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The Senate Tries to Save the Real Estate Market

Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Although it has been in the works for years, a rescue package for the housing market is finally in the works. Many pieces of the package have been debated by Congress for years, hence the delay, the grouping is now on hand to move towards its completion.

However, due to these uncertain elements, there leaves plenty of room for debate and study when the bill comes up for review to lawmakers. The Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate majority leader Harry Reid have come to a general consensus on many of the points in the bill, although this does not leave any certain passing of the real estate package.

One of the most debated topics in the bill is the presence of a series of energy tax breaks that will help homeowners and benefit green living simultaneously. This mixture of environmental concerns and real estate purchases seems to be a dually important part of the real estate package. However, both sides are hopeful that the bill will pass relatively quickly to have the pieces initiated for struggling homeowners facing foreclosure.

What will the real estate package entail and how can it help the common homeowner? This real estate bills focuses on a government backed program specifically aimed to help those homeowners in financial need. Those individuals who are trying to avoid foreclosure because of their borrowing situation will be focused upon. In addition, the regulation and rules of the mortgage market, and the large investor groups that play an integral role in these aspects of borrowing, will be analyzed and revised. Ultimately, the goal of the real estate package is to increase activity in the housing market in a beneficial and safer manner. The increase of foreclosures in the real estate market is the main motivation behind the real estate package.

The hopeful deadline to get the bill to the President is by July 4th. However, the White House has already indicated they will veto the bill in its current state. Specifically, the White House does not agree with an allocated $4 billion to help states with homes in foreclosure, arguing that these funds would help the business lenders more than the individual homeowners.

Overall, the key movements of the real estate package act to prevent increases in future foreclosures, which in turn will help to spur the real estate market in general. In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will increase their oversight into the mortgage industry.

One of the biggest parts of the package would allow the Federal Housing Administration to have up to $300 billion in new loans for borrowers who are considered risky. However, the lenders would have to write the loan balances below the appraised value of the new homes to qualify. This program would be voluntary and the fees would be paid for by the premiums that borrowers pay, as well as the fees from Fannie and Freddie Mac. The biggest criticism of the bill states that it would be more likely to encourage poor loans, with the government assisting in 400,000 loans that 1/3 would default on in the future.