President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is an incentive for homeowners who have less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second part attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. Here is a brief overview of both initiatives.
Less than 20% equity in your home? Under current rules, those families who own less than 20% equity in their homes have a difficult time taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. This initiative is open to homeowners who have conforming loans that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The plan would enable them to move to a new loan for up to 105% of their homes value.
According to the plan, “credit-worthy” or “responsible” homeowners can refinance their mortgage into a 30- or 15-year, fixed-rate loan based on current market rates. The new loan, however, cannot include prepayment penalties or balloon payments. For many families, this low-cost option may help reduce their monthly payments by up to thousands of dollars per year. As with the rest of the plan, details about this initiative will be released at a future date-including what, if any, credit score requirements will be included.
On the verge of default? This initiative aims at providing help to individual families as well as entire neighborhoods by helping reduce foreclosures and stabilize home prices. It is intended to help homeowners who are struggling to afford their monthly payments, but cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen significantly. The goal of this initiative is simple: “reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels.” Homeowners who are current on their loans but are struggling can still apply for this program. As such, this is one of the few programs designed to help homeowners who may face delinquency soon, but are current at the moment.
Since the focus of this initiative is on helping families and neighborhoods, investment properties do not qualify.
These plans-combined with today’s historically low interest rates-have created an unprecedented opportunity for homeowners as well as homebuyers. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I’d be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.