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September 6, 2011

Share Your Home Equity Appreciation To Avoid Foreclosure

Hi Folks,

   Welcome back. We have a cool topic to discuss today, and I want to dive right in so we can get to your opinions, thoughts, comments.

   "Lenders could write down mortgages in exchange for claims on future appreciation – potentially making it a win not only for homeowners but also for lenders and investors". This comes from an article from Fortune/CNN titled, "A mortgage fix for lenders and homeowners: Shared equity" by Nin-Hai Tseng.

   Yes, perhaps this is something you toyed around with in your head before and said to yourself; "Wait...this can't be legal". News Flash - Harvard University's Kenneth Rogoff and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Bill Wheaton have made this proposal, in which, as they suggest that "the government should facilitate mortgage write-downs in exchange for claims on a percentage of future appreciation – potentially making it a win not only for homeowners who owe more on their homes than their properties are worth, but also a win for lenders and investors who would eventually be repaid for giving borrowers a break."

   Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, Real Estate correlates with the larger Economy and spending and growth. As Tseng writes, the Obama administration is studying a variety of options, and as reported by the New York Times, this includes the potential to allow "millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at today's lowest interest rate of about 4%", and also includes the possibility of "tweaking existing refinancing programs so that more homeowners take part."

   And now...back to the Proposal.

   Tseng provides a hypothetical example of someone with a home that they purchased for $100,000, which is now worth $60,000, and which puts them on the ugly side by $40,000 ("underwater mortgage"). The proposal would be for the mortgage company to restructure the loan for the borrower at $60,000, which would keep the borrower in the home, and in exchange for the lower payments, there mortgage company would have a stake in the "future appreciation" of the home. So, for a 50% stake, if the price of the home appreciated to $90,000 and was sold, the appreciation would be $30,000, and 50% of the sales proceeds ($15,000) would go to the mortgage company.

   Taking this one step further, if that same property increases in value to $140,000, that would be an $80,000 appreciation, of which $40,000 would go to the mortgage company, thus, as Wheaton says, the lender would recover all its money.

   But there are some variables to take into account here. Tseng pointed out in the article that the speculation regarding the substantial rise in home value presented in the article above is a big "if". Also, it was mentioned that the lender could potentially, "put a clause into the loan that keeps the owner in the home until the value of the property recovers a designated amount", and says that this could "make the deal more complicated and potentially less attractive for the homeowner". Tseng also adds that home prices need to "actually appreciate" for this to work (Tseng provides the example of a high-volume of housing inventory that will keep prices down for a while), and that the lender could still see losses (perhaps not as much as in a foreclosure).

   Nevertheless, Tseng says, "the idea of shared equity between lender and borrower is worth a serious look", and points to previous programs that were not decisive in stemming foreclosures (i.e. Hope for Homeowners in 2008 and Making Home Affordable Plan, or HAMP, in 2009). Nothing has really had enough bite, so far.

   A very important point raised by Manuel Adelino, a real estate finance professor at Dartmouth University, as to why we are not seeing more loan modifications, was that the banks, "don't really know who to give them to", and he adds that if the banks decide to give them only to people who are delinquent on their mortgage payments, then it gives them and others "the incentive to be delinquent".

   So, who could this proposed plan benefit right now, given the current market and the excess housing inventory mentioned above? Borrowers and Lenders. Tseng said that it could lessen the impact of losses occurred from foreclosure to both borrowers and lenders.

   Tseng also said that it does not let borrowers "off the hook, at least not easily", and says that if Wall Street got its bailout ("even if unwillingly"), "shouldn't Main Street get a chance?".

   I think this is a great idea, if for no other reason than cutting foreclosure losses for both sides, eliminating the stigma of the foreclosure process, and putting the framework in place for when home prices do rebound.

   Never mind what I think...What do you think?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #sharedequity #foreclosure #refinancingprogram #underwatermortgage #HAMP #mortgagepayment #homeprices

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