this country seems to be stuck with.

    Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears

    The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.


    The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

    Do Coal and Diesel Trains Make For Unhealthy Air?

    Trains are a fuel efficient way to move freight and people. Yet diesel trains leave behind a trail of exhaust that may be hazardous for people living near the tracks. Coal trains may also leave behind a trail of fine coal dust in the air that is hazardous to breathe. In Washington State, there are proposals to substantially increase the number of trains carrying coal through our region. Yet we know almost nothing about the impact these trains will have on air quality along the rail lines. Before these decisions are made, it is essential to gather high quality scientific data on the impacts trains currently have on air quality in the region so that we can accurately forecast the environmental impact the increased train traffic would have on our region. Ironically, while state and local agencies appear to support this type of work, they have been unable to identify a funding mechanism. Thus, we believe crowd-funding is an appropriate way to support this project.

    The good news is that the study is funded, but when a scientist with a proven research history has to appeal for public funding to do his work I am dismayed and alarmed.

  5. President Obama Talks Jobs, Skills and Opportunity in Austin

    Today President Obama traveled to Austin, Texas, kicking off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours focused on creating a strong and vibrant economy built on good middle class jobs.

    The first stop on today’s tour was Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning the real-world skills they need to fill jobs that are available right now. Watch the President’s remarks at the school here.

  6. princesspat

    Lincoln High’s STEM software students start at bottom, but don’t stay there

    The STEM Club at Lincoln is the creation of biology teacher and club adviser Lee Ann Love. To launch the club, she applied for and won a grant from Washington STEM, a statewide nonprofit that promotes STEM education. Last year, the club worked with Northwest construction firm Lease Crutcher Lewis on the mathematics involved in pouring concrete, and this year students worked on the app project. They have also worked on science projects with the University of Washington Tacoma.


    The Lincoln program illustrates the kind of partnership that educators and businesses often talk about. Inslee said he wants to see more of them across the state.

    The governor said Washington ranks high among all the states in terms of high-tech jobs. But he said it’s near the bottom when it comes to producing graduates with the kind of education and training Washington’s tech industry needs.

    When the Legislature reconvenes Monday, he’ll be talking up a bill in the Senate, SB 5755, that would create a formal statewide alliance of business people and educators to support STEM education. A similar measure has already passed the state House, Inslee said. He promised to invite Lincoln students to the bill-signing if the Senate approves and the bill lands on his desk.

    “It’s important to move STEM forward,” Inslee said. “We want to have at least 1,000 Lee Ann Loves in the state of Washington.”

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