Housing Slump Becomes Hot Election Year Issue

Concord, N.H.–New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s success in the New Hampshire primary earlier this week marked a turn for the election: For Clinton, who had advanced in the race, and for housing, which she mentioned in her victory speech.The housing market has become a key issue in the U.S. presidential race as candidates try to drum up votes in Michigan, Nevada, Florida and other states with a high foreclosure rate, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Clinton also was scheduled to discuss the slump Thursday in Las Vegas. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s new television advertisement, airing in Michigan, also touches on housing.However, the candidates are having a hard time pinning down a solution. The top three Democratic candidates have urged creating a federal fund to help with refinance and tighter lending regulation rules. Both Clinton and John Edwards have said that lenders should be legally forced to lengthen the recently suggested lender guidelines and assistance plan supported by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.Barack Obama, on the other hand, is against making the regulations a law. A required rate freeze could prevent market liquidity, according to an Obama adviser.Generally, the Republican candidates are behind President Bush’s plan to encourage lenders and mortgage-bond investors to willingly modify certain in-danger loans.”The candidates need to thread a very small needle, showing they have sympathy for those cheated out of homes, but not offering a government handout to businesses or individuals who deliberately took on huge risks,” Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, told the Journal.