Archive for the ‘Mortgages’ Category

Rich House

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Mortgages
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“Buying a more expensive home every time you get a big raise is a great way to ensure that you will never get rich.  What you want to do is find the least expensive house you can love and keep.  The longer you keep it, the more income you will have to invest in the sorts of assets that will, eventually, make you rich.” -Mark Ford

“Before you refinance, you need to look at your break-even point, your cash-flow needs, and the length of time you expect to stay in your house….   You have to know what your total savings will be over the life of the loan.” -Bob Irish

Fannie Mae announced that it will offer a HomePath Ready Buyer Program.  They will offer up to 3% toward the purchase price of a home (if they take a home buyer education course).

“That’s right: We’re back to 3% down payments, rebated. And we’re back to the feds (Fannie Mae is a government entity) encouraging people to load themselves down with mortgage debt.  ‘Stimulus’, is what they call it.  ‘A debt trap’ is what it really is.” -Bill Bonner

Fannie Mae is already in receivership with the assistance of the government.  Now, they will be putting even more on their backs with this program.  This low down payment program didn’t end up so well just a few years ago, now it is being reinvented.

Is home ownership “affordable” if someone needs assistance?

Forever Loans

Posted: May 30, 2014 in Mortgages
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Mortgage loans rarely get paid off.  Instead, they just go on forever, from one ‘owner’ to the next.” -Bill Bonner

“What really happens is the financial industry borrows funds at a rate of interest near zero to make mortgage loans. Aided and abetted by Fannie Mae, it is now landlord to 44 million Americans. The poor “homeowner” is turned into a mortgage slave. He is stuck for life – or longer – making payments on a house that cost the financial industry nothing.” -Bill Bonner

“This paper has investigated the effect of government assistance on bank risk taking. While we do not find a significant effect of government assistance on the aggregate credit supply, our results suggest a considerable effect on the risk of originated loans.

After being approved for federal funds […] participants issue riskier loans and increase capital allocations to riskier, higher-yield securities, as compared to banks that were denied federal funds. [T]he net effect is a significant increase in systemic risk and the probability of distress at approved banks. Overall, our evidence is broadly consistent with the theories that predict an increase in risk taking incentives as a result of government protection.” -Journal of Financial Economics, Professors Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura

Well, here we ago again.  Up until now, most of the “questionable” home loans available since the housing meltdown have been rural development loans offered through the USDA.  The questionable part in my mind are the “no down payment required” and “guaranteed loan” aspects.  But, according to a Reuters article, Wells Fargo is again planning to jump back into the “subprime” market.  Why?  Because they are experiencing a downturn in revenue.  Hmm, does this seem like a sound business decision?  (GM is also selling cars to subprime customers to help their sales).  Does this sound promising?

Some interesting points from the Reuters article makes me scratch my head:

1.  “…loosening of credit standards could boost housing demand…”  Shouldn’t demand for housing be boosted because people can actually afford them?  Isn’t it a false demand by any other standard?

2.  “To avoid the taint associated with the word ‘subprime’, lenders are calling their loans ‘another chance mortgages’ or ‘alternative mortgage program’.”  Does changing the name of something actually make it better?  Does duping people make these mortgages safer?

3.  “If the borrower does not meet those hurdles and later defaults on a mortgage, he or she can sue the lender and argue the loan should never have been made in the first place.”  Seriously, then why do we make the purchaser sign on the bottom line?  That point was missed during the initial crisis; purchasers were simply considered victims.  Everyone wants to blame the bank.  Thank you Dodd-Frank!

4.  “Subprime mortgages were at the center of the financial crisis, but many lenders believe that done with proper controls, the risks can be managed.”  I am sure they thought the same thing last time.  Risk is guaranteed to be risky; a la the recent death of the snake handling pastor.

5.  “The bank is looking to lend to borrowers with weaker credit, but only if those mortgages can be guaranteed by the FHA.  Because the loans are backed by the government, Wells Fargo can package them into bonds and sell them to investors.”  And there we have it!  Guaranteed by the government!  In other words, by the American taxpayer!  Let’s see, what would I provide to the American consumer if the government will guarantee it?  Anything!  The second part of the quote explains exactly what they were doing before, turning them into investments.  Subprime investments,  I’ll pass.

It looks like the strategy must be paying dividends.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Household debt jumps as banks loosen up.”  Wells Fargo knows what works to get people borrowing.  The interesting thing is that they still haven’t resolved all of their issues with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the original crisis, but see no issues with stepping back into those familiar waters.

All I can say is, good luck with that….