St. Cloud home buying activity may be going great guns, but for some would-be buyers, credit score woes are still a stubborn obstacle. That’s why we have been keeping an eye on the new pilot project that was announced late last year. This was the one called the "Wealth Building Home Loan." It’s an experiment aimed at opening up home ownership options, particularly for first time home buyers. Bank of America and Citibank were first to sign up for the program, said to “take a fresh approach to affordable mortgage lending.” It sounds like a pretty good idea!
How It Works
The Wealth Building Home Loan is a mortgage that runs for 15 years at a fixed interest rate. Because the term is so short, equity builds rapidly. The payments are more manageable than any reality-grounded St. Cloud mortgage watcher would think because discount points can be used to buy the interest rate down to…well, “zero”! Since no down payment is generally required, home buyers can apply their available cash to purchasing those points. Since that sounds almost too good to be true, we’ve been keeping an eye open for progress reports.
Extra Help for Buyers with Modest Income
Qualifying for the mortgages would emphasize home buyer income rather than credit score. This would be a real godsend to the many people still rebuilding their credit after the economic downturn. Furthermore, interest would be set at three-fourths of a percent lower than the 30-year FHA rate—which makes sense, since shorter terms mean lower lender risk—with additional points to be offered at special bargain prices.
A Game-Changing Approach
The loan program is piloted through The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, which secured underwriting from BofA and Citibank. It’s intended to be "a game changer,” because equity ownership takes place rapidly. Already in the first three years of a WBHL, 77% of the monthly payments pay off the principal, rather than the 68% that goes to interest under a standard 30-year mortgage. The effect is to accumulate a significant ownership stake almost from the word ‘go’—and more ownership equates to better loan performance.
When last checked, the program was in “pilot project” status (still in the initial shakedown phase) while the innovators who came up with the idea figure out how to make the loans widely available. So far, so good, apparently—we’ll keep an eye on developments to see if the program is greenlighted by the two underwriters.
In the meantime, St. Cloud mortgage-seekers have a wide variety of currently available options for taking advantage of the great buys viewable on this morning’s St. Cloud listings. Give me a call for a no-obligation discussion of how you can take advantage of today’s opportunities!