White House Weighs Mass Refinancing Plan

August 25, 2011

The White House is considering a housing proposal that would allow millions of home owners with government-backed mortgages to refinance into lower interest rates, The New York Times reports. 

“A wave of refinancing could be a strong stimulus to the economy, because it would lower consumers’ mortgage bills right away and allow them to spend elsewhere,” an article in The New York Times notes.

Many home owners have been unable to take advantage of today’s low interest rates — which are averaging around 4 percent — because they don’t qualify for refinancing at the best rates since they owe more on their home than it is currently worth or because of poor credit. The refinancing plan is still under discussion of how it would work, The New York Times said. 

“This is the best stimulus out there because it doesn’t increase the deficit, it accomplishes monetary policy, and it reduces defaults in housing,” Christopher J. Mayer, an economist at the Columbia Business School, told The New York Times. 

The White House is also considering other options to try to stimulate the housing market or save home owners from foreclosure. Such options include more changes to its refinancing programs so more home owners can participate or a home rental program to that would rent out foreclosures instead of putting them for sale so foreclosures would stop weighing down overall home prices.

Source: “U.S. May Back Refinance Plan for Mortgages,” The New York Times (Aug. 24, 2011)

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