U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro will answer questions about a variety of housing topics in a fireside-chat style event on the morning after President Obama's state of the union speech on Wednesday, January 21, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The live-streamed event, hosted by online real estate information marketplace Zillow and moderated by Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries, will start 9:15 a.m. EST on Wednesday. Castro will take questions from a live audience at the Newseum as well as through social media. Castro is expected to discuss such topics as the Obama Administration's most recent housing initiatives, responsible homeownership, making the decision to buy vs. rent, and resources available to first-time homebuyers.
"Between low mortgage rates and quickly rising rents, many first-time homebuyers are seriously considering buying," Humphries said in a prepared statement. "But the market can be tough to navigate, and there are many government programs that can help. Zillow's mission is to help homeowners, renters and prospective buyers make smarter choices about real estate, and we are thrilled to connect Americans across the country with Secretary Castro."
The conversation will be broadcast as part of Zillow's Housing Roadmap to 2016 Series, which is a tour that explores the housing issues Americans face both in neighborhoods and communities and how they affect the country. The conversation will be a sounding board for new ideas as Zillow takes on the problems and issues Americans face where housing is concerned and attempt to find creative an innovative solutions, according to Zillow.
Questions can be submitted through social media by tweeting @Zillow using the hashtag #HousingInAmerica.
The Obama Administration has been heavily touting housing reform and recovery as the president heads into his final two years in office. Last month, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lowered the down payment to 3 percent for qualifying first-time buyers, and earlier this month the FHA lowered its mortgage insurance premiums by 50 basis points to 0.85 percent for first-time buyers. Two weeks ago, Obama spoke in Phoenix about the progress America (and Phoenix in particular) has made toward housing recovery. Castro, who is approaching his six-month mark as HUD Secretary, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last week and declared 2015 to be a "year of housing opportunity."