The credit crisis got a much needed shot in the arm this week with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Immediately we saw a nice improvement to interest rates as well as many sectors of the stock market. Nobody knows if this is going to be the answer to the housing crisis, but we do know that rates are much lower than they have been in months, so maybe now is the time.
Within the next few months, over 1.2 trillion dollars in mortgages are about to reset. Many of these customers have been waiting and gambling with rates before refinancing. Unfortunately, 40 to 80% of these borrowers currently in adjustable rate mortgages and interest only mortgages are going to see a significant payment shock. In other words....their payments are going to skyrocket!
There are a few more pieces that fit into this equation, but one area going to be hit the hardest is the Alta-A and Jumbo market. Currently, 15% of all Alta-A customers (those with slight credit issues) are currently at 100% Loan to Value. This means they owe as much if not more than the house is worth. The Jumbo market is being hit even harder. 25% of all Jumbo borrowers are at 100% LTV or higher.
Many believe home values may continue to drop, although we are very close to the bottom. Why would current home owners gamble with interest rates AND decreasing home values? Every day I work with homeowners that qualified a few months ago, but a drop in home value now eliminates them from a refinance. If you add up the numbers and a refinance makes sense now, don't put it off. This market can change tomorrow and you may miss out on something that could have really helped your financial situation.