The latest mortgage aid plan proposed by the Obama administration seeks to encourage underwater homeowners to keep making mortgage payments by paying down a portion of their principal. This could prevent many homeowners from walking away from their mortgages when they owe much more than what their home is currently worth. The following article from Blown Mortgage, explains more details of the plan.
Home mortgage aid plans are hard to design. Because of how the ideologies behind open market and social responsibility are polarized no matter what you do with a mortgage aid plan pretty much half the nation is going to disagree with you.
Obama’s new mortgage plan is not perfect, not even his closest aides will say that. Its strongest opponents will point out that the new mortgage plan does not really cover for homes that have seriously dropped in value in the last months/years. Most of the families in trouble live in homes that have lost serious value, so there is a question mark in how effective this mortgage modification plan is going to be.
However the new plan has managed to incentivize the payment of mortgages and their previous modification so that it is worthwhile for banks and borrowers. This might not be enough to tip the scales on the millions of households that are at risk of losing their home this year but then again, it might.
If anything does help to tip the scales on the current crisis is to make it attractive for homeowners to pay their mortgage as well as reducing it’s principal and making it affordable on a monthly basis. Let’s face it, if your home is under water (it is worth less than what you owe on it) and there is no prospect of prices going up and you are struggling to pay the mortgage you might be inclined to cut your losses, give up and let the home go. Of course if someone is willing to give you some extra incentive to pay your mortgage and make it affordable, you might just give it a try.
What incentives does the Obama Mortgage Plan offer?
There are two main benefits or incentives homeowners that are in the red can take advantage of.
1. Once their mortgage has been modified and monthly payments begin the Treasury will pay an incentive for every mortgage payment a borrower pays on time that goes to pay the principal balance of the loan(The cash you actually borrowed, not the interest). This is interesting because it will help reduce the length of the loan and the amount of interest paid on it. Over a five year period this “incentive” could help reduce the principal on the loan by $5,000. Reducing the principal of the mortgage has of course even greater repercussions as years go by. If you have a 15 year mortgage and you reduce your principal by $5,000 in the first five years you will be actually saving yourself over $3,000 in interest by the end of your mortgage.
2.There is a trial period of three months before any modification is permanent. During those three months the homeowner must pay his mortgage on time. If he does he gets $1,000 from the government every year for next three years. If the mortgage isn’t paid on time there is no deal.
These are not huge benefits but they are something and they might just help people start thinking in a different way and help people dig themselves out of financial trouble.
This article has been republished from Blown Mortgage.