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A better future for housing finance?

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Gene J. Puskar / AP / File

(Read caption) This photo made on Jan. 27, 2011, shows a home for sale in Mount Lebanon, Pa. There is still debate about the government's role in the prime mortgage market, but there seems to be some agreement on other issues in housing finance, writes guest blogger Donald Marron.

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Today was a big one for housing finance. Treasury kicked things off with its much awaited report to Congress on “Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market.” And then the Brookings Institution hosted a full day conference on “Reforming the U.S. Mortgage Market.

Both Treasury’s report and the conference showed that there’s still important debate about the potential merits and demerits of a continued government backstop in the prime mortgage market. Treasury’s three options, for example, run the gamut from no guarantee to a backstop guarantee that kicks in during bad times to a permanent, broad-based guarantee. I’ll have more to say on these options in the future.


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