Families can’t afford rent, housing prices: Fannie Mae CEO

Despite a strong market, American families are facing unaffordable housing, Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos told FOX Business on Tuesday.

“The greatest challenge in housing now is not home price appreciation but really affordability for families,” Mayopoulos told Dagen McDowell during an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria.”

The government-sponsored enterprise, which provides housing finance for homebuyers and renters in the U.S., cites lack of wage growth as the culprit.

“Rents and home prices are increasing at a faster rate than wages are,” he added.

However, Mayopoulos sees technology as the silver lining for the industry.

“I think technology and innovation is the greatest opportunity,” he said. “We have been spending an enormous amount of time and our energy focused on how to bring technology to housing finance to make it faster, easier, simpler, less expensive and in the end, much safer for consumers and lenders and for the overall market and also at the same time protect taxpayers.”

Fannie Mae was bailed out by the U.S. government at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. When asked about potential privatization he replied: “I think housing finance reform as a legislative matter has been pretty allusive for policymakers so there’s a lot of debate and that continues and that’s not something that we control or try to influence.”

He added: “But I think that the good news is the starting point for that discussion today, 10 years after the crisis, is very different than it was 10 years ago.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to keep the pressure on both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the coming months.

“I am determined that we have a fix to the GSEs [government sponsored enterprises] and that we don't leave them in conservatorship for the rest of the time,” he told Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria” on Monday.