With the official launch Thursday of our new Housing Finance Policy Center (HFPC), the Urban Institute is poised to make major contributions to housing finance policy by providing policymakers, opinion leaders, researchers and the media with much-needed data and data-driven analysis. The Center will enable Urban’s work to inform and be informed by how finance and financial regulation, monetary policy, and global capital flows shape and impact the U.S. housing market, including how housing credit is structured (both ownership and rental), who is able to access that credit, and on what terms.
The Center will be led by Laurie Goodman, formerly of Amherst Securities, with a top-notch team of researchers from the worlds of practice and policy, including Senior Fellows Ellen Seidman and Jim Parrott, Senior Research Associate Wei Li, and Senior Methodologist Jun Zhu. HFPC will enable Urban to enrich its existing research into housing and communities by adding an understanding and analysis of housing finance and the capital markets. The Center will be housed within Urban’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, led by Rolf Pendall.
HFPC will more effectively connect the fields of housing policy and housing finance—which are not typically examined within a unified framework—and to engage in timely, data-driven analyses of policy issues, anticipating problems and potential solutions and responding to them as they emerge. The Center will fill gaps in the data available to researchers and policymakers, and in communications between policymakers and experts whose research can help inform their decisions.
Thursday’s launch event will open with remarks from Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell and additional remarks from the Center’s funders. Center Director Laurie Goodman will introduce Center staff and her research vision for the Center. Adding HFPC to Urban’s existing capabilities creates new opportunities for conversation and analysis that integrate widely varied areas of research, and Senior Fellow Ellen Seidman will moderate a panel discussion about current issues in housing, including demographic changes, fiscal constraints, and credit availability. The panel will feature Goodman, Pendall, Institute Fellow Eric Toder, and Senior Fellows Signe-Mary McKernan and Jim Parrott.
At the launch, the Center will release the first issue of HFPC’s monthly Housing Finance at a Glance publication, which will present, in a manner that meets the needs of policymakers, academics, journalists, and investors, reports on activity in the mortgage market, including government activity. In addition, we will release three new HFPC papers—on the impact of representations and warranties on credit availability, post-GSE capital needs, and eminent domain—and a draft comment letter for the ongoing risk retention rulemaking. Urban’s Opportunity & Ownership program and Tax Policy Center will promote three papers and testimony focused on homeownership and on the mortgage interest deduction.
Following the launch, in addition to a steady stream of data-rich blog posts, issue briefs, and papers, the Center will continue its busy event schedule. Future events include a December 9 lunchtime data talk (the sixth in the series); a November 20 symposium jointly sponsored with CoreLogic; and, on November 21, the first meeting of the Center’s Academic Research Council, a group of 14 leading scholars from around the country.