Friday, October 10, 2008
How do you spell relief . . .
There is an ironic twist in the housing marketplace.
Banks find that they, too, have a hard time unloading foreclosed homes in this sea of falling values. Housing prices sink even while the forecloser is paying good, bank-earned money to a third-party firm which prepares the vacated homes for sale. At a minimum, yards still have to be maintained and plumbing/electrical repairs done.
The only ones with a positive income flow are those third parties being paid by the mortgage lenders.
Some banks, those old softies, are now helping foreclosure-risk owners by voluntarily re-financing homes. Those adjustable rate mortgages are being turned into low, fixed rates.
One homeowner, here, was the subject of a news report. She had been notified that her home was in foreclosure and she had one month left to pay up or vacate.
Then, she got another letter saying that the bank had voluntarily refinanced her mortgage to a fixed and much lower rate. Her monthly payments went down by about $1,700. She could now, she said, afford to buy shoes and orange juice for her son. She had been hopelessly borrowing money to do those kinds of things. (I thought that if you had dug yourself into a deep hole, you were supposed to stop digging.)
According to the newscasters, those in the neighborhood who were still making their rising mortgage payments were not receiving such drastic relief.
So those old softie banks are not so soft after all . . .