Housing Briefly Touched On During State of the Union

  • Jan 25th 2012

by Shilpi Paul

Housing Briefly Touched On During State of the Union: Figure 1

While housing was not front and center in last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama did touch upon a couple initiatives and potential bills that would impact homeowners.

President Obama on refinancing mortgages:

“Responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief. 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 interest rates. 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 banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.”

The program, which is an expansion of HARP (which lets borrowers who are current on their mortgages refinance even if they’re way underwater), would be paid for by a fee on financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets. It would loosen the restrictions on who is eligible to refinance their mortgage beyond those who have loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and with long-term rates hitting 3.88 percent last week, the initiative could help individual homeowners. Not that many people have used HARP yet; we’ll see if the newest version will be more popular if it gets through Congress.

President Obama on a new task force that will investigate questionable mortgage lending practices:

“This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy.”

The unit that President Obama described will include officials from the SEC, IRS and the Department of Justice and would be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

See other articles related to: dclofts, mortgage lending, obama, policy, refinancing

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/housing_briefly_touched_on_during_state_of_the_union/4987.

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