Critical Housing Finance Challenges for Policymakers: Defining a Research Agenda

Chris Herbert, Eric Belsky, William Apgar

W12-2: This paper focuses on four critical policy challenges in the area of housing finance that were developed with input from the What Works Collaborative during the Fall of 2011. The four issues that are the focus of this paper are

1. Mortgage lending to underserved groups;

2. Mortgage financing for the evolving rental housing market;

3. Mortgage lending in distressed neighborhoods; and

4. The role of mortgage finance in supporting investments in sustainable housing.

The paper is divided into four separate sections devoted to each of these topics. For each policy challenge, the paper addresses the following questions: Why is this a critical issue for policymakers? What barriers and challenges may require public-sector involvement to address? What are key policy levers or private efforts that both research and future policy interventions may be built around? What are the key issues where research is needed to inform policymaking in this area, and what are examples of research projects on each issue?