There are lots of problems for American homeowners, but one of the biggest is that foreclosures continue to hit the market. Rather than clearing the glut of foreclosures from the bubble burst that preceded the panic, lenders have been forced to delay the process. That has prevented homeowners in good standing from getting top dollar for their homes.
And now, mortgage delinquencies are on the rise again for the first time since 2009.
The other problem is that banks, fearing looming regulations from the Dodd-Frank financial law and leery of the weakening economy aren’t keen to make loans of any kind, especially when returns are minimal.
The dribbles from the White House on housing have hinted at some big ideas: having the government hold and lease foreclosed homes and even having the government fully take over busted and bailed out mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The trial balloon in today’s New York Times puts the earlier leaks in perspective. The idea is to have the government offer to refinance the mortgages of millions of Americans whose credit scores prevent them from grabbing the lower-than-5-percent commonly available to qualified buyers today.
The administration is envisioning an $85 billion instant stimulus as those with poor credit see their rates drop dramatically. But to do it, the government would likely need to take over Fannie and Freddie.