A leading mortgage analyst, Amherst Securities Group, LP, predicts over 11 million homeowners will default and lose their home if the government fails to take more radical intervention. The authors dismiss recent talk of mortgage performance improvement as statistical sleight-of-hand magically conjured by modifications.
The report offers an astounding forecast of the fate of severe negative-equity properties. Nineteen percent of properties with a loan-to-value (LTV) of 120% or greater are defaulting every year. A death-defying 75% of mortgages on 120% LTV properties will eventually go bad (19% + 19% + 19%, …). The current crop of mortgages is already “impaired” at the one-of-five level. Nine of 100 are seriously delinquent. Six of 100 are “dirty current” (made current by modification). Five of 100 are seriously underwater (LTV greater than 120%).
The solutions include mandatory principal reductions, looser underwriting of new mortgage loans, leveraged capital pools for investors, and penalties for defaulting homeowners. Amherst reports that a family who defaults can live rent-free for 20 months on average. They propose that missed mortgage payments, including property taxes and insurance, be counted as W2 income.