The Obama Administration on Wednesday signed a bill that attempts to inject some hope into the housing rescue program–called Hope for Homeowners.
The original program asked banks to reduce mortgage balances voluntarily to 90 percent of a home’s current market value. The loan would then be refinanced into an FHA mortgage.
The program didn’t work because it forced lenders to sell short with no chance of an upside, says Tom Kelly, a spokesman for JP Morgan Chase.
The new version of Hope sweetens the pot by paying lenders $1,000 for every Hope-refinanced loan and easing the amount they have to write off by allowing loans of up to 93 percent of the market value.
But the most important change is that it allows the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHA’s parent agency, to share home-price appreciation with investors, up to the appraised value of the property when the existing loan was first issued.
This bill originally included cramdown legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify the first mortgage, but that portion of the legislation was defeated in the Senate.
Source: CNNMoney, Les Christie (05/20/2009)
Not everyone was a winner under the program to help troubled homeowners announced Wednesday by the Obama administration.
The refinancing plan does nothing for people whose mortgages have dropped substantially in value because it’s limited to borrowers who owe no more than 5 percent more than their home’s current value. Borrowers who are severely underwater don’t qualify.
It also won’t help borrowers whose main breadwinner has lost a job or those who are drowning in other debts on top of their mortgages.
The ineligible borrowers are concentrated in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, but are also in the Midwest, particularly in Detroit.
“This is not going to save every person’s home,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. “The plan is not intended to … augment somebody’s loan for a house that they couldn’t afford under any economic situation, good or bad.”
Source: The Associated Press, Alan Zibel
“In what may the biggest sign yet that banks are getting serious about attacking the nationwide wave of home foreclosures, giant JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced on Oct. 31 that it is sharply ramping up its efforts to restructure the loans in its massive mortgage portfolio. For the next 90 days, JPMorgan will not place any new homes into foreclosure. “
See this BusinessWeek article HERE
Some closings in New Orleans were delayed by the impending hurricane, mostly because buyers waited until the last minute to secure a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Robert Bergeron, president of Crescent Title, said about a third of the company’s closings were delayed. Most of the delays involved insurance issues, but in a few cases the buyers had language in their sale contract allowing a delay in the event of a hurricane.
But most real estate professionals – and buyers – were savvy enough not to be delayed, says Glenn Gardner, president of operations at Prudential Gardener.
“Since Katrina, people have needed time to shop around to get the best price for their insurance and get it bound way ahead of time,” Gardner says. “For the most part, they already had their insurance set up before Gustav was a threat.”
Source: Times-Picayune, Kate Moran 8/30/