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Who is even more powerful in housing than Obama?

There is one person more powerful than President Obama when it comes to housing, and that is FHFA Director, Edward DeMarco. Here’s why:

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Can you say without Google who he is?

Do you know who Edward DeMarco is? Can you say without Googling it? You should know, he’s literally the most powerful man in housing, even above President Obama, according to the Washington Post.

DeMarco is the current Director of the FHFA which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which together own or guarantee over half of all American mortgages) and has held leadership roles at the FHFA, Treasury and other government agencies for decades.

Nominating a replacement failed

The Obama Administration has attempted to replace DeMarco by nominating North Carolina Banking Commissioner, Joseph A. Smith, Jr. but during confirmation hearings, Smith’s position that he would not necessarily resist White House pressure to write down mortgages and the confirmation did not go through.

Tension between Obama and DeMarco

“At the heart of the tension between DeMarco and the Obama administration is a conflict tucked deep into DeMarco’s job description: The head of the FHFA is stuck between the narrow needs of Fannie and Freddie and the broader needs of the housing market,” Ezra Klein and Brad Plumer of the Post write.

Although Smith’s confirmation for DeMarco’s job didn’t go through, DeMarco isn’t a puppet for the Republican party either, according to ultra liberal Barney Frank who said, “He has been equally resistant to Republicans who want restrictions on compensation or sell off the portfolio too quickly. He wants to maximize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s returns, and he’s been very consistent in resisting anything that will jeopardize that.”

Main goal: minimize loss

Over the last year, DeMarco has been pressured by the White House to involve Fannie and Freddie in a program that would allow banks to write down mortgages, but he has stood firmly against it, saying “It has been our conclusion that it is not loss minimizing for Fannie and Freddie.” For this same reason, administration programs designed to help distressed homeowners have been bucked consistently by DeMarco.

According to the Post, “a few months ago, Geithner began looking for ways to fire DeMarco. But the plan would have required moving a credible replacement into the FHFA for at least 90 days beforehand. Geithner gave up the effort after being rebuffed by multiple candidates.”

Because DeMarco remains an independent regulator and can only be fired if the White House finds cause, but political disagreement is not legal grounds to remove him which keeps him in the driver’s seat of housing, and you probably didn’t know his name without Googling it.

DeMarco’s bio courtesy of the FHFA:
On August 25, 2009 President Obama designated Edward J. DeMarco the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks effective September 1, 2009. Mr. DeMarco was appointed Chief Operating Officer and Senior Deputy Director for Housing Mission and Goals for FHFA in 2008 after enactment of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the legislation that established FHFA. Mr. DeMarco joined the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), a predecessor agency to FHFA, in October 2006 as its Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director. He came to OFHEO from the Social Security Administration (SSA) where, as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy, he led SSA’s policy, research, and statistics functions. Before joining SSA in 2003, Mr. DeMarco was Director of the Office of Financial Institutions Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he oversaw analyses of public policy issues involving government sponsored enterprises and other financial institutions. Prior to his ten-year tenure at the Treasury Department, he worked at the U.S. General Accounting Office for seven years. Mr. DeMarco received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. jboy

    September 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Didn't know his name. I would like to see our government govern on the basis of viability instead of maximized profits. I understand that businesses must make money, and Fannie and Freddie both need to as well. But how about we place more importance on health of the market as opposed to gross overspending!?

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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