Kent Colton

Kent Colton

The Ivory Prize and Innovations in Affordable Housing

Ep. 16 - Kent W. Colton serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and is the President of the Colton Housing Group. Discover the Ivory Prize with him. He 30+ years of experience as a housing scholar and expert in the field of mortgage finance and affordable housing policy. He was the CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, a position he held from 1984 to 1999. He previously served as an Executive Vice President of Freddie Mac for Policy, Planning and Economic Research. He was a member of the Millennial Housing Commission, and Staff Director of the President's Commission on Housing. He was a White House Fellow in 1974-1975. He was a Professor at Brigham Young University's Graduate School of Management, and Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning.  He has written numerous articles and books on housing finance, housing policy, the secondary mortgage market, and a range of management issues, and is the author of Housing in the Twenty-First Century: Achieving Common Ground.

"Achieving change not only depends on innovation but also on finding common ground. We also have to figure out ways to work together. Whether it's at the local community level or when we are trying to establish policies."

Kent Colton is a sought-after voice in housing policy. As president of the Colton Housing Group and senior research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, he has a sweeping knowledge of the long effort to ensure all Americans have adequate and fair housing.

In this episode he dives into the policy of the housing finance system, credit quality, the policy successes over the years, and the pitfalls unveiled by events like the great recession. Anyone who wants a deep understanding of the current housing issues and what the future holds will want to hear what Colton has to say.

Top Takeaways:

  • What it means for Fannie May and Freddie Mac to be fully owned by the government as opposed to being run by shareholders years ago
  • How the housing supply shortage is leading to hike in housing prices today and the expected consequences
  • The regulatory barriers that are stopping affordable housing from further developing
  • The existing interesting opportunities for young people to join the housing sector today
  • The state of the real estate market developments where opportunities lie

Key Moments:

Kent shares the role he played in housing since finishing school at MIT in the early 1970s [2:55]

He talks about the first commission he was involved with which had three projections finance, government housing policy, and regulatory reforms [4:33]

He explains the conservatorship status of Fannie May and Freddie Mac [11:47]

How the housing market has changed over the years and the cause of higher housing prices especially in California [15:19]

The changes that need to be made in zoning regulations and permitting processes by cities [22:04]

Kent explains the two-part contents of his book- the history of housing over the last 50 years and common grounds case studies [27:04]

Why he considers the housing finance system and involving technology in housing as part of his legacy [30:25]

How young people today can join the housing sector whether privately and publicly [36:17]

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