It’s the time of year that we look ahead and attempt to give our best guesses about the market, the industry, and the effects they may have. So, here are my thoughts about the mortgage world:
Interest Rates Should Be Stable
With a faltering economy nationally and worldwide, including pessimistic estimates for employment, there is little chance that the Fed will risk increasing rates which would jeopardize any recovery. Couple that with a Presidential Election in November and conventional wisdom says we’ll see rates hovering in the same neighborhood for most of 2012.
Mortgage Costs Will Increase
Quietly tucked away in those bills passed in Congress to extend the payroll tax cuts before the holidays was an increase of 10 basis points in the guarantee fees on loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That will translate into .10% higher interest rates (which would be $4000 extra on a $200,000 loan over 30 years). Interestingly enough, the additional revenue is not going to Fannie or Freddie to help with defaulted loans, but rather going to the US Treasury to make up for the payroll tax cut….go figure.
The Mortgage Interest Deduction Will Be Challenged
Look for people of a certain income level to lose their write off as a measure to increase revenue. Taking away from the wealthy as a way to raise governmental revenue is politically strategic. It is unlikely everyone will lose the deduction (political suicide), but that top 1%…watch out.
Loan Products Will Expand
Common sense lending will start creeping back. Large down payments will liberalize credit and income standards. This will likely begin with local banks who are comfortable with appraised values. I’m not calling for a return to the madness, but some loans that are low risk are not being done today. Anticipate some lenders expanding their guidelines.
Don’t be shocked by a lowering of FHA loan limits and/or an increase in the FHA Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium either. Overall, mortgages should give people more reasons to buy homes in 2012 as the economic recovery is strongly tied to housing. Given that most people vote their own personal economy rather than policy beliefs, I expect support by those who are looking to be re-elected.