I could go on and on and on (and on) but let me save my breath - my warnings in late 07 and early 08 about Fanfredron (fannie + freddie + enron) went on deaf ears, so instead I'll clap and say good on you folks. Buying a $115K house for 67 cents is something our foreign readers must only cry in agony they have no opportunity to do. Those darn French and Germans still have to pay 20% down (snicker).
Can you see the 3 AM informercial now?
"For less than the price of a candy bar, you too can be a home 'owner'. Only in America!"
Next step as we wind our way through the Ponzi Matrix? When the government pays YOU to buy the home.
- When the housing bubble burst, one of the culprits, economists agreed, was exotic mortgages, including those that required little or no money down. But on a recent evening, Matthew and Hannah Middlebrooke stood in their new $115,000 three-bedroom ranch house here, which Mr. Middlebrooke bought in June with just $1,000 down. (well at least he had $1000 saved)
- Because he also received a grant to cover closing costs and insurance, the check he wrote at the closing was for 67 cents. (well at least he had 67 cents saved) “I thought I’d be stuck renting for years,” said Mr. Middlebrooke, 26, who earns $32,000 a year as a producer for a Christian television ministry.
- Although home foreclosures are again expected to top two million this year, Fannie Mae, the lending giant that required a government takeover, is creeping back into the market for mortgages with no down payment.
- Mr. Middlebrooke’s mortgage came from a new program called Affordable Advantage, available to first-time home buyers in four states and created in conjunction with the states’ housing finance agencies.
- Some experts are concerned about the revival of such mortgages. “Loans that have zero down payment perform worse than loans with down payments,” said Mathew Scire, a director of the Government Accountability Office’s financial markets and community investment team. “And loans with down payment assistance” — like Mr. Middlebrooke’s — “perform worse than those that do not.” (you and your... your... facts!)
- “This is subprime lending done right,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an umbrella group for 600 community organizations, and a staunch critic of the lending industry. “If they had done subprime this way in the first place, we wouldn’t have these problems.” (yeh! Wait, I thought people who could not even save 3% down used to be called renters? Nevermind - that's old school)
- The loans are 30-year fixed mortgages, with mandatory homeownership counseling, available to people with credit scores of 680 and above (720 in Massachusetts). The buyers have to put in $1,000 and must live in the homes. After six months, there are no delinquencies so far, said Kate Venne, a spokeswoman for the agency. (whew, made it through 6 months.... coast is clear)
- The agencies buy the loans from lenders, then sell them as securities to Fannie Mae. Because the government now owns 80 percent of Fannie Mae, taxpayers are on the hook if the loans go bad.
[Aug 13, 2010: Luxury NYC Condos Now Get FHA Backing]
[Feb 9, 2010: WSJ - No Exit in Sight for US as Fannie, Freddie Flail]
[Nov 18, 2009: Toll Brothers CEO - "Yesterday's Subprime is Today's FHA"]
[Sep 7, 2008: Bailout Nation Continues - Fannie/Freddie Now Owned by You]