Analysis Of Congressional Hearings On Housing Market Reforms
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentCity and Regional Planning
ProgramMaster of City and Regional Planning
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Housing finance and the regulation of housing finance are at the core of the crisis in the market today. Without proactive and comprehensive legislative reform that targets current housing problems, the housing market will continue to spin out of control. Congress has reacted to the present housing climate with regulatory and legislative action that targets both the primary and secondary mortgage markets. At issue is what major congressional policies were created and whether or not the policies are an adequate response to the housing market problems. Or, are these policies simply an evolution of previous strategies to control a housing sector that repeatedly proves to be unruly? This thesis presents a qualitative analysis of 240 congressional hearings and new legislation concerning the housing finance market. The study period is 2003 to 2008. The aim of the study is to show how congressional hearings over the last six years failed to focus attention on critical housing finance problems. To test this hypothesis, a public policy analysis deploying the "content analysis method" was used to categorize and assess themes in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA). The content of this legislation was then compared with the content analysis of the congressional hearings associated with housing. This thesis concludes that HERA of 2008 and EESA of 2008 did not show relatedness to the frequencies of occurrence nor to the type of housing issues investigated in hearings by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services during the study period. The findings show that congressional attention was not upon sustaining homeownership, preventing discrimination in the mortgage market, providing consumer protection in financial markets, nor creating supervision over the primary mortgage market. The results show that Congress instead focused its attention on liquidity in capital markets. The issues listed as consumer protections only received congressional attention in the last two years of the study, 2007-2008. By this time the nation was at the peak of the housing crisis. Only indirectly was the homeowner facing foreclosure given relief.