“We will consider anything that makes sense”
Ben Carson, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, conducted an interview with Bloomberg on how to improve the U.S. homeownership rate.
Indeed, this was only one of many stops, as Carson appears to be on a mission to increase homeownership.
And it is with good timing, as the homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2017 underwhelmed and held steady near its 50-year low.
In his Bloomberg interview, Carson explained that FHA mortgages should serve the market according to the need in the economy. When the economy is good you don’t need nearly as much, but when it’s hard you need more.
He also emphasized the importance of homeownership, stating that the average net worth of a homeowner is $200,000 but average net worth of a renter is $5,000.
In order to increase the homeownership rate without increasing risk, Carson suggested several solutions including helping Millennials using programs which combine their student loans to mortgages.
In February, BurkeyLoan launched its BurkeyLoan Mortgage division which included its 120% loan-to-value mortgage product that funds both a home purchase and the borrower’s student loans.
Carson also suggested a change in debt-to-income ratio, but didn’t go into specifics. Earlier this month, Fannie Mae announced it is preparing to raise the debt-to-income ratio, the No. 1 reason that mortgage applicants get rejected.
“We will consider everything,” he said. “Anything that makes sense.” But he emphasized the government should be involved as a backstop, an insurer, not necessarily the one who pulls all the strings.
In honor of National Homeownership month, the HUD secretary has been busy making the rounds as he promotes homeownership. Monday, Carson, along with his family, toured the floor of the NYSE exchange and had the honor ringing the closing bell.
In fact, Carson is filling his week with interviews where he discussed how to improve the rate of homeownership in the U.S.
He will also appear on Sean Hannity on Tuesday where he promises to talk about his vision for HUD.