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Radical Fixes For The Housing Crisis

With mortgage increases at historic lows and foreclosures still all over, we’re talking about radical and practical fixes for housing.

Fixed mortgage rates fell to at or near record lows Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. That's good news for the few who can afford to buy a home or are able to refinance. But the rates have done little to lift the ailing housing market. (AP)

Fixed mortgage rates fell to at or near record lows Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. That's good news for the few who can afford to buy a home or are able to refinance. But the rates have done little to lift the ailing housing market. (AP)

Historic low home mortgage interest rates right now, after the Fed’s latest low-interest vow. Around 4.3 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage. 3.5 percent for a 15-year mortgage.

The irony, of course –- the people who need to refinance most badly can’t. Their home values are underwater. Their credit scores have gone the way of lost jobs.

So the foreclosure tide rolls on. Some big economists are saying we won’t restart the economy until we fix housing. Some radical plans are out there. A housing reset. Should we do it?

This hour On Point: thinking big on American housing.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christopher Mayer, professor of real estate, Columbia Business School, and co-director of the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy at Columbia University. You can find his plan here.

Diana Olick
, real estate correspondent for CNBC.

Zachary Goldfarb, covers President Obama’s economic, financial and fiscal policy for the Washington Post.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “In a normally functioning mortgage market, almost all homeowners would have refinanced their mortgages to take advantage of low rates. Yet today, low interest rates are doing little to stimulate the housing market because of other stresses, including declines in house prices, falling household incomes and banks’ wariness of making loans. “

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