President Barack Obama on Saturday claimed credit for the country's improved housing market and urged the US Congress to approve a new head of an agency that oversees housing loan agencies.
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," Obama said in his weekly Saturday radio and online talk with the US people.
"Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding" and prices are slowly rising. he said.
Since taking office. "I've made it a priority to help responsible homeowners and prevent the kind of recklessness that helped cause this crisis in the first place."
According to Obama, his housing plan has helped more than two million people refinance their mortgages, saving an average of $3000 per year, while his new consumer watchdog agency "is moving forward on protections like a simpler, shorter mortgage form that will help to keep hard-working families from getting ripped off."
The president acknowledged that there was "more work to do," including providing more help for "responsible homeowners" who for different reasons cannot refinance, and working families "who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they're worth."
The US economy "and our housing market are poised for progress -- but we could do so much more if we work together," he said, urging Congress to approve a tax break for home owners.
Obama also urged Congress to approve his nominee to head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the office that oversees major housing loan agencies.