The housing rescue bill has become law. President George W. Bush signed the legislation this morning, finally bringing some closure to the year-long effort to help the struggling housing market.
As some have noted, the bill isn’t perfect, but many hope it will stabilize the market by stemming foreclosures and offering home buying incentives that increase demand.
“This milestone bill contains several provisions to get home buyers back into the marketplace, stop the slide in home prices, provide a lifeline to borrowers facing foreclosure, improve mortgage liquidity and bolster confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” NAHB President Sandy Dunn said today in a statement. “We commend Congress and the President for taking this action to provide much-needed relief to the American people.”
The bill also creates a stronger regulator for the GSEs. The president’s signature today establishes a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the successor to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). However, the leadership at the top will remain the same for the moment, given the approaching November presidential election. James B. Lockhart, OFHEO’s director, will become director of the newly created agency.
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.