Monday, October 24, 2011

NY Fed President Dudley: More action needed to stabilize the housing sector

by Bill McBride on 10/24/2011 09:07:00 AM

From NY Fed President William Dudley: The National and Regional Economic Outlook

Stabilizing the housing sector is particularly important because housing equity is an important part of household wealth. This calls for a comprehensive approach to housing policy, starting with an urgent effort to remove the obstacles that make it difficult for all borrowers to refinance at today's low mortgage rates, but extending beyond this to tackle other problems weighing on housing. Taken together, such efforts could help shift people's expectations about future house prices. If prospective homeowners no longer fear that prices could decline further, they will be more willing to enter the market to take advantage of reduced prices and low financing costs, and existing homeowners will feel more confident about spending. A vicious cycle could be replaced by a virtuous circle, in which stabilization in house prices supports spending, growth and jobs.
This suggests a "comprehensive" plan is in the works.

The new refinance plan will be announced today, see from Nick Timiraos at the WSJ: Home Lending Revamp Planned
The plan will streamline the refinance process by eliminating appraisals and extensive underwriting requirements for most borrowers, as long as homeowners are current on their mortgage payments ... Fannie and Freddie have also agreed to waive some fees that made refinancing less attractive for some.
And two more possibilities ...

1) Last week Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen, and Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo discussed a possible new MBS buying program at the Fed. See Fed Is Poised for More Easing and Fed Official Hints at Possible Effort to Boost Economy.

2) As I noted yesterday, I'm hearing rumors that a new REO disposition program for the FHA, Fannie and Freddie might be announced soon (probably selling REO to investors in bulk with a rental program for current occupants).

Weekend:
Schedule for Week of Oct 23rd
Summary for Week ending Oct 21st