Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Housing and the State of the Union

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama addressed housing and mortgages.  This section of the speech in particular caught my attention:

There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst.  Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt.  So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline.  And while government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief. 

And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates.  (Applause.)  No more red tape.  No more runaround from the banks.  A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.  (Applause.)
I assume this "let every responsible homeowner" refinance thing means the government will somehow insure the amount by which new loans exceed the existing equity in the home, otherwise the millions of up-to-date homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages will never have an opportunity to refinance, at least not anytime soon.  Since such a program if enacted would create a substantial (and quite welcome) uptick in business here at the registry, we'll be watching its progress in Congress very closely.

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