Friday Five: Some Senators Turn Focus to Housing as Election Nears

Sens. David Vitter and Jon Tester push NFIP renewal, and Sen. Scott Brown encourages short sale legislation.

According to a recent spate of polls, housing is one of the top issues on voters’ minds this election year. This might explain why you’re seeing so many candidates in close races taking pro-home ownership positions. This week, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) backed a bill to increase turnaround on short sales, and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joined Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to encourage renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program. All of these headlines and more in this week’s Friday Five.

Marketwatch: Housing Crisis Could Play Key Role in Election

At no time in memory has housing been such a major issue in a presidential election. Sometimes, the topic has hardly garnered more than a passing mention by either political party. But if the findings of several recent polls are any gauge, the eventual candidates and their political parties would be well served to address the nation’s housing crisis head-on.

Springfield Republican: Sen. Scott Brown Backing Bill to Boost Housing Market by Speeding up Short Sales

In an effort to boost the housing market and benefit both sellers and buyers, the junior senator from Massachusetts joined colleagues from both political parties in introducing the Prompt Notification of Short Sales Act.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Sen. David Vitter has Democratic Ally in Support of Flood Insurance Measure

In partisan Washington, it’s not every day that a Democrat and Republican advocate for the same legislation. But that’s what happened last week, when Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., headlined a news conference urging Senate leaders to bring up legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program, including some changes designed to reduce losses caused by home owners who file frequent claims.

HouseLogic: 20% Down Rule Will Stifle Housing Recovery with Majority Unable to Buy

New evidence shows that the 20% minimum down payment rule proposed by federal regulators last year to prevent lenders from making risky loans would discriminate against millions of home buyers and devastate the ailing housing market.

Christian Science Monitor: Housing Market Showing Signs of Turnaround

The real estate market is picking up in 2012. That may not sound like much: 2011 was so dismal — the worst year for sales of new single-family homes since at least 1963 and for total construction spending since 1999 — that this year has to be better, almost by default. But 2012 is shaping up to be more important than that: It could mark the bottom of a five-year housing downturn.