The Cause and Effect of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

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The subprime mortgage crisis is an ongoing event that is affecting buyers who purchased homes in the early 2000s. The term subprime mortgage refers to the many home loans taken out during a housing bubble occurring on the US coast, from 2000-2005. The home loans were given at a subprime rate, and have now lead to extensive foreclosures on home loans, and people having to leave their homes because they can not afford the payments. (Chote) The cause and effect of this crisis can be broken down into five major reasons.

When subprime mortgages began to flourish, the term housing bubble came into existence. The term relates to the time in which houses sharply increased in value, and consumers often borrowed at less than the lowest rates. People believed that the price of their homes would rise and they could then refinance for lower payments. The problem with that mentality is many people didn’t just refinance for lower payments, they also refinanced for personal spending. Inflation of home prices meant homeowners suddenly had more equity and were able to spend the money as they chose.

All good things must come to and end. In late 2005, the housing bubble burst, and housing began to decline in price. People who refinanced, particularly those who financed with variable interest rates suddenly found their homes were valued at much less. The housing market became flooded with homes for sale, because the homeowners with variable rates and interest only loans could not continue to make their payments. (Greenspan) The rise in the number of homes for sale caused further lowering of home values.

Keeping in mind that the main reason for the mortgage crisis is the high number of defaulted home loans, which triggered foreclosures and sell offs. The other four contributing factors include high-risk loans, the bust in the housing market, mortgage fraud, and speculation. High-risk