Foreclosure Crisis- The Result of Unserviceable Debt

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Posing the problem of solving the foreclosure crisis first begs the question – “is there really a foreclosure crisis?” The country is certainly in crisis, but the crisis is not being caused by mortgage foreclosure. Foreclosure is simply a mechanism for people to deal with a debt they can no longer afford. Rather than being a crisis, the potential onslaught of home foreclosures (which has been slowed somewhat by the Obama administration’s “Making Home Affordable” program) is actually market forces hard at work cleaning out the mess in the real estate market caused by too much cheap money loaned to people who were not sound credit risks to buy homes they could not afford. When home prices are completely out of line with wages and people who would normally have a hard time getting a friend to loan them $20 are able to take out interest-only loans to buy over-priced housing, something is very, very wrong. While it may be painful for many people, the real estate market collapsing, including thousands of inevitable foreclosures, is not a crisis, but rather a result of the real crisis – unserviceable debt. Years of cheap credit, combined with government incentives to get people to purchase homes, debt securitization that hid the risk of low quality loans, and Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) that lowered standards for purchasing mortgages created a situation that compelled lenders to make riskier and riskier loans. Individuals who had formerly not been able to purchase homes had access to credit like never before. With more and more people buying houses, prices soared and real estate looked like a sure-fire way to make money. Adjustable rate loans or loans with a huge balloon payments were not seen as potentially unaff... ... middle of paper ... ...s more opportunity to live within their means, possibly even saving for a twenty percent down payment and buying a home they can actually afford. While no one likes the idea of turning people out of their homes, when you buy something you can’t afford, you have to return it. When you make a bad business decision, you have to take the consequences. Capitalism doesn’t work when there is no downside to risk – that downside is there to make sure that the system works properly. The most sensible, soundest and, ultimately, kindest solution to the debt crisis caused by the real estate bubble is foreclosure – expedient, easy, simple foreclosure. This is the best way for the housing market to grow again, which in the end will give people the opportunity to enjoy the piece of mind that comes from knowing they own a home they can afford and can really call their own.

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