Listing Courtesy of JACK LINGO REHOBOTH
Something new is stirring in the ordinarily hidebound world of residential mortgage offerings: a new way of approaching the financing of home purchases. If successful, it might well shift the way some Rehoboth Beach mortgage contracts are written.
The experiment is known as the "Wealth Building Home Loan," and it addresses a home-ownership problem that has been talked about for a long time, with little being done to solve it. The issue in question is how to unburden new homeowners from spending years in a situation that bears more resemblance, financially, to renting than to owning— especially during the first 3 to 5 years. For low- and moderate-income mortgagees, that’s the difference between sinking into more debt and actually building wealth. After all, every dollar that goes toward interest is lost, while dollars that pay down principal are investments.
According to Edward Pinto, one of the authors of the WBHL, often during the opening years of a 30-year loan, "68% goes to pay interest." In the new program, 77% of monthly payments go to pay off principal—with the result that in a short time, new homeowners have a much larger equity stake in their homes. And, it is hoped, a sizeable increase in pride of ownership: "a stake in the game."
It sounds good, but you might be wondering how this could be possible. Is this just a ‘pie in the sky,’ feel-good idea that will never see daylight in the real world? Apparently not. The pilot program is being put into action by some serious players: the American Enterprise Institute (if that sounds like a conservative outfit, it is) and administered by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (if that sounds like a liberal outfit, ditto). And it’s being funded by Bank of America and Citi Mortgage—neither of which would be likely to bankroll some fly-by-night scheme.
The mechanics of this kind of mortgage work out like this. First, it’s based on a 15-year term, which of course speeds the rate at which equity builds; and second, it’s a mortgage that carries a very low interest rate. Something for nothing? Not quite: the concept is to
· change the underwriting standards to tilt away from credit history and toward recent payment history and residual income, thought to lower lender risk
· eliminate the down payment altogether, instead allocating that initial cash toward "points": buy-downs of the mortgage’s interest rate to .5%, (or even 0%)!
It boils down to an approach that could be a win-win. Borrowers (even those who suffered credit black marks during the economic downturn) could be newly eligible for a home loan, and because lenders pocket the interest rate buy-down amount, a proposition they might find acceptable.
Should Rehoboth Beach mortgage applicants expect this deal to be available next week? Not likely: it’s in the pilot phase. But if it seems to work out, it could be a shot in the arm for homeowners who can manage a slightly higher monthly payment. If you would like to chat about today’s home loan availability (or any other current Rehoboth Beach real estate doings), I hope you’ll give me a call!
Rehoboth Beach's economy, like all others, is largely dependent upon consumers doing what consumers are supposed to do: buy! Why they make their decision to behave or not is every bit as complicated as you would suppose. It’s the product of how their own careers are faring; how the greater economy (and the economy in Rehoboth Beach) are doing; even how the world economy is behaving—or seems likely to behave anytime soon.
In all of this, the hard facts about how the economy is actually doing are not just backward-looking, they’re also slow to arrive. Worse yet to those who think numbers should mean something definite, the numbers are frequently recalculated later. The latest ‘jobs’ numbers or the ‘housing starts’ numbers, when they are announced, are often accompanied by a statement that the previous quarters number has been "revised to" x. If you are a local business person who makes projections based on the best information available, that wouldn’t be the new number—it would be the previous, now revised number: very old information.
There is one way around this, though, and that’s fortunate. Everybody has the same reliability and timeliness problems, yet have to have some basis for making discretionary spending decisions. The usual solution is to rely upon measurements not of the actual economy’s activity now or in the past, but of what most people expect that activity to be in the future.
Yes, that kind of measurement is ‘soft’—opinion, rather than hard data. But if those expectations are widely publicized, they affect what actually comes to pass. If consumers are bullish on the future, well, that’s reassuring news! Rehoboth Beach businesses are encouraged to stock their shelves. People are more likely to list their Rehoboth Beach homes for sale. The local economy looks better and better! On the other hand, if consumers are depressed about the future, caution will prevail. Businesses will hold off on new hires and trim their inventories. You can’t be too careful, after all. To some degree, consumer expectations often become self-fulfilling prophesies.
That’s why latest consumer confidence reports are the best news for the future of the economy we’ve heard for some time. Last week, Reuters ran the headline, "U.S. Consumer Sentiment at Eight-Year High"; the Business Insider, "Consumer Confidence Crushes Expectations." Reuters attributed the burst of citizen optimism to "improved prospects for jobs and wages, and on lower gasoline prices…"
The University of Michigan co-sponsors the index upon which the numbers are based, which showed December’s reading of consumer sentiment at 93.8, "the highest reading since January 2007." That was a full 4 points above the median that had been previously forecast by 70 economists. It was also 5 points higher than the final reading for November.
If the Rehoboth Beach economy perks up as anticipated, area real estate watchers should expect a noticeable uptick in activity—particularly if mortgage interest rates stay low, and inflation remains a non-factor (the same survey pegged consumer inflation expectations at 2.9%). If you are an Rehoboth Beach homeowner or prospective buyer with an equally upbeat outlook, it’s good reason to give me a call to discuss how your plans dovetail with a rebounding market!