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The Trouble with Mortgages

Aug 7, 2008
Have you been looking for a new home lately? If you are one of the lower numbers of Americans looking for a new home and a new mortgage, you might be in for a surprise. New mortgages have gotten more difficult to secure as the housing sector fights to eliminate the defaulting mortgage disasters that have dictated the market activity lately.

While new mortgages might be more scarce, the long-term impact of more stable mortgages cannot be underestimated. Much of the trouble in the housing market currently is due to poor choices by uneducated home buyers and shady practices by lending businesses who were looking for a quick profit without regard to the overall impact these unstable mortgages would have on the economy.

The recent troubles of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in direct result to the ailing mortgage market. Borrowers are paying for the mistakes of others by paying roughly 10% more in monthly mortgage costs. Why the higher costs for people that have not defaulted on their own payments? These additional costs are the answer to the lack of confidence in the real estate market. In other words, not only are new mortgages more scarce, they cost more as well, doubly hitting new home buyers. Unfortunately, these negative aspects do nothing to stimulate the stagnant real estate market as a whole.

The cost of borrowing money has increased as businesses like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have had to borrow money in the bond market to pay for the current mortgages they have received from lenders. As the negative financial situation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sustains, the additional costs are filtered down to lenders looking to establish a new home mortgage. Also, as it is more expensive for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to obtain mortgages, it will increase overall mortgage rates as well.

Last summer, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was roughly 1.5% higher than the yield on a 10-year Treasury note. Now, the rate is about 2.5% points and have increased .3% since late June alone as a reflection of the troubles of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

More and more lenders are tightening their standards, either because of their own reluctance to get brought into the current mortgage mess or because of new government standards that will most likely dictate the new regulations. Some of the new standards include escrow accounts for taxes and a more thorough review of the future home buyers income and ability to pay the full mortgage payment each month. As more and more lenders are scared they will lose mortgages, they are demanding that current applicants provide a very clean and precise application to avoid future complications.

Initially, when the mortgages problems began, the government called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help with assisting lenders whose loans were defaulting. Now with the questionable status of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government sponsors, there is a risky and worried feeling in the marketplace, calling into question the ability of these sponsors to help lenders at all.
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