flickr image by revdancatt
President Obama flew into Arizona to announce his blueprint for a $75,000,000,000 mortgage bailout known as the “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.”
REALonomics has digested the preliminary outline of this program which claims to “…offer assistance to as many as to 9 million homeowners…” through a combination of loan modifications and propping up of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, support for state housing authorities and financial incentives for lenders to re-tool existing loans for a predefined set of homeowners whose mortgages fall into specific qualifying categories.
How does it Work and who are the Beneficiaries?
Will the President’s plan make a difference and if so, to whom and when? And, is the plan a sound economic model that will actually help homeowners facing foreclosure, as claimed by the administration? Is this another step in the direction of creating a dependency upon the federal government for and on the part of some Americans and lending institutions?
Let’s take a look at the plan and ask some hard questions.
The following memo was sent by Charles McMillan, NAR President to the NAR membership to communicate the specific details of NAR’s lobbying efforts related to the stimulus package. We share this with our readers without edit or comment as a part of our ongoing reporting of NAR’s actions and positions with respect to economy and the Obama administrations actions.
Dear Fellow REALTOR®,
Here’s our take on the Stimulus Bill and Treasury announcements made this week. We look at the Stimulus package AND the Treasury’s package holistically, in compliment with each other – mostly because that’s how the Obama team is looking at it. Your representatives, the NAR Board of Directors, asked us in November to do 4 things (with an unspoken but clearly understood mandate to PRESERVE what we already have). Here they are: 1) get loan limits raised for high cost areas, 2) make the $7,500 tax credit NOT a loan, 3) try to find ways to push interest rates down (which are higher than they should be due to systemic risk right now) by 200 basis points, and 4) help provide solutions to the foreclosure/short sale problem.
So here’s what we have achieved: (1) the loan limits will be raised to $727,000 in high cost areas, (2) the tax credit will be raised to $8,000 with NO payback [a true credit], (3) interest rates have come down 125-150 basis points, and (4) the bill has over $50 billion in it for foreclosure mitigation, with Geitners Treasury plan signaling that the second half of TARP and TALF will be used to mitigate foreclosures through a government guarantee, drive down interest rates by buying another $200-300 billion of mortgage paper from the GSES’s thereby freeing them up to do the same with new mortgages, and Fannie has just agreed to lift the cap of 4 investment properties eligible for loans and raise it to 10.
In addition, we preserved what we have – which some tend to forget is always on the table when these negotiations start up again – mortgage interest deductibility, real estate tax deductibility, and the $250,000/$500,000 cap gains exclusion (an overall package worth more than $100 billion and for some a very attractive funding source for their pet projects).
We did make a run at the $15,000 credit — and we would have loved to have gotten that or the Homebuilders $22,000 credit idea as well as their 5 year loss carry back deal, but they were considered too rich for this program. What it did do though is totally take the debate off of whether a tax credit should be reinstated at all (it expired last year) and whether it was a true credit or a repayable loan, and kept the conversation on how much it should be. It also kept the debate off of ‘what we are willing to give up to get a $15,000 tax credit’ and kept the debate again, on how much it should be. It’s pretty hard to complain when they give you what you ask for and you lose something you never had.
While we study the Treasury specifics on their major role in providing the rest of the housing solution — there is much more to come and we are working diligently with the Administration to help ‘unclog the pipeline’ and get capital flowing into housing again.
Barack Obama sat down with Today Show host, Matt Lauer for an interview about his economic policies. What do you think of the the content of this interview? Does it answer your questions about the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and America’s current policies and practices?
Watch below for Part 1 of the MSNBC video and please comment.
Watch below for Part 2 of the MSNBC video and please comment.