Tribune Publishes Don Manzullo’s Questionnaire Responses

And, you can find them here.

There are all sorts of questions, but the home ownership section caught my attention:

  • Is U.S. policy too focused on increasing the rate of home ownership?
  • Should the unlimited tax deduction for home mortgage interest be capped?
  • At what level?
  • What would you do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

Manzullo wrote a long answer, but this is what popped out:

“Home ownership is a worthy goal because then more people have a stake in their local community. The problem is that if individuals put no down payment and are subject to interest-only loans during the first several years, this type of home ownership is almost no better than renting. These individuals have no “skin in the game” and it provides a huge incentive to walk away from mortgage obligations if the going gets tough.

“That is why I have voted for provisions to increase the minimum down payment requirement to 5 percent and prohibit closing costs from being financed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

“If Habitat for Humanity makes low-income persons put some stake into the homes they build, the same principle should hold true for those seeking a FHA-backed mortgage.”

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