WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the housing market is healing seven years after the real estate bubble burst.
The administration's policies have helped responsible homeowners save money on their mortgages and stay in their homes, and the consumer watchdog agency is working to protect consumers from being taken advantage of on their mortgages, but there is still more work to do, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
"Our top priority as a nation is reigniting the true engine of our economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class. And few things define what it is to be middle class in America more than owning your own cornerstone of the American Dream: a home," Obama said.
"Today, seven years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing. Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding. And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more families have been able to come up for air, because they're no longer underwater on their mortgages. ...
"My housing plan has already helped more than 2 million people refinance their mortgages, and they're saving an average of $3,000 per year. ...
"Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress – but we could do so much more if we work together. More good jobs. Greater security for middle-class families. A sense that your hard work is rewarded. That's what I'm fighting for – and that's what I'm going to keep fighting for as long as I hold this office.
Obama urged Congress to quickly confirm Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency and take action to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance and save money on their mortgages to keep growing the housing market, support working families and strengthen the economy.