U.S. SENATE — Today, U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) pressed top officials on how to prevent future housing crises.
During a U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing on housing finance reform, McSally heard from top officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on the need to reform the federal government’s role in housing. The officials stressed that legislative and executive action must be taken to avoid repeating the foreclosure crisis.
“The last crisis hit Arizona really hard. Home prices dropped about 56 percent in the five years after 2006. In the five years before 2006, home prices had nearly doubled,” McSally said. “But what you’re describing today, if we do nothing, if none of the changes you’re offering or what Congress needs to do moves forward, if it’s just the status quo, we’re at a similar or higher risk [than in the last housing crisis].”
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said: “I very much recognize that Arizona was ground zero for the crisis and we certainly want to avoid that. And let me also assure you I’ve begun internally a review of servicing practices and to me one of the problems in the last crisis was these things changed weekly. There was very little guidance to borrowers and so I’m committed to making sure that when we do have the next down-turn— which again I hope is a long ways away— but when we get there I want to make sure that borrowers, lenders, government, that we all know the rules of the game. We know that people are going to be treated fairly.”
Click here to watch McSally's questioning.
McSally also highlighted the importance of improving access to affordable housing. Home prices in Phoenix have increased around 6 percent over the past year and more than 30 percent over the past five years, according to the Case-Shiller index.
On June 25, McSally attended the White House signing of an executive order launching the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.
McSally attends signing of affordable housing executive order on June 25, 2019. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead).