Let’s say you take all the people who claim to be in trouble on their mortgages. Take those mortgages away, lower the value of the house to the current market price, and calculate the monthly payment based on the current interest rate on the 30-year fixed (and I mean conforming, not jumbo) which is around 6.35 percent. Oh, and by the way the historical average on the 30-year fixed over the last 25 years happens to be 7.89 percent, so I’m offering a deal. How many of those folks could still afford the home? My guess is that some could, but many more could not.
What I’m getting at here is that no matter how far we go in modifying, restructuring, writing down principal on loans in order to stop foreclosures, the bottom line is that most of the borrowers in trouble had no business being in the homes they bought in the first place. You can modify their loans for five years, but they will probably lose the home anyway.
Is that mean? It’s not meant to be. I just think that in order to set the market right we need to let prices fall to where they must and start over again with mortgages, buyers and homes that make sense. We’re all losing money here, but that’s because so many people took advantage of free money during the housing boom (and don’t get me started on how those who didn’t take advantage of that free money still get screwed).
I understand the need to restore the credit markets and stop the crash in housing, but keeping folks in homes that are way beyond their means is just prolonging the pain of the inevitable.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Let home prices fall
CNBC's Diana Olick says let home prices fall and start over again: