Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged lawmakers to form strong housing policies to help the housing market recovery and advance the economy. Bernanke made the comments during a Q&A session following a speech in Cleveland on Tuesday about emerging market economies.
His remarks come at a time when more than 6.3 million homes are 30 days or more behind on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure, according to Lender Processing Services.
The Fed has taken steps that have been keeping mortgage rates hovering at or near record lows in recent weeks, but with unemployment still high, Bernanke said that record-low interest rates donâ€™t seem to be helping the housing crisis.
During the speech, Bernanke called long-term unemployment a national crisis. About 6.2 million Americans, or 45.1 percent of all unemployed, have been jobless for more than six months a total that is at its highest point since the Great Depression, HousingWire reports in citing government stats.
“Clearly getting more money into the hands of home owners who spend it could help to fuel GDP growth,” Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in remarks on Wednesday. “This would reduce one of the impediments to a more significant effect from the monetary policy actions taken to date.”