While I might ordinarily be skeptical of a special interest group putting pressure on a bureaucrat, in this case the actual special interest group is first time home buyers. This is not an academic policy question. This is affecting real people in our community.
“LOS ANGELES (Nov. 5) – The following is a statement by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) on last week’s announced REO bulk sale transaction between Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Colony Capital:
“Fannie Mae and FHFA’s decision to move forward with the REO bulk sale in California amounts to another gift to Wall Street at the expense of taxpayers,” said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold. “The deal, which calls for the sale of more than 400 foreclosed homes in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, not only hurts taxpayers and prospective home buyers, but will also delay a full recovery in the housing market.”
The implementation of this ill-conceived program highlights the failure of FHFA to appropriately address this issue despite C.A.R. and others outlining alternatives. The botched execution of the REO bulk sales, and Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) and Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) under FHFA’s oversight and leadership has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the housing market. Given these and other missteps, C.A.R. believes it is time for a change in leadership at the FHFA.”
C.A.R. opposes bulk sales in California because the state is experiencing a severe shortage of available housing, which will negatively impact the state’s housing market. The median home price in the Inland Empire is up 15 percent from $172,000 in February 2012 to $198,270 in September, and unsold inventory is down from 5.3 months to 3.8 months during the same period. The median home price in Los Angeles has risen 37 percent from $272,920 in February 2012 to $373,020 in September, and inventory is down from 5.7 months to 3.7 months.