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Government Bailout Actually Hurt Housing Recovery: Zell
CNBC.com | February 08, 2012 | 08:56 AM EST

Government intervention has prevented the real estate market from healing, with the commercial sector hit especially hard, investor Sam Zell said.

As sales languish and prices continue to fall, the head of Equity Group Investments and numerous other ventures pinned the blame on policies that refused to allow market forces to take hold.

"Rather than let the elements of the business world take care of the problems, we basically stopped the process of creating market clearing," Zell said in a CNBC interview. "Had we allowed the market to clear without trying to stop reality...we would have a healthy housing market today."

Since the financial crisis began in 2008, Washington lawmakers and President Barack Obama have launched a counterattack against thehousing market's collapse.

Most prominently, the administration implemented the Home Affordable Modification Program, aimed at helping as many as four million distressed homeowners refinance their mortgages at affordable terms. However, the program has reached only about one-fourth its original goal.

In his state of the union address, Obama pledged to expand the efforts to include even those buyers whose mortgages are not owned by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

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