Restoring Trust in Mortgage-Backed Securities

Restoring Trust in Mortgage-Backed Securities

The mortgage finance market has leaned heavily on government support over the past few years. More than 90 percent of mortgages originated in 2011 were securitized by government entities using taxpayer funds to guarantee investors against default risk. This support cannot continue forever. The status quo perpetuates many of the policies that contributed to the housing bubble and consequently promotes an unstable mortgage market. In order to avoid another crisis, the government must exit mortgage finance and private capital must shoulder mortgage default risk.
Policy proposals from both Republicans and Democrats, a white paper from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a host of research groups and academics have almost all focused on reform ideas that view the private sector as the foundation for the housing market. Despite this uniform focus, a number of roadblocks severely limit the pace and scope of mortgage finance risk to the private sector.

Marc Joffe and Anthony Randazzo

Reason Foundation

May 3, 2012