Friday Five: Housing Gets Spotlight; Foreign Buyers to the Rescue

In this week’s top news, the president and the Federal Reserve go on the offensive to help the housing market, but do their plans have what it takes to get the job done?

Last week, President Obama announced an executive order to help home owners refinance their mortgages, and now the Federal Reserve is considering measures to reduce borrowing costs. Is housing finally getting the attention it deserves? Read the top housing news, including more on the bipartisan housing commission and how foreign home buyers could help our economy, in this week’s Friday Five.

Huffington Post: Housing is Back on the National Agenda

Last week, President Obama and Ed DeMarco, the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced their intention to remove barriers that have kept working home owners from refinancing home loans into low-interest rates. Huffington Post blogger Janis Bowdler thinks this looks promising for Latino families and home owners.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Bernanke Housing Rebound May Hinge on Access to Refinancing

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke can’t go it alone when it comes to reviving the U.S. housing market. Federal policymakers are considering buying mortgage-backed securities to push down borrowing costs and help home owners refinance their debt.

U.S. News & World Report: Can Foreign Buyers Save the U.S. Housing Market?

Ultra-low and declining home prices are a headache for home owners, but they might also be the key to healing the housing market as foreign investors snap up real estate bargains in the United States.

HouseLogic: Housing Commission: A Sign Policymakers Finally Get Home Ownership?

Reaching consensus in Washington is more difficult today than ever before, but the housing crisis is too big of an economic burden for a new bipartisan commission to get bogged down in politics.

NPR: Official: No ‘Silver Bullet’ to Solve Housing Crisis

The White House says it will help millions of people hold onto their homes through a government-backed modification program. But critics are skeptical the plan will be a success, in part because of the dependence on the goodwill of banks to voluntarily join up. Raphael Bostic, the assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, tells NPR that he doesn’t think there is a “silver bullet” for solving the housing crisis.