August 2, 2010
MF10-5: The U.S. mortgage finance system has gone from the envy of the world to a case study of failure in 2 short years. As recently as the 2003-2005 period the system generated an enormous volume of originations (nearly $4 trillion) that contributed to a record level of homeownership (69.3 percent). There were impressive gains in low income and minority rates of homeownership. The system was characterized by low mortgage interest rates, robust competition, particularly from non-bank lenders, buoyant house prices and low default rates. While the government role was significant, the major government supported institutions were losing market share. There were, however, ample warning signals that this rosy picture was about to end. Affordability was falling, concerns about predatory lending abounded, delinquencies in subprime lending were rising and numerous commentators warned of unsustainable house prices...
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