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Former Fannie Mae Foundation SVP: Housing Market Still Unstable, Foreclosure Numbers Contain Hidden Story of Instability

Leading Economic Expert Says New Foreclosure Numbers Contain Hidden Story About Loss of Family Wealth, Continuing Instability of Housing Market Statement from Jim Carr, Senior Policy Fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, former Sr. VP at Fannie Mae Foundation and Senate Budget Committee staff-member Carr is available for interviews from Washington, DC


This past week RealtyTrac published new numbers showing a drop in national foreclosure rates; in response national economic and housing expert Jim Carr issued the following statement to underscore the ongoing severity of the housing crisis: "This past week's RealtyTrac numbers show an overall drop in foreclosures, but foreclosures are not the sole measure of the health of the housing market. The truth is that the scope of the housing crisis remains wide-reaching and deep. "The housing market has not recovered to the point where public intervention is no longer needed or warranted. One contributing factor to falling foreclosures is that lenders have increased short-sales. While short sales are better for borrowers and the housing market than foreclosure, they nevertheless result in the unnecessary loss of family net wealth--relative to a family being able to maintain their home through a loan modification. Moreover, the housing market continues to struggle with more than 90 percent of all loans being back in some form by government, the Federal Reserve buying up to $40 billion of Mortgage Backed Securities per month, nearly three of four mortgage originations are loan refinancings, 10 million vacant and abandoned properties littering the landscapes of communities across the nation, absentee investors purchasing formally owner-occupied properties—a practice that may further destabilize particularly lower-wealth communities, and millions of borrowers remaining underwater in their loans. Additionally, there is the specter of sequestration that could slash funding for foreclosure prevention counseling that could unnecessary place tens of thousands of families at risk of foreclosure. If an austerity budget arises from round two of the fiscal cliff discussions, unemployment could again begin to rise--and with it, foreclosures.” "A decent home for our families is core to the American promise of opportunity, a source of security and pride. The facts about the ongoing housing crisis shows that this core promise is at risk. Our elected leaders need to make addressing persistent challenges with the housing market a top priority and focus on public investment and reforms that stabilize the that sector of the economy for the long-term and provide families the opportunity to rebuild so much that was lost since the recession.”

About Jim Carr:
Jim Carr, Senior Policy Fellow for the Home Opportunity Initiative at The Opportunity Agenda, has a unique and rich depth of experience in economic policy, with a focus on the economy, foreclosure crisis, financial system regulatory reform, housing markets, wealth disparities and economic mobility. He is the former Chief Business Officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York. Mr. Carr has served as Senior Vice President for Financial Innovation, Planning and Research for the Fannie Mae Foundation and Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Federal Credit with the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.
Carr has been interviewed extensively in print and has appeared in TV venues such as CNN, FOX News, CNBC, Bloomberg, PBS, Cox News and others.

About the Opportunity Agenda (www.opportunityagenda.org) :
The Opportunity Agenda was founded in 2004 with the mission of building the national will to expand opportunity in America. Focused on moving hearts, minds and policy over time, the organization works with social justice groups, leaders, and movements to advance solutions that expand opportunity for everyone. Through active partnerships, The Opportunity Agenda synthesizes and translates research on barriers to opportunity and corresponding solutions; uses communications and media to understand and influence public opinion; and identifies and advocates for policies that improve people’s lives.

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