Saturday, June 9, 2012

3 new programs aimed at improving the housing market- #1

Can a trio of new policies ease foreclosures and get the market back on track?

Foreclosed homes continue to plague communities, the housing market and the economy. Banks completed 3.2 million foreclosures between 2008 and 2011, and half again as many lurk in a "shadow inventory" that includes homes with seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are in the foreclosure process and those that have been taken over by banks but not yet listed for sale, according to CoreLogic, a mortgage data firm. Many of those homes are vacant, and they sell for about one-third less than other properties, on average.
Foreclosures have been a drag on the market for years, and relief can't come soon enough. But the latest proposed fixes won't get rolling before year-end.
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) helps troubled borrowers by reducing their monthly mortgage payment to 31% of their gross monthly income, usually by reducing their interest rate, extending the loan term, deferring repayment of principal or forgiving some of it. The Treasury has extended the program through the end of 2013, tripling the incentives for lenders that choose to reduce loan principal. Borrowers will begin qualifying under the expanded criteria by this summer. Bank analysts estimate that the beefed-up program will help an additional half-million homeowners. For more, visit

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