Homeownership should not be subsidized

Home ownership policy of the Bush and Clinton administrations was, in
essence, an attempt to pay low-income people to make a risky investment
that they would otherwise rationally avoid. I cannot understand why
anyone would think that such a policy would be sensible. In some cases,
these people will do well and enjoy the upside of their investment, but
in other cases they will do poorly, with the result that they will be
worse off than ever.

That's Eric Posner.  You'll note that Henry Paulson has been calling for the mortgage agencies to be resurrected as "public utilities" of some sort.  I don't understand this path.  There is a very good (modern) liberal case against more home ownership: behavioral economics is true, people overestimate their prospects, poor people shouldn't take too much risk, and the natural market tendency is too much home ownership, not too little. That's without taking environmental issues into account.

Here is a recent Richmond Fed article, skeptical of the idea of homeownership subsidies.


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