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Politics & Money

What Yellen as Treasury Secretary would mean for housing

Experts weigh in on former Fed Chair’s possible impact on GSE reform and how she could jumpstart the economy

U.S. Treasury

As early as 2005, a prescient Janet Yellen foretold that systemic risk in the housing market could send the U.S. economy plunging into a historic recession. Fifteen years later, as Treasury Secretary, Yellen looks likely to get the chance to tackle another recession, one in which the housing market is arguably stronger than ever.

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday nominated Yellen to lead the Treasury Department as Treasury Secretary, where, if confirmed, she will be tasked with spearheading the revival of an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic – with 12 million people out of work, slowing job gains, and 3 million homeowners in foreclosure. 

Yellen’s nomination is expected to appeal to Democrats, Republicans, and Wall Street – all of which have worked with and expressed admiration for Yellen in the past. She would be among the few Biden cabinet picks likely to pass a nomination hearing with comparatively few bumps and bruises. 

“For them, recommending her for Treasury Secretary was certainly a bipartisan gesture in the sense that Biden essentially skipped the opportunity to make a political statement,” said Tim Rood, head of industry relations for SitusAMC. “Janet Yellen is someone I think is universally accepted and admired.”

More critically, a Yellen appointment signals that the Biden administration would push to increase federal spending to jumpstart the economy, lobby the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low, and slow-roll any Trump administration plans to move the government-sponsored entities out of conservatorship, several mortgage and housing industry veterans told HousingWire. 

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