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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fannie Mae cracks down on "Walk Aways"

by Calculated Risk on 6/23/2010 04:00:00 PM

Note: Earlier post on New Home sales: New Home Sales collapse to Record Low in May

From Fannie Mae: Fannie Mae Increases Penalties for Borrowers Who Walk Away

Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) announced today policy changes designed to encourage borrowers to work with their servicers and pursue alternatives to foreclosure. Defaulting borrowers who walk-away and had the capacity to pay or did not complete a workout alternative in good faith will be ineligible for a new Fannie Mae-backed mortgage loan for a period of seven years from the date of foreclosure.
Fannie Mae will also take legal action to recoup the outstanding mortgage debt from borrowers who strategically default on their loans in jurisdictions that allow for deficiency judgments. In an announcement next month, the company will be instructing its servicers to monitor delinquent loans facing foreclosure and put forth recommendations for cases that warrant the pursuit of deficiency judgments.
I'm not sure how they can tell if someone "walks away" (a borrower who could afford to make their mortgage payments, but instead strategically defaults), or if the borrower had no real choice.

But this suggests that the number of strategic defaults is increasing.

And this reminds us of one of the tragedies of the bubble: many people bought before they were ready, or bought too much home. Whether they are "walking away" or losing their home because they can't afford it, they will be out of the market for some time.