President Obama just wrapped up appearance in Ahwatukee - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

President Obama just wrapped up appearance in Ahwatukee

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Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 1:30 pm | Updated: 3:26 pm, Fri May 16, 2014.

President Barack Obama detailed his plan for helping the middle class achieve home ownership through five steps in front of a crowd of local political leaders and high school students at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills today.

Obama outlined five steps to improve the housing market. Those steps include:

• Congress passing a bipartisan idea to allow all homeowners to refinance at today’s lower rates.

• Making it easier for qualified buyers to buy homes they can afford by simplifying regulations for qualified families.

• Fixing the broken immigration system.

• Rebuilding communities hit hardest by the housing bubble.

• Making sure there are affordable opportunities to rent.

While he believes prices can go up, Obama said these steps should not create another housing bubble. He hopes to create a stable foundation by diminishing the power of companies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and increasing the role of private capital.

“I believe in the free market,” Obama said. “Just like the health care law… when we set clear rules for insurance companies but still built on the private marketplace. I believe our housing system should operate where there’s a limited government role and private lending should be the backbone of the housing market.”

His plan would also make lenders more responsible for risky loans instead of government.

The President mentioned strengthening the Federal Housing Administration. He said the country can look to Phoenix as an example to help the homeless. Phoenix is on track to end chronic homelessness for veterans by 2014.

Obama said he will also be working on creating a consumer protection bureau to give homeowners tools to protect themselves and a new simple mortgage that will be easier to understand. He also encouraged Congress and the Senate to approve his nomination of Rep. Melvin Watt for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

In the 30-minute speech Obama referred to his grandparents several times saying in their time a house was a sense of pride and a sign of responsibility. He hopes to bring that same responsibility to homeowners in the future.

“No single policy will solve all the problems in a multi-trillion-dollar housing market,” he said. “The housing bubble went up so high and the heights it reached were so unsustainable, we knew it would take some time to work out but if we take the steps I talked about today, I know we will restore not just our home values but our common values.”

The speech was part of a series of speeches the President is scheduled to give about the middle class. Other topics include jobs, health care, retirement security, and ladders of opportunity.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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