President Obama has a new catchphrase entitled, “We can’t wait.” He has decided to circumvent congressional opposition by using his executive orders to implement a new plan for homeowners. It is projected that this new plan will help 1 million to 1.6 million homeowners struggling with refinancing a mortgage under water or they need a better percentage rate on an existing mortgage.

The changes will be managed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This plan falls under the Home Affordable Refinance Program, and to be eligible a homeowner must be current on their payments on their mortgage. The federal refinancing program only covers mortgages created before June 2009, and owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “When Congress won’t act, this president will. Many homeowners are going to be helped by this, they will be very grateful for the assistance that will allow them to refinance at today’s low rates.” The administration is also extending the Home Affordable Refinance Program to 2013, and it initially was slated to end in 2012.

Everyone in the country knows that the housing market is stagnant and sluggish, and hurting the economic recovery. This plan looks good on paper but many feel there are too many rules that are stringent and many homeowners will not qualify. Even though there are record-low interest rates and government programs to help homeowners, it is still hard to get a loan and find a bank for financing.

Many experts are frustrated with the president because they feel he is not focused on the special problems that impact people of color. Preet Vissa is a community reinvestment director at the Greenlining a public policy research and advocacy group said; “Its hard to know what would have happened had there been no programs. But the impact has been almost negligible, particularly in hardest hit states or communities of color. Much more needs to be done.”

When President Obama talks about a new plan or program, there are never numbers that explain how many people of color the new initiative helps. Many housing experts of color say the administration needs programs that will level the playing field, because Blacks and Hispanics are the hardest hit during the current housing market crash.

President Obama has also admitted that too little has been done to tackle the housing issue and that his administration has provided too little support to distressed homeowners. “The continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected. The administration’s programs are not enough, and we’re going back to the drawing board,” says President Obama.

The president is aware that there is no simple solution to the housing market crash. Today many of the homes are worth half of what the homeowner paid for when they bought the house. In the president’s new plan the homeowner’s house must be worth 80% of the market value to qualify for the program.

Also to qualify for the program your credit must be good, and in a 12 month period you can only be late once. As the program is rolled out, I am sure there will be other rules that will make it hard to get approved for the program. Even though the president is saying, “We can’t wait,” Americans will have to wait and see if the new program is credible.

Advertisements