Higher Rates to Ensue for Many Modified Mortgages

According to a recent government report from the office of the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), 800,000 homeowners who received loan modifications during the financial crisis will begin to see their monthly payments go up by about $200 a month.

About 30,000 homeowners will experience their first set of higher payments this year, since they received modifications in 2009 under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the SIGTARP’s report said. HAMP was initiated to assist homeowners avoid potential foreclosure, with 95% of HAMP modifications cutting interest rates.

After five years, the interest rates on the HAMP modifications will increase due to resets—no more than one percentage point each year until they adjust to the prevailing rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Over the next seven years, 782,748 HAMP homeowners will see an increase in monthly payments.

SIGTARP expects median increases for homeowners who received modifications in 2009 to be $242 as a result of higher interest rates, pushing their monthly payments to $1,026. About three million people received non-HAMP assistance in 2009, which also resulted in an immense amount of interest rate cuts and resets.

Recently, SIGTARP has indicated that HAMP homeowners may see interest rates rise to as much as 5.4%. Half of the homeowners who receive permanent HAMP modifications reside in four states: California, Florida, New York, and Illinois. Many of those states’ residents should expect to see higher interest rates and payments if they were a part of the HAMP program.


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