Obama talks housing market in weekly address

President calls on Congress to pass mortgage refin

(CNN) - President Barack Obama highlighted the housing crisis of 2007 and 2008 in his weekly address Saturday, calling on Congress to act and pass a mortgage refinance measure.

Meanwhile, Republicans introduced Vernon Parker from Arizona, who is running for Congress, and spoke on the jobs plans the party supports.

A bubble in the housing sector was at the center of the economic turmoil several years ago. A report released by the analytics firm Fiserv on Wednesday found the market nationwide was beginning to recover, but had a long way to go before returning to 2007 levels. Housing prices dropped a third during that time, and Fiserv projected average growth of approximately 3.7 percent over each of the next five years.

The hardest hit state - the election year battleground of Nevada - could be decades out from recovery: housing prices there dropped nearly 60 percent since 2007, and with Fiserv's projected growth of 2.3 percent, it would take 40 years for prices to break even.

Obama recognized this reality in his remarks.

"The truth is, it's going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover," he said. But it's going to take a lot more time - and cause a lot more hurt - if Congress keeps standing in the way."

He urged Congress to pass the Home Affordable Refinance Program measure that would triple the number of homeowners who would be eligible to refinance their mortgage, according to data from the White House.

And Obama included a jab at Mitt Romney, who said in a 2011 interview with a Nevada newspaper that the housing market would be served best by not trying "to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom."

Obama said, "I know that there are some who think that the only option for homeowners is to just stand by and hope that the market has hit bottom. I don't agree with that."

The president has made a theme of calling for Congressional action in his recent weekly addresses, while Republicans typically use theirs to argue that Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate is sitting in the way.

This week, Republicans did not have a congressman, senator, or governor speak, but rather the Arizona congressional candidate.

Parker advocated for repeal of Obama's health reform law and development of an alterative, reform of the tax code, and "reining in all of the excessive red tape that is making it harder to live, work, hire and do business."

But Obama, Parker said, puts government first.

"He actually wants to raise taxes on small businesses. He wants to keep our own energy resources under lock and key, including the Keystone XL pipeline," Parker said.

Parker also shared some of his personal story. He is the first in his family to attend college, he said, then went on to law school.

"All along, I would always tell myself that if I ever got out of the environment I grew up in, I would work hard to get others out and make it easier for them to have the same opportunities that have given me a chance to make a difference," he said.

Members of Congress are out of D.C. again this week, many campaigning for reelection at home. Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are both off of the campaign trail Saturday, while their running mates have campaign events.

Obama and Romney face off in the first presidential debate Wednesday.

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