Thought we were done with subprime mortgages forever?
Lenders are starting to offer subprime mortgage loans and even the press is starting to notice. The LA Times ran a story about a couple who had a foreclosure got a subprime loan from a lender above a 10% interest rate and was happy about it. Just think – how many other people who have recently been through a foreclosure or short sale would be happy about getting a loan right after it? This particular couple viewed it as a “bridge loan” – which can make a lot of sense in a rising real estate market.
Michele and Russell Poland’s credit was shot, but they managed to buy their suburban dream home anyway.
After a business bankruptcy and a home foreclosure, they turned to a rare option in this era of tightfisted banking — a subprime loan.
The Polands paid nearly $10,000 in upfront fees for the privilege of securing a mortgage at 10.9% interest. And they had to raid their retirement account for a 35% down payment.
Most borrowers would balk at such stiff terms. But with prices rising, the Polands wanted to snag a four-bedroom home in Temecula near top-rated schools for their 5-year-old son. By later this year, they figure, they’ll be able to refinance into a standard loan.
“The mortgage is a bridge loan,” said Russ Poland, now working as an insurance investigator. “It was expensive, but we think it’s worth it.”
In the aftermath of the housing crash, there’s no shortage of Americans who, like the Polands, are eager to rebuild their shattered finances. In response, lenders are emerging to offer the classic subprime trade-off: high-priced loans for high-risk customers.
Before the housing crash, many people would get subprime loans and think nothing of it. Then the housing crash happened and it was blamed on the “bad, bad subprime loans” – which may or may not have been the primary reason for it.
Before the housing bust, a sprawling business arose in subprime mortgages and their cousins, so-called alt-A loans, which were issued to people who had decent credit but did not have to prove income. About $1 trillion in subprime and alt-A loans were originated in 2005 and again in 2006 — more than a third of all home loans, according to the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.
But the explosion of mortgage defaults that began in late 2006 vaporized an entire industry of subprime specialists. The Wall Street firms that had bundled the loans into securities soon began to implode as well. Little wonder that loans for the credit-challenged disappeared.
Today’s high-risk lenders differ from those during the housing boom in key ways. These lenders say the new subprime mortgages are actually old school — the kind of loans made in the 1980s and 1990s. In other words, a borrower’s collateral matters, down payments matter, income and ability to pay matter.
If you are in a situation where you have went through a foreclosure or short sale or bankruptcy and are having trouble getting a “standard” loan – maybe it is time to look into getting a subprime loan again – lenders are offering them at reasonable terms and if you have the ability to repay it (good job, stable history, big down payment, etc.) then it may make a lot of sense.