$3 billion additional assistance for jobless homeowners

August 17, 2010

On August 11, 2010, the Obama Administration announced additional support to help homeowners struggling with unemployment through two targeted foreclosure-prevention programs.

Through the existing Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets (HFA Hardest Hit Fund), the U.S. Department of the Treasury will make $2 billion of additional assistance available for HFA programs for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will soon launch a complementary $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to provide assistance – for up to 24 months – to homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and have experienced a substantial reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition.

“HUD’s new Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will build on Treasury’s Hardest Hit initiative by targeting assistance to struggling unemployed homeowners in other hard hit areas to help them avoid preventable foreclosures,” said Bill Apgar, HUD Senior Advisor for Mortgage Finance. Together, these initiatives represent a combined $3 billion investment that will ultimately impact a broad group of struggling borrowers across the country and in doing so further contribute to the Administration’s efforts to stabilize housing markets and communities across the country.”

Hardest Hit Fund

President Obama first announced the HFA Hardest Hit Fund in February 2010 to allow states hit hard by the economic downturn flexibility in determining how to design and implement programs to meet the local challenges homeowners in their state are facing.

Under the additional assistance announced, states eligible to receive support have all experienced an unemployment rate at or above the national average over the past 12 months. Each state will use the funds for targeted unemployment programs that provide temporary assistance to eligible homeowners to help them pay their mortgage while they seek re-employment, additional employment or undertake job training.

States that have already benefited from previously announced assistance under the HFA Hardest Hit Fund may use these additional resources to support the unemployment programs previously approved by Treasury or they may opt to implement a new unemployment program. States that do not currently have HFA Hardest Hit Fund unemployment programs must submit proposals to Treasury by September 1, 2010 that, within established guidelines, meet the distinct needs of their state.

The states eligible to receive funds through this additional assistance, along with allocations based on their population sizes, are as follows:

Alabama $60,672,471
California $476,257,070
Florida $238,864,755
Georgia $126,650,987
Illinois $166,352,726
Indiana $82,762,859
Kentucky $55,588,050
Michigan $128,461,559
Mississippi $38,036,950
Nevada $34,056,581
New Jersey $112,200,638
North Carolina $120,874,221
Ohio $148,728,864
Oregon $49,294,215
Rhode Island $13,570,770
South Carolina $58,772,347
Tennessee $81,128,260
Washington, DC $7,726,678

HUD Emergency Homeowners Loan Program

This new program will complement Treasury’s HFA Hardest Hit Fund by providing assistance to homeowners in hard hit local areas that may not be included in the hardest hit target states. Those areas are still being determined.

The program will work through a variety of state and non-profit entities and will offer:

  • a declining balance
  • deferred payment “bridge loan” (0% interest, non-recourse, subordinate loan) for up to $50,000 on their mortgage principal, interest, mortgage insurance, taxes and hazard insurance for up to 24 months.

Under the program, eligible borrowers must:

  • Be at least 3 months delinquent in their payments and have a reasonable likelihood of being able to resume repayment of their mortgage payments and related housing expenses within 2 years;
  • Have a mortgage property that is the principal residence of the borrower, and eligible borrowers may not own a second home;
  • Demonstrate a good payment record prior to the event that produced the reduction of income.

HUD will announce additional details, including the targeted communities and other program specifics when the program is officially launched in the coming weeks.


Fannie Mae Relaxes Waiting Period for Buying a New Home After a Short Sale

May 3, 2010

 

In Announcement SEL-2010-05, Fannie Mae updated several policies regarding the future eligibility of borrowers to obtain a new mortgage loan after experiencing a preforeclosure event (preforeclosure sale, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure).

The “waiting period” – the amount of time that must elapse after the preforeclosure event – is changing and may be dependent on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for the transaction and whether extenuating circumstances contributed to the borrower’s financial hardship (for example, loss of employment). In addition, Fannie Mae is updating the requirements for determining that borrowers have re-established their credit after a significant derogatory credit event.

***Note:  The terms “short sale” and “preforeclosure sale” both referenced in the Announcement have the same meaning – the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure, resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved by the servicer.***

Waiting Period After a Preforeclosure Sale, Short Sale, or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

Fannie Mae is changing the required waiting period for a borrower to be eligible for a mortgage loan after a preforeclosure event. The waiting period commences on the completion date of the preforeclosure event, and may vary based on the maximum allowable LTV ratios.

Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements(1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 4 years  2 years – 80% maximum LTV ratios,  4 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios,  7 years – LTV ratios per the Eligibility Matrix
 Short Sale  2 years

 

Exceptions to Waiting Period for Extenuating Circumstances
Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements (1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 2 years      Additional requirements apply after 2 years up to 7 years  2 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios
 Short Sale  No exceptions are permitted to the 2-year waiting period

 (1) The maximum LTV ratios permitted are the lesser of the LTV ratios in this table or the maximum LTV ratios for the transaction per the Eligibility Matrix.

Bankruptcies

The multiple bankruptcy policy is being clarified to state that 2 or more borrowers with individual bankruptcies are not cumulative. For example, if the borrower has one bankruptcy and the co-borrower has one bankruptcy, this is not considered a multiple bankruptcy. The current waiting periods for bankruptcies remain unchanged.

Effective Date

This policy is effective for beginning July 1, 2010.

Requirements for Re-Establishing Credit

The requirements for borrowers to re-establish their credit after a significant derogatory event are also being updated. Fannie Mae is replacing the requirements related to the number of credit references and applicable payment histories with the waiting periods and other criteria.

After a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or preforeclosure or short sale, the borrower’s credit will be considered re-established if all of the following are met:

  • The waiting period and the related requirements are met.
  • The loan meets the minimum credit score requirements based on the parameters of the loan and the established eligibility requirements.

The “Catch”?

Now to qualify after that 2 year period, the new regulations state that a minimum 20% down payment will be required; 10% for a down payment, the wait will revert to the 4 year minimum; less than 10% for a down payment, the wait could be even longer — UNLESS there are “extenuating circumstances” such as job loss, health problems, divorce, etc…

But doesn’t pretty much any short sale by default involve “extenuating circumstances”? Just show them the hardship letter you submitted with your short sale docs. Case closed.

Why This Matters?

So why does this matter, and how should you, as distressed homeowners, USE this information?

Well for starters, if you couple this with the Obama administration’s new short sale assistance program (where mortgage servicing companies are paid $1,000 to handle successful short sales and mortgage holders get $1,500 for signing over their property), you’ve now got more compelling reasons than ever to pursue a short sale rather than just throwing up your hands and “letting things go”.


%d bloggers like this: