Plan to Help Underwater Homeowners Launched

Will this program finally make a difference? The government is trying to jump-start its so-far weak attempts to tackle the foreclosure crisis by trying to help homeowners who owe more on their homes than they are worth. The Federal Housing Administration will allow lenders to give these borrowers refinanced loans if the lender agrees to forgive at least 10% of the original mortgage amount. The plan, which was announced in March, is being made available starting today. The FHA estimates that between 500,000 and 1.5 million homeowners are projected to be helped. However, the government’s previous efforts to stem foreclosures have fallen far short of expectations. Analysts at Barclays Capital estimated last month that the refinancing program would only benefit 200,000-300,000 homeowners. As of the end of June, there were 11 million U.S. homes, or 23% of those with a mortgage with underwater mortgages, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic.

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