Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.UK General Election 2015 - Forecasting Seats for SNP, LIb-Dems, UKIP and Others - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK General Election 2015 Seats Forecast - Who Will Win? - - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold Price Downtrend Looks Set to Continue - Clive_Maund
4.Commodity Prices Set To Plunge Below 2008 Lows - Austin_Galt
5.New Greece Drachma Revealed Amid Bank Runs - Greeks Buy Gold Sovereigns - GoldCore
6.Gold and Silver Stocks or General Stock Market Indices? - Rambus_Chartology
7.“Forgive Us Our Debts” – Only Way To Prevent Economic Meltdown - GoldCore
8.UK House Prices Trend 2015 and the May General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.12 Reasons Why Barry Ritholtz and Many UK Experts Are Mistaken On Gold - GoldCore
10.Recession is On The Way; Beat The Stock Market Crowd, Panic Now! - Mike_Shedlock
Last 5 days
Cameron Fears Debates Would Cost Tories the Election - Potential 12 Seat Swing to Labour - 6th Mar 15
Apple Major New Gold Buyer - Propel Gold Price Higher? - 6th Mar 15
Stock Market Dow Theory Divergence - 6th Mar 15
Ukraine, Neocons and Neonazis - 6th Mar 15
UK Election 2015 - Cameron Housing Bribe - 200,000 Discounted Homes for 400,000 Voters - 6th Mar 15
The Anthropology of Finance - 6th Mar 15
Portfolios, Insurance, and Gold - 6th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Justice For Some - Currency Wars - ECB Deposit Rates To -3% - 5th Mar 15
How to Play the Big Broker Stocks When Interest Rates Rise - 5th Mar 15
Here's What Stock Market Bulls Might Be Overlooking - 5th Mar 15
U.S. Soaring Crude Oil Stocks - Cushing and Gulf Coast Storage Filling Up Fast - 5th Mar 15
Japan's Intelligence Reform Inches Forward - 5th Mar 15
Gold Miner Index Breadth Oscillator, Forward Reckoning® - 5th Mar 15
Gold Price Set To Plunge Below $600 - 5th Mar 15
UK General Election Forecast 2015 - Immigration Crisis, SNP Insurgency and Housing Mini-Boom - 5th Mar 15
Spock, Debt and the Kingdom of Denmark - 5th Mar 15
The Psychology of a Sideways Stock Market Trend - 5th Mar 15
Freedom from America - Getting Out Of Dodge - 5th Mar 15
What Top Hedge Fund Managers Really Think About Gold - 4th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar Strategic Backfire On U.S. Government Policy - 4th Mar 15
Canada’s Central Banks Orders End to ‘Spocking’ Of Canadian Dollar - Defacing Debasing Currencies - 4th Mar 15
Chicago's Only Possible Salvation: A Detroit-Like Bankruptcy - 4th Mar 15
Gold Price and Mining Stocks Decline Together - 3rd Mar 15
Financial Slaughter - The Silence of the Lambs - 3rd Mar 15
Bondholders “Bailed In” In Austria – New Banking Crisis? - 3rd Mar 15
How to Profit from the Coming Oil Price Crunch - 3rd Mar 15
Is Japan Zimbabwe? Could Japan go Hyperinflation? - 3rd Mar 15
Bill Gross Says Fed May Raise Rates 25 Basis Points in June - 3rd Mar 15
The Secret Behind My Hedge Fund Trade on U.S. Housing Market - 3rd Mar 15
BLS CPI Lie - How's That Dsflation Working Out for You? - 3rd Mar 15
Tesla Bonfire of the Money Printers’ Vanities - 3rd Mar 15
Gold Demand in UK, Europe and U.S. – Reuters Interview GoldCore - 2nd Mar 15
Watch the Skies... for Investor Profits - 2nd Mar 15
How Investors Can Identify the Best Small-Cap Stocks - 2nd Mar 15
Gold and Silver - What If the Precious Metal Stocks Bulls are Back - 2nd Mar 15
Students Getting a PhD in Subprime Debt - U.S. Debt Breaking Bad Part 3 - 2nd Mar 15
The Stock Market is in The Process of Major Top! - 2nd Mar 15
Stock Market Weakening Trend - 2nd Mar 15
Gold Price Glimmer of Hope - 1st Mar 15
Stock Markets Are Riding High on Thin Air - 1st Mar 15
Varoufakis vs. the Troika - Showdown in Athens - 1st Mar 15
Subprime Rising - U.S. Debt Breaking Bad Part 2 - 1st Mar 15
Gold CoT Improving, But ... - 1st Mar 15
UK General Election 2015 Seats Forecast - Who Will Win? - 28th Feb 15
UK General Election 2015 - Forecasting Seats for SNP, LIb-Dems, UKIP and Others - 28th Feb 15
Stocks Bull Market Continues - 28th Feb 15
U.S. Debt Breaking Bad - 28th Feb 15
NATO Frankenstein - When Centralization Scales Beyond Our Control - 28th Feb 15
Gold And Silver Insanity Prevails; Precious Metals Without Direction - 28th Feb 15
Fed Raising U.S. Interest Rates - Shovelin’ Schmitt Against the Tide - 28th Feb 15
Don't Let This Stock Market Myth Cost You Your Gains - 28th Feb 15
Recession is On The Way; Beat The Stock Market Crowd, Panic Now! - 28th Feb 15
Stock Market Indexes Creeping Towards the Edge - 28th Feb 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The State of the Global Markets 2015

