In an attempt to help boost the sluggish economy’s growth President Obama announced a proposal which will allow all homeowners to refinance their mortgages at more attractive rates, even if what they owe on their mortgages is actually more than the worth of the house. This is a crucial issue in many states which are pivotal to Obama’s re-election.
Obama wanted to outline more specific details of the proposal he only outlined in his State of the Union Address concerning finding a way for homeowners to cash in on the nation’s record low mortgage rates. It is estimated that the average homeowner could save about $3,000 a year by re-financing.
Will Congress Agree?
The proposal, however, will need to pass through Congress, which is not necessarily in favor of such a plan if it would allow homeowners to refinance even if they own more to the bank than the actual value of the house, a situation which many homeowners find themselves in today due to the housing slump.
Not As Popular as Predicted
The plan is an enlargement of an already existing program, the Home Affordable Refinance Program. This plan lets borrowers who have government affiliated mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance at more affordable rates. A disappointing one million people have use the plan, much fewer than the 4 to 5 million the Obama administration was predicting. The new plan also expands to include “underwater” borrowers; those that own more than the value of their homes.
Economists in the private sector believe that if the plan is expanded to all borrowers, then about 10 million homeowners would be qualified to refinance, giving the economy a jumpstart not to be underestimated. The Federal Reserve has been more conservative in their assessment of the plan’s impact, saying closer to 2.5 million additional Americans would be eligible to refinance under the terms of the expanded program.
CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, notes that about 11 million Americans are “underwater,” about 1 out of 4 homeowners who have a mortgage.