Weekly Recap (03/28/11-04/02/11)by Tim Manni
What would your reaction be if lawmakers decided to do away with the mortgage interest deduction? For certain homeowners, tax season, along with all the usual stress it brings, means the opportunity to deduct some of the interest they paid on their mortgages all year long. However, there have been some discussions, both on Capitol Hill and beyond, of doing away with the famed mortgage interest deduction as a way to correct this country’s ever-growing deficit.
As you might anticipate, many homeowners and professionals are up in arms over the idea, while others think eliminating the deduction could be a reasonable solution.
To get a sense of the differing opinions that are out there, we reached out to four experts in the field and asked them to offer their thoughts on the future of the mortgage interest deduction. Here’s just some of what they had to say…
With the current mortgage market in such a state of transition and change, it’s hard to keep track of all the different regulatory changes, let alone when they are slated to begin. Today, April 1, 2011, two changes to the mortgage market are officially underway: The banning of yield spread premiums (YSPs) and changes to Fannie and Freddie’s risk-based pricing adjustments.
If that sounds like a mouthful of technical terms and industry mumbo-jumbo, you’re not alone. However, this mortgage industry jargon is expected to shape the future landscape of the mortgage market and is highly-anticipated to affect your mortgage experience and increase costs…
Apparently, four states have proposed a way to help inflate home prices or at least attempt to keep them from falling further. The problem with this proposed solution is that, for one, it may be illegal.
Syndicated columnist and HSH blogger Peter Miller introduced me to this concept on his own blog earlier today…
Yesterday, several federal entities released a 233-page document which proposed a definition for what a “qualified residential mortgage” should consist of and then opened it up to comment. By no means is this document a concrete outline of what the QRM will eventually look like. The agencies are seeking comments and inputs on a host of mortgage-market issues — everything from asset-backed securities to risk retention. All told, the massive document contains some 174 questions that the Fed is seeking input on concerning the makeup of this QRM (should it include higher LTVs or higher debt ratios; should the influence of MI apply, etc.)…
Almost two years ago I wrote a post titled “Home prices: The statistic that matters most?” It was June 2009 and we were at a point where home prices had fallen every month since July 2006. Everyone seemed well aware of just how instrumental home-price recovery would be in leading us out of the recession and back towards recovery and regrowth. “The [economic] crisis cannot end fully until home prices in the U.S. are at least stabilizing,” said Alan Greenspan.
Well, it’s two years later and not only has the economy not fully recovered, but home prices at the start of 2011 are trending dangerously close to their 2009 trough. So even if you don’t agree that home prices may be the statistic that matters most, it’s certainly an indicator of this country’s overall economic health….
At some point down the line when we look back over the last year or so, I believe the resounding (cynical) memory will be that, for the most part, this era of historically-low mortgage rates was wasted on a potential pool of homebuyers and refinancers that either a) didn’t take advantage; or b) couldn’t take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in decades.
With the mortgage market stuck in a swirl, credit conditions as strict as they are, and economic recovery being as unstable as it is, I wonder if consumers even care all that much about current mortgage rates…