The race to the White House is still months to the finish line, and as Super Tuesday approaches, the wide field of Democratic candidates is slowly narrowing. In this second of a two-part series, we’re highlighting snapshots of the candidates’ housing policies and how they might affect young, first-time buyers. (Missed the first article? Check out the top presidential candidates’ post.)
Pete Buttigieg, Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
The youngest candidate in the field, Buttigieg’s housing policy focuses on rehabilitating existing housing as a pathway to homeownership.
- Support the construction, maintenance, and operation of 2 million rental units
- Implement a new National Housing Act to assist in regulating landlords’ capabilities
- Invest $4 billion in low-income housing programs to assist first-time buyers
- Reinvest in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to protect potential homebuyers from mortgage price inflation
Buttigieg’s “Community Homestead Act,” will focus on turning vacant and unsafe properties into low-cost housing in historically redlined neighborhoods. The pilot program, in select cities, would purchase those properties and offer them to eligible residents. Those residents would own the properties with a 10-year forgivable lien “to encourage rehabilitation.” Funds would also be allocated to revitalize the areas surrounding those properties, including infrastructure improvements, industry development, and job creation.
Amy Klobuchar — U.S. Senator from Minnesota
The first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, Klobuchar’s housing plan aims to build on existing programs to make homeownership more accessible, especially for rural America.
- Expand upon the Low-Income Tax Credit and push for a new, but similar, tax credit
- Modify the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
- Create personal rental emergency savings accounts for non-routine payments in the wake of an unexpected event
- Expand homeownership education programs
- Protect seniors through reverse mortgage reform and tax credits for caretakers
Funding Klobuchar’s plan would come from her proposed increase in the capital gains tax rate, the tax on the sale of an asset, to match the income tax rate of households making more than $400,000. Her infrastructure plan also includes raising the corporate tax rate to 25%.
Michael Bloomberg — Former Mayor of New York City
The most recent addition to the presidential race, Bloomberg’s plan includes a focus on helping more people enter homeownership and build generational wealth.
- Guarantee housing vouchers to those making 30% or less than their area’s median income
- Raise the Earned Income Tax Credit for those with low-income
- Double the federal spend on homelessness to $6 billion annually
- Increase regulations on landlords, lenders, and developers to curb discrimination
To establish the credit required for homeownership, Bloomberg aims to ensure creditors audit their lending practices for racial bias, and consider a wider range of factors when determining credit scores, including on-time bill and rent payments.
Bloomberg’s plan also intends to merge Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-owned backers of mortgage loans. Merging them, while maintaining their government conservatorship, could shield taxpayers from risk by placing all but the most catastrophic of risks on private investors through specialized securities. Supporters of this idea believe it will protect the middle class and shield high-risk buyers from unnecessary risk. Opponents, however, believe it will prevent those higher-risk buyers from homeownership altogether, and stagnate the housing market.
It’s worth noting that each candidate’s housing policies are more broad and complex than the singular issues presented here; we encourage our readers to research each candidate’s website and policy history for more detailed information. In the meantime, don’t forget to send us your questions as we continue our election coverage!
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