As a thirteen and a half year mortgage veteran, I was very intrigued. I decided to check out the facts about housing finance in Canada and Western Europe--for the purposes of this discussion I looked at the United Kingdom, France, and Germany and Switzerland to see how their systems of mortgage finance compare with ours.
While it is fine to say that Europe and Canada enjoy the same rate of homeownership as the U.S. the statistics don't bear that out. Where mortgage financing is difficult to obtain, buyers cannot buy their homes and sellers cannot sell. The ultimate effect is that rents become very expensive and properties are soon priced out of the reach of average people. Home ownership becomes a privilege of the wealthy rather than a goal to which all citizens can aspire.
So the question is, do we want to import Europe's system of housing and housing finance to the U.S? What do you think?
Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net/.