In a new page added to the candidate's website, Romney presents what he calls "A Plan to End the Housing Crisis." The four-part solution, presented here verbatim, is as follows:
- Responsibly sell the 200,000 vacant foreclosed homes owned by the government;
- Facilitate foreclosure alternatives for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage;
- Replace complex rules with smart regulation to hold banks accountable, restore a functioning marketplace and restart lending to creditworthy borrowers; and
- Protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Romney's website claims the federal government owns "almost half of all of the foreclosed homes in the country," while the candidate promises to "facilitate creative alternatives to foreclosure for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage" - however, the specifics of these alternatives were not spelled out.
Romney also appeared to echo an earlier proposal if his running mate, Paul Ryan, by calling for a "reform" of Fannie Mae and Freddie while seeking to ensure that "taxpayer dollars in the housing market are replaced with private dollars." Again, however, the Romney plan avoided specifics on how to achieve these goals.
However, Romney was specific in blaming his opponent for the current state of housing.
"Under President Obama, home prices have fallen, homeowners have received more than 8.5 million foreclosure notices and 11 million American owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth," says Romney on his website. "President Obama's only plan to address the housing crisis was the same plan he used to try to fix the economy: spend more taxpayer money on big-government programs. To address the housing crisis, President Obama rolled out an alphabet soup of more than 10 housing finance programs rather than offering a real solution. Meanwhile, creditworthy borrowers are struggling to get a loan as a result of uncertainty caused by the president's policies.
"By continuing to insist on a government-centric approach to housing and to the economy more generally, President Obama has hamstrung the economic recovery and slowed the recovery of the housing market," Romney adds. "Right now, taxpayers are on the hook for almost 90 percent of all new mortgages. The two government-sponsored government housing corporation (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) fueled a predictable disaster, and President Obama has done nothing to reform these entities."
David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, acknowledged the Romney plan in an email to the trade group's membership.
"While more detail is needed, this provides good insight into his views," Stevens wrote.