My Mortgage broker past this on with permision to copy. I think it is worth reading.
President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes.
The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is a refinancing program for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second program attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. In addition, the plan includes a third initiative to support low mortgage rates by strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Many of the plan's details are still being worked out and will not be announced until March 4, here is an overview of the plan's main components.
Under current rules, those families who own less than 20% equity in their homes have a difficult time refinancing and taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. Therefore, the refinancing initiative in the new plan provides refinancing help for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes or who owe more than their home is worth. This initiative is open to homeowners who have conforming loans which are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who owe up to 5% more than their home is worth.
According to the plan, "credit-worthy" or "responsible" homeowners can refinance their mortgage into a 30- or 15-year, fixed-rate loan based on current market rates. The refinanced loan, however, cannot include prepayment penalties or balloon payments. For many families, this low-cost refinancing may help reduce their mortgage payments by up to thousands of dollars per year.
As with the rest of the plan, details about this initiative will be released at a future date-including what, if any, credit score requirements will be included.
This initiative aims at providing help to individual families as well as entire neighborhoods by helping reduce foreclosures and stabilize home prices. It is intended to help homeowners who are struggling to afford their mortgage payments, but cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen significantly.
The goal of this initiative is simple: "reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels." To accomplish this, lenders are encouraged to lower homeowners' payments to 31 percent of their income by lowering their interest rate to as low as 2% or by extending the terms of the loan. In addition, lenders can also lower the principal owed by the borrower, with Treasury sharing in the costs.
Homeowners who are current on their mortgages but are struggling can still apply for this program. As such, this is one of the few programs designed to help homeowners who may face delinquency soon, but are current at the moment.
Since the focus of this initiative is on helping families and neighborhoods, investment properties do not qualify. This initiative also includes a number of additional elements and incentives that benefit homeowners and lenders alike, including:
- Incentives to Help Borrowers Stay Current: To provide an extra incentive for borrowers to keep paying on time, the initiative will provide a monthly balance reduction payment that goes straight towards reducing the principal balance of the mortgage loan. As long as a borrower stays current on his or her loan, he or she can get up to $1,000 each year for five years.
- Reaching Borrowers Early: To keep lenders focused on reaching borrowers who are trying their best to stay current on their mortgages, an incentive payment of $500 will be paid to servicers, and an incentive payment of $1,500 will be paid to mortgage holders, if they modify at-risk loans before the borrower falls behind.
Supporting Low Mortgage Rates
As part of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, the Treasury Department is increasing its funding commitment to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure the strength and security of the mortgage market and to help maintain mortgage affordability. This portion of the plan will use using funds already authorized in 2008 by Congress for this purpose.
The increased funding will enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to carry out ambitious efforts to ensure mortgage affordability for responsible homeowners, and provide forward-looking confidence in the mortgage market.
Again, the government plans to unveil the final details of the plan on March 4, 2009. For now, you can download a sheet of common Questions and Answers produced by the government at: www.treas.gov/initiatives/eesa/homeowner-affordability-plan/ConsumerQA.pdf
Tax Credit for Homebuyers
First-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit. Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction - a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.
The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.
Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction
It's important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that... a tax credit. The benefit of a tax credit is that it's a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a homebuyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, they would owe nothing.
Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a homebuyer is liable for $4,000 in income tax, he can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax credit... and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!
According to the plan, the tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000.
To break down what this phaseout means to homebuyers who are over those amounts, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:
Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.
Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer's income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.
Remember, these are general examples. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.
Homes that Qualify
The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying homes include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured or homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify.
Higher Loan Amounts
More good news - there is an extension on the additional tier of conforming loan amounts which had been first established in 2008. This tier of home loans are those greater than $417,000, and with a maximum that depends on the area, but is not greater than $729,750. These loans will again be eligible for rates that are slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard "jumbo" loan rates.
I hope this is helpful!
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