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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Option ARMs: Paying $98 a month on a $350 Thousand Mortgage

by Calculated Risk on 6/11/2009 10:00:00 AM

From Bloomberg: Option ARMs Threaten U.S. Housing Rebound as 2011 Resets Peak

Shirley Breitmaier took out a $315,000 option ARM to refinance a previous loan on her house.

Her payments started at 3/8 of 1 percent, or less than $100 a month ... The 73-year-old widow may see it jump to $3,500 a month in two years ... She’ll be required to start paying principal and interest to amortize the debt when the loan reaches 145 percent of the original amount borrowed.

[CR Note: the 145% recast level is much higher than normal. This is now a GMAC loan]
About 1 million option ARMs are estimated to reset higher in the next four years, according to real estate data firm First American CoreLogic of Santa Ana, California. About three quarters of those loans will adjust next year and in 2011, with the peak coming in August 2011 when about 54,000 loans recast, the data show.

[CR Note: recast, not reset. This article uses the two terms interchangeably]
“The option ARM recasts will drive up the foreclosure supply, undermining the recovery in the housing market,” [Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia] said in an interview. “The option ARMs will be part of the reason that the path to recovery will be long and slow.”
And compare these two comments:
“This loan is a perfect example front to back, bottom to top, of everything that has gone wrong over the last five to seven years,” [Cameron Pannabecker, the owner of Cal-Pro Mortgage] said. “The consumer had a product pushed on them that they had no hope of understanding.”
“The problem is, real estate values went down,” [Peter Paul of Paul Financial, the loan orginator] said.
I agree with Pannabecker.

And here is a repeat of the most recent reset / recast chart from Credit Suisse.

Loan Recast Schedule
Credit Suisse is using recast dates for Option ARMs and reset dates for all other loans.

As Tanta noted: "Reset" refers to a rate change. "Recast" refers to a payment change.

Resets are not a huge problem as long as interest rates stay low, but recasts could be significant. There are some questions about how the Wells Fargo pick-a-pay portfolio fits into this chart, since Wells Fargo doesn't expect significant recasts until 2012 (see A Bank Is Survived by Its Loans )