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Speculators Who Inflated Property Bubble to Get Bailout

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Bloomberg
March 5, 2012

The Obama administration will extend mortgage assistance for the first time to investors who bought multiple homes before the market imploded, helping some speculators who drove up prices and inflated the housing bubble.

Landlords can qualify for up to four federally-subsidized loan workouts starting around May, as long as they rent out each house or have plans to fill them, under the revamped Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP, according to Timothy Massad, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability. The program pays banks to reduce monthly payments by cutting interest rates, stretching terms, and forgiving principal.

The government’s need to protect neighborhoods from blight and renters from eviction by keeping the current owners in place is outweighing concern that taxpayers will end up bailing out real-estate investors. The program is being enlarged after less than 1 million borrowers modified loans through HAMP, compared with the administration’s stated goal in 2009 of helping 3 million to 4 million homeowners.

“When we started the program we focused on owner-occupied houses because the need was so great and we wanted to target the efforts to that group,” said Massad. “Given where we are today, more and more people recognize that vacant properties are a problem no matter how they became vacant.”

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This article was posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:49 am





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