June 11, 2024

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch,

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Meanwhile, former Biden administration official sees Trump scaling down agencies that oversee housing funds, along with an effect on civil rights.

Two experts on housing from different sides of the aisle clashed Tuesday over what a second Trump administration could mean for Americans dealing with the tough market for home buyers.

Mark Calabria, who served as the Trump administration’s head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the Biden administration tends to put out a news release that says, “We care about housing supply,” but when he reads it – “90% of it is about increasing demand.”

“So I think you would see a switch away from that,” Calabria said, as he took part in a panel discussion hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center that focused on what this year’s presidential election and other races could mean for housing. He was among those who criticized President Joe Biden’s proposal earlier this year to give a $10,000 tax credit to first-time home buyers because they think it would increase demand and help keep home prices elevated.

Calabria, who now works as a senior adviser at the conservative Cato Institute, indicated he sees potential in Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s proposal that aims to get new homes built on land currently owned by the federal government.

“The federal government owns a tremendous amount of land. If we released just one-thousandth of that, you could build almost 3 million units,” he said. Calabria added that he thinks “it’s fair to say the current administration is absolutely opposed to any use of public land for housing,” but a second Trump administration would have a “much friendlier” stance.

But Calabria faced pushback from Sarah Brundage, who until recently served in the Biden White House as a senior adviser on domestic policy and also has worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Brundage said a key Biden document known as the “Housing Supply Action Plan” is “laced with supply incentives, reinstating some policy levers that the prior administration had stalled.”

“The biggest difference we’ll see in housing-policy approach across the two scenarios will be around fair housing and civil rights, and access to housing in historically segregated, exclusive neighborhoods,” she said.

Under Trump, “You could see a real attempt to scale back and scale down federal agencies that are necessary to administer the federal housing funds,” Brundage told the audience, adding that could include agencies that focus on rental assistance or public housing. She now is the president and CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.