Payment Increases on Equity Lines

August 14, 2014 Posted by Andre Hemmersbach

During the last five years millions of homeowners have taken advantage of the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or in the case of mortgages that did not fall under HAMP,  lenders’ proprietary modification programs. These Loan Modification programs (Loan Mods) were initiated to offer relief to desperate homeowners who were facing foreclosure due to various circumstances through temporary rate reductions or interest rate abatements. The key term in the above statement is “temporary”!  Loan Mods along with Home Equity Lines Of Credit (HELOC), a mortgage that is similar to a credit card, will see upward rate and payment adjustments, sending some homeowners back to the brink of financial crisis. (More on HELOCs later.)

To qualify for a Loan Modification borrowers were asked to submit an income and asset package to the lender proving a hardship and current stable income. If the borrower qualified, the lender dropped the interest rate as much as 3 or 4 percentage points and renegotiated a monthly mortgage payment that would represent about 45% of the borrower’s monthly gross income. Via the modification agreement, the borrower usually promised to return to the original rate and terms of the mortgage through 1% annual increases after a five year period.

The Real Estate Bubble burst in late 2008 and the loan modification programs started to gain momentum in 2009 and hit full stride in 2010 through 2012, therefore the first round of the notices for payment increases via the loan modification agreements are starting to be sent out.

Borrowers facing this issue today may have some additional alternatives that were not available to them back in the middle of the recession. At least in Southern California, equity positions have seen healthy gains and the job/income outlook have improved slightly. Options homeowners may consider are: refinancing to current low mortgage rates (albeit at higher rates than their modified rate but lower than their final rate), making the new higher payments via their modification agreement, selling their home to downsize or rent.

As a whole, HELOCs mortgage payments will also be increasing. The basic issue is that the 10 year interest only introductory period, typical in these mortgage products, is now coming due. Homeowner’s with balances on their HELOC will on the 10th anniversary move to a fully amortized 20 year loan and experience a fairly large payment increase. I have previously blogged about the dangers of HELOCs and you can read the remainder of the article at http://cahomehunters.com/real-estate-time-bomb/.

Bottom-line…. homeowners with these types of mortgage products who do not have the ability to afford the payment increases, may have to make some difficult decisions in the near future.

If I can be of assistance in giving you or a friend advice or direction with these type of products please let me know, as I would be happy to help them.

Also see: http://newsroom.transunion.com/press-releases/transunion-study-identifies-framework-for-managing-1136135#.U-0un_ldV8E

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/29/rate-increases-for-hamp-loan-modifications-2009/4964701/

http://www.pwc.com/us/en/consumer-finance/publications/avoiding-default-risk-mortgage-modification-resets.jhtml

 

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About Andre Hemmersbach

Andre Hemmersbach has been working in the mortgage banking business for over 20 year helping people successfully finance their real estate holdings. He can be reached at (310) 540-1330 #137.

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