Housing experts were none too kind to President Obama after his non-specific mention of housing in a major jobs speech last week, but it appears that his jobs bill, the more heavily promoted policy of the speech, does contain aid for the housing market.
The bill would commit $15 billion for renovations of foreclosed and vacant properties, a plan that would aid housing in two ways: one, it would boost home values; and two, it would provide work for the nation’s struggling construction sector. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan said that “Project Rebuild,” as it’s called, is focused on “attacking the overhang of properties,” or, foreclosed homes that negatively affect the values of adjacent properties. “If you live next door to a house that is foreclosed or vacant, research shows that your house – even if you’re current and making your monthly payment – your houses loses $10,000 on average,” Donovan said. “This is an opportunity to stabilize everyone’s property values in those neighborhoods.” The plan’s funds could be applied to both residential and commercial properties, and for-profit firms will be able to apply for the funds. Like the other measures in the jobs bill, though, it will need congressional approval.