Is it time to ease lending standards?

Housing regulators face tough question

Car sales have recovered since the plague of the financial crisis, but the journey has not been as easy for housing. An article in The Wall Street Journal asks the tough question: Should mortgage lending standards ease?

However, the articles notes, "The answer is not that simple."

The hard question for policy makers: Is the drag on housing due mainly to lenders' conservative postures? Or is the real culprit weak demand because entry-level households have soft incomes, more student debt and little savings for a down payment?

Many borrowers haven't recovered fully from the recession. "You need both liquid capital markets and a healthy, financeable borrower base, and we really don't have either," said Sean Dobson, chief executive of Amherst Holdings in Austin, Texas. 

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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