Posted: 31 May 2011 03:30 AM PDT
Republicans in the House of Representatives are introducing legislation to tighten lending standards on government-backed loans to limit the exposure of taxpayers to ongoing price declines.
Irvine Home Address ... 2418 SCHOLARSHIP Irvine, CA 92612
In our two-party political system, the function of the minority party is to oppose policies of the party in power, particularly when the party in power is overreaching or enacting legislation that is not in the best interest of the country. Sometimes, members of Congress act the opposite of adults, and the rhetoric gets heated and sometimes pretty ridiculous. But for the most part, the two-party system is successful in debating ideas and allowing only the most supported to become law.
One of the advantages of the minority party is that they can force uncomfortable public votes on major issues. When the majority party begins pandering to its constituencies with handouts and political seniorage, the minority party can garner attention by introducing good competing legislation and force the majority party to cast an unpopular vote.
The Republicans in the House of Representatives in Washington now hold a majority, and thereby they control the introduction of most new legislation into our grand political theater. They are taking advantage of their majority in the House to force the Democrats which control the Senate and the Presidency to vote down common-sense legislation designed to protect the interests of US taxpayers.
by Adam Quinones -- May 25, 2011
If both provisions above were enacted, the already depleted buyer pool would be made much smaller because it would require much more savings for buyers to close the deal. Raising the down payment requirement from 3.5% to 5% will get the most attention, but the other provision prohibiting buyers from financing their closing costs that will really add to the savings requirement and decimate the buyer pool.
I have sold several houses in Las Vegas to FHA borrowers. On properties selling for less than the $118,000 median, FHA dominates the market. In a typical FHA deal, the buyer submits a full asking price offer but asks for the seller to pay all buyer closing costs which generally run between 3% and 5% of the purchase price. If borrowers are prohibited from financing these costs into the loan, the effective down payment doubles to 7% or more.
By far the most damaging provision to the quantity of buyers in the buyer pool is the prohibition against financing their closing costs.
However, the long-term effect of this will be to have buyers with more of their own money into the deal which makes most borrowers much less likely to strategically default, partly because they are less likely to fall underwater, and partly because they don't want to lose their money in a sale. Despite the horrendous impact this policy would have the in the short term -- and it would inflict a great deal of pain in the most beaten down markets -- the long term impact is nothing but positive.
Senator Bachus is right. The various government guarantees have been used to shift much of the private sector garbage onto the balance sheets of Uncle Sam and the federal reserve. It was a short-term policy designed to keep our banks solvent, but since the various players in the real estate industry gain advantage from the government assignment of risk, they are lobbying to keep their advantage in place.
This is a straw-man argument. This legislation does not argue that down payments are the best indicator of default. It isn't. However, based on the government database of loans in both the GSEs and FHA, the data shows that default rates are inversely related to down payment. As down payments go down, default rates go up. Some of this may be due to the borrower being underwater and hopeless, but much of this documented behavior is because borrowers aren't losing their money.
Does the government really want to disenfranchise creditworthy borrowers? Increased home ownership has been the goal of Congressional public policy and every presidential administration since the 1920s. A declining home ownership rate is not politically popular. The only way a policy that negatively impacts the home ownership rate would be proposed is because the alternative is even less appealing -- endless government bailouts.
To complete their list of causes, they should add unemployment due to the economic collapse that was a direct result of the anti-regulation policies endorsed by groups like the Cato Institute, but I don't want to quibble with their well-reasoned argument....
That's the best policy proposal I have seen come out of Washington. Each one of those provisions would serve to limit the borrower pool to those most likely to repay the debt which in turn limits the exposure of taxpayers to further Ponzi scheme losses.
The change from $729,750 to $625,000 will be effective October 1, 2011. There is no political will to save markets like Irvine where GSE financing between $625,000 and $729,750 is common.
Why should government policy be used to prop up house prices for the upper-middle class? What societal benefit is obtained? Money is fungible, and any assistance the government is providing to upper income households is merely supporting their entitlements.
Is anyone surprised that two California legislators signed on to a bill designed to support the California real estate Ponzi scheme? I'm not.
A stable home ownership rate requires the limiting of access to home loans to those who cannot make the payments. It doesn't serve anyone for lenders to let borrowers move into properties they cannot afford, develop a sense of entitlement to property they cannot afford, and then foreclose on them because the borrower cannot afford it. The cycle merely upsets everyone involved and makes the taxpayer lose money through losses on the insured loan.
It has been a long and painful process as the bubble deflates back to levels of affordability. Housing deflation is not over yet, particularly in markets like ours where price deflation has been slowed by the government meddling. Kool aid intoxication must die, and buyers must give up on the idea of their California house being a substitute wage earner. Until that happens, a few people will overpay, the the slow grind of lower prices will go on.
Welcome to our new normal.
A 50% loss in an Irvine high rise
One of the most obvious signs of the housing bubble was the rise of buildings on the Jamboree corridor about 25 years ahead of when the economics may support it. These properties should never have been built. The units within them are worth less than half of what they were at the peak, and if today's pricing would have been the order of the day back when these were proposed, they wouldn't have been financed.
The owner of today's featured property paid $635,000 back on 1/27/2006. He used a $507,650 first mortgage and a $127,350 down payment. However, on 10/6/2006 he obtained a $150,000 HELOC from Wells Fargo which gave him access to his down payment plus $22,650 in HELOC booty.
Do you think he took the HELOC money, or did he lose his down payment?
And, if he didn't take the HELOC money, do you imagine he wishes he did?
Irvine House Address ... 2418 SCHOLARSHIP Irvine, CA 92612
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