President Obama today declared that the housing market has reached a point where it is "healing" and reaffirmed the administration's commitment to promoting initiatives that benefit responsible homeowners, including measures encourage refinancing at low rates.
"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," Obama said in his weekly address. "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.
"But we've got more work to do," he added. "We've got more responsible homeowners to help - folks who have never missed a mortgage payment but aren't allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they're worth."
As he highlighted the administration's initiatives to boost the housing market, the president called on Congress to confirm Mel Watt, who he recently nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
"He's the right person for the job, and that's why Congress should do its job and confirm him without delay," the president said.
Obama also urged Congress to pass additional measures that would allow homeowners to refinance their homes at low rates.
"Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress - but we could do so much more if we work together," he said. "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."
While gun control and a battle over government spending has dominated much of the president's agenda this year, the White House has made an direct push this week to turn attention to the economy. On Thursday, the president held a series of events promoting innovation and job creation in the technology industry as part of his "Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours," which he will continue next week with events in Baltimore.
With Mother's Day ahead this weekend, Republicans used their weekly address to promote the "Working Families Flexibility Act," introduced by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who delivered the GOP's weekly address.
"While we may not be able to legislate another hour into the day, we can help working Americans better balance life's demands by offering more flexibility for time away from work," Roby said. "This bill provides options for working moms and dads who need more time to take care of family responsibilities. It also demonstrates how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives."