Thoughtful Refinancing or Lipstick on a Pig?

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A few weeks ago the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a white paper entitled “An Evaluation of Large-Scale Mortgage Refinancing Programs,” analyzing the potential impact of a so-called stylized refinancing program (more on that in a minute) that would promote widespread mortgage refinancing (or so they say..more on that too).

While the stylized program analyzed by the CBO is not an analysis based on a legislative proposal (and instead is an analysis based on a CBO-developed probabilistic model of borrower behavior, estimated from the historical performance of GSE and FHA mortgage loans), the analysis, nevertheless, serves as a basis to assess whether (any similar) refinancing program would have a significant impact on the U.S. housing market.

The stylized program analyzed by the CBO is aimed at helping those distressed borrowers who do not qualify for the current federal refinancing programs (i.e., HAMP, HARP and the FHA) by loosening eligibility requirements. The thought is—loosen eligibility requirements (e.g., relax LTV tests, waive appraisal requirements, limit borrower income tests, include existing loans guaranteed by the GSEs and FHA, etc.) and more distressed borrowers will be able to refinance their mortgages and avoid default. After all, even those contestants who are not smarter than a fifth grader know that avoiding default is beneficial to both the distressed borrowers and the economy at large.

Please see full article below for more information.

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