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Key Features of the New Housing Rescue Plan

The government’s newest housing rescue effort, which was announced Friday, includes these key tenets:

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· As much as $14 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be made available to pay for writing down second liens for loans whose borrowers refinance through the Federal Housing Administration.

· Lenders that facilitate refinances through the FHA will be required to write down the principal of the first mortgage by at least 10 percent so the home owner has a loan-to-value ratio no higher than 97.75 percent.

· Lenders of second liens will be offered incentives of 10 cents to 21 cents per dollar of principal they write down in connection with an FHA refinance.

· Borrowers who lose their jobs can apply to have their mortgage payments reduced for three to six months while they search for a new job.

· Borrowers with a payment still greater than 31 percent of income after they find a job will be considered for a permanent loan modification.

· To encourage more short sales and “deed in lieu” of foreclosure transactions in which the lender settles the loan for less than is owed, the government will double assistance to borrowers to $3,000 and increase incentives to subordinate lien holders and investors to $6,000.

Source: Reuters News (03/26/2010)

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