For the past year there have been worries that the FHA might require taxpayer money to pay off lender claims for loans gone bad. But now it may be that the economy has turned around and the FHA may well do better than anyone thinks.
The FHFA just announced that it will no longer allow Fannie and Freddie to purchase or guarantee so-called "non-qualified" mortgages with more than 30 years amortization or that have interest only payments, among other restrictions.
Making it easier for homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment and keep their homes is always favorable; however, providing homeowners with an incentive to fall behind on their payments could be an unfavorable strategy for both taxpayers and homeowners.
On the housing front, the good news is that the president wants Mel Watt to head the FHFA. The really bad news is that the problems in the U.S. housing system are currently so entrenched that, even if he is confirmed, Mel Watt will be hard-pressed to resolve them.
Their argument has been that Fannie and Freddie are taking business away from private banking. They have claimed that the "implicit" government guarantee against default of the GSEs has given them a profit edge. But without Fannie and Freddie, there would be no viable housing market.
Ed DeMarco's continued ideological opposition to principal reduction -- also known as resetting mortgages to fair market value -- has made him widely known one of the biggest obstacles to our country's economic progress.
The FHFA's decision preserves unfair practices in the mortgage servicing and insurance industries. It means the new approach and lower rates will not be implemented and therefore the status quo will continue.