Housing due to be key topic this election season

With the presidential election just months away, the nation's housing crisis is expected to be a major issue for candidates.

With the presidential election just months away, the nation's housing crisis is expected to be a major issue for candidates. Some critics have accused President Barack Obama of failing to repair the housing market since being elected, but according to CNNMoney, it may not be his fault.

When the president took office in 2009, he promised swift actions to combat the mortgage crisis and higher rates of default and foreclosure. As a primary plan, he established the Home Affordable Modification Program and the Home Affordable Refinance Program in an attempt to keep more residents in their homes. 

Despite these programs not helping as many homeowners as initially hoped for, some analysts say it's not the president's fault.

"I don't think anyone could have done anything to stabilize the housing market," NHS Chicago executive director Ed Jacob told CNNMoney. "This housing market was in far worse shape than anyone knew."

When Obama's newly developed HAMP opened for business, it almost immediately started encountering problems. According to the news source, the program was originally designed to cut an estimated 4 million borrowers' mortgage payments to no more than 31 percent on their monthly income.   

However, mortgage records indicate that due to stricter lending regulation, many potential program participants failed to qualify, while other had their documents lost by their lenders. Now, three years later, the program was only helped approximately 910,000 distressed homeowners, says CNNMoney.

Additionally, HARP also encountered similar difficulties and has only managed to assist 962,000 homeowners - far short of the original estimate of 5 million borrowers.

Despite the efforts of the Obama administration, an estimated 3.5 million borrowers are currently delinquent on their mortgage payments, while an additional 1.9 million have their homes in foreclosure. In addition, home prices have continued to slide during the past six months.

Meanwhile, according to CNNMoney critics claims that the primary problem with with HARP and HAMP was that the housing crisis had already passed the point where more affordable mortgage rates and monthly payments would do enough to prevent it from spiraling even further.

"He focused his gun in the wrong place," George Mason University real estate professor Anthony Sanders told the source. "The administration's approach is to kick the can down the road. That doesn't lead to a recovery and just strings the problem along."

Instead, critics claim that more borrowers continue to default and enter foreclosure due to their inability to make monthly payments in general due to unemployment and under-employment, the source reports, an issue that will be a hot debate during the upcoming election.

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