It is another four years for U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. Another four years battling it out with Republican-dominated Congress. It is to be expected that the president will face a stiff challenge to get his measures passed, just like before.
One area where the Democratic Party is expected to get some cooperation from their Republican counterparts is in housing. The foreclosure crisis that rocked the real estate industry in the past six years has seemingly taught legislators how important cooperation is in solving this particular problem.
Where Housing is Now
Obama will be starting his second term at office with a slightly improved housing sector. At least, compared to the first time he got elected. Sales of homes are up and prices are also rising. Foreclosure filings are down in most areas and inventories of houses for sale are starting to dwindle.
As the home sector improves, so does the confidence of homebuyers and investors. A lot more people are seeing real estate as a viable investment opportunity, with independent investors accounting for a considerable percentage of buyers in the past year. After all, there is more than one way to earn profits from real estate investments.
A big number of these independent investors are people who feel that they will gain more by investing in cheap foreclosures than relying on their 401(k) accounts. As returns from 401(k) retirement accounts continue to decline, more Americans are getting convinced that investing their money on foreclosed homes that they can rent out or sell later is better than relying on their retirement savings.
What the Next Four Years Can Bring
Despite improvements in the housing industry, it is a fact that more efforts are needed to bring housing back to normal. Prices and sales may be rising and inventories may be declining, but there are still a lot of homeowners who are underwater and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.
This is the main issue that the Obama will need to address as he starts his second term at office. Majority of housing analysts expect the government to introduce more refinancing programs to get underwater homeowners out of trouble and to prevent whatever progress has been made from being undermined. And in this, Republicans and Democrats are likely to be on the same side.
Regulations on bank lending are also issues that the Congress is expected to address the moment it reconvenes. And so is reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that have played such important roles in real estate. Housing may just determine what legacy Obama will leave when he steps down four years from now. Every American is surely hoping that it is a good one.