Facts about Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was passed by the Congress over the weekend and signed into law by President Obama yesterday, the Treasury Department today released a fact sheet on details of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (PDF file) that will help struggled homeowners to fight foreclosure. The plan, as Obama described, “will not save every home, but it will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild.”

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan has three parts. According to the Treasury report, the goal is to help up to 9 million homeowners either refinance their existing mortgage to reduce monthly payments to or modify their loans so they can stay current with their mortgage payment and won’t lose their homes to foreclosure. It will also support the recovery of the housing market by strengthening Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that they can keep providing low rate mortgages to potential homebuyers while reducing monthly payments of existing homeowners. In summary, the plan will

  1. Provide access to low-cost refinancing for responsible homeowners suffering from falling home prices: This part of the plan is for those homeowners who owe more than 80% of the value of their homes. Falling home prices make them difficult to refinance their existing mortgage. Up to 4 to 5 million homeowners can benefit from the plan.
  2. Use a $75 billion homeowner stability initiative to prevent foreclosures and help responsible families stay in their homes: This plan calls for cooperation between the Treasury Department and other federal agencies such as GSE and FHA to help up to 3 t0 4 million homeowners, whose homes are at risk, prevent foreclosure by modifying their existing mortgage.
  3. Support low mortgage rates by strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: This part of the plan will increase government funding to Fannie and Freddie so they can keep mortgage affordable to potential home buyers.

Now we have the money, hundreds of billions of dollars, and we have the plan, not just one, but a few of them, in place, how soon will the housing market rebound when millions of people have lost their jobs and home prices and new home construction permits keep plunging? Without a recovery in the housing market first, the economy won’t be back on track any time soon.

BTW, check out this Rick Santelli of CNBC “Chicago Tea Party” video. He sure has a point!

*Photo from Activerain.com

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15 Responses to “Facts about Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan”

  1. Tim |  Feb 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    sounds like how we got into this mess to begin with: make housing affordable.

    sounds like how we got into this mess to begin with: banks, start lending money

  2. Sun |  Feb 19, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Tim: There’s nothing wrong to make housing affordable to everybody, but banks should use their due diligence when lending out money to people instead of just being greedy. But I doubt banks will lend more even with the pressure from the Fed. They are just going to hoard the cash to improve their balance sheet.

    Now we have a patient, the first priority is to cure the patient :)

  3. Tim |  Feb 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    @sun: you are wrong. If people can’t afford to own a home, they can’t afford to own a home. They can rent. They can earn more money and save until they can own a home. We should not subsidize housing. The basic premise of this bill is to reward bad behavior. People seem to forget that we already gave out $300billion, yes $300billion, in the homeowner’s bill last Fall. Did people forget about that? They must have, because it was secondary to the TARP and everyone focused on TARP. The end result was, as should have been glaringly obvious, that over 50% defaulted again. Go figure! People who couldn’t afford the home to begin with still can’t afford the home.

    Congress dog and pony show yelling at bank CEOs was stupid. Congress wants the banks to lend freely again. Duh, too loose lending was how we got into this mess. Banks are lending, they are just lending to folks and companies with excellent credit.

    Now this home owner bill. More billions to reward bad behavior. It subsidizes mortgages for people who can’t afford their mortgages. if they could afford them, then they wouldn’t be in default. That has nothing to do with banks.

    Duh! banks are in it to make money. The whole notion that greed is evil is stupid in a capitalistic society. This is the premise of companies: to make money. Yeah, ok, so lenders freely lent, which the govt heavily supported. That has nothing to do with the consumer signing the dotted line.

    The banks should be hoarding the TARP money, because of the sheer number of defaults. if they freely lend TARP money out again to everyone and anyone, they are going to have tons more defaults on top of their existing defaults. The underlying premise is lend money which will invariably lead to more defaults.

    Screw affordable housing. Seriously. Home ownership isn’t a right. People can rent if they can’t afford. The housing problem was started in 1991 when this whole affordable housing for everyone push started. We should not be subsidizing home ownership to people who are in homes they should never have been in to begin with. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we are doing.

  4. Jon |  Feb 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    What do you have to do to actually utilize part #1 of the plan?

  5. Sun |  Feb 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    @Tim: I agree with you that home ownership isn’t a right. People should work hard to earn their home instead of being given by the government. However, right now the problem I think is that the government just can’t let millions of people lose their homes to foreclosure given how bad things have already been, even though homeowners themselves are those who are responsible to pay their bills. It’s like those big banks such as Citi and BoA, and Detroit automakers. They are kind of too big (at least in terms of the consequences) too fail. I think the government just can’t afford to let millions of families to sleep on the street. It’s not really rewarding people with bad behaviors and punishing those who are paying their mortgage bills every month. It’s the thing that the government has to do, even though we know it isn’t the right thing to do.

    Speaking of who’s the responsible for creating this mess, I think banks should share more blames than individual buyers. Everybody wants to own their own home, but not everybody can afford it. It’s mainly the bank’s responsibility to make sure the buyer has means to pay for it. However, banks were very creative to make people think they don’t have to have a job, a steady income to buy a house by creating an illusion that buying a house is like getting a cash cow, you can withdraw money any time you want because home price can only go up. The banks should have applied the same amount of scrutiny before as they do now.

  6. Golfing Girl |  Feb 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    @Tim
    You couldn’t be more correct. Not everyone NEEDS or DESERVES a house. It’s the same with college educations. Not everyone NEEDS or DESERVES to go to college yet we have masses of gen X and Y’ers out there with crazy student loan balances. You should have to prove that you can repay the loan (a.k.a. a job) and you should have to have a B average in high school to qualify for a student loan.

  7. Golfing Girl |  Feb 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    RE: my last comment. I meant that you need a job for the home loan, not the student loan. :) And no need for a B average for the home loan, just the student loan.