Obama's Housing Market Refi Program Won't Work Because the FHA is Insolvent

Housing-Market / US Housing Feb 17, 2012 - 06:25 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Housing-Market

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleShah Gilani writes: In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to let homeowners, especially those underwater, refinance older mortgages to take advantage of today's low rates.

While serious political impediments stand in the way of the Obama refi plan, one reason it won't work is that it relies 100% on the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).


The problem is that the FHA is technically insolvent.

That "minor" issue could make the president's plan a non-starter.

The FHA doesn't originate mortgages. It is a government agency that insures 100% of the principal and interest on residential mortgages to the benefit of mortgage lenders.

The president's plan is to have the FHA insure all "eligible" borrowers' loans so lenders have a guarantee that refinanced mortgages will be paid back.

That incentivizes lenders to make loans they otherwise wouldn't make.

Why the FHA is Insolvent
Borrowers pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1% and modest monthly fees into the FHA's insurance fund. That's the FHA's only source of income and capital.

The fund has to maintain certain reserves and a cushion against the total obligations it has amassed based on the insurance it has in force, which currently exceeds $1 trillion.

The FHA is technically insolvent because it is already below the minimum 2% "economic value," or capital ratio it's required to maintain by law.

In fact, according to an American Enterprise Institute "Outlook" report, the FHA has only $1.2 billion in "economic value" supporting over $1 trillion on loan guarantees.

In other words the FHA's leverage ratio is close to 1,000 to 1 and its capital ratio is 0.12% -- nowhere close to 2%.

For some perspective on how far the FHA has slid in reverse, in 2006 its capital ratio was 7.38%.

Things aren't getting any better for the FHA either, they're getting worse.

Capital adequacy at the FHA is based on "projections" that are a moving target. The agency calculates its financial position on assumptions about current and projected delinquency and default rates, future premium payments and housing price trends.

Delinquency rates are currently rising faster than projected.

As of December 30, 2011, 12.1% of FHA-insured loans were 60 days or more past due, which is up from 10.55% on June 30, 2011.

And the American Enterprise Institute's Ed Pinto has been pointing to the alarming fact that 18% of all FHA-insured loans are now at least 30 days past due.

Another problem the FHA has is that its capital isn't just based on tangible assets.

It calculates future premium payments as part of its economic value. The American Enterprise's Outlook report equates this ledger domain to what Enron did when it was booking unearned income based on projections it fabricated into its earnings.

And, as if the FHA's current position isn't bad enough, its future financial health is predicated on its projections that U.S. housing prices will grow at a 4% annual rate well into the future.

Obama's Refi Plan: Massive New Guarantees
The FHA has a credit line with the Treasury Department and argues that it won't be a burden on taxpayers because future premium payments and an improving housing market ensure its solvency. And yet there's no accounting for the potentially massive increase in loan guarantees it would have to make under the president's refinancing program.

These refinanced loans will be made to borrowers who, while possibly lowering their monthly payments, will still owe more than their homes are worth.

Congress has to approve the president's refinancing plan along with the $61 billion "bank tax" he proposed to help pay for the plan and other homeowner assistance programs.

In a politically charged election year, it might be impossible to get backing for the president's refinancing program if taxpayers are made aware the program relies on an already-insolvent FHA further leveraging itself on an uncertain economic future.

Not only have Republicans denounced the president's proposed $61 billion "bank tax" as dead-on-arrival if it ever comes their way in either the House or the Senate (a proposal to raise half that amount in last year's budget failed), but general concerns about moral hazard and strategic defaults by borrowers whose loans are FHA guaranteed are sure to surface.

When borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 - who only have to put down 3.5% on an FHA-insured mortgage and can borrow up to $729,500 - end up piling on the government gravy train, at least we'll know how it might turn out.

Will we ever learn?

Source http://moneymorning.com/2012/02/17/...

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive


© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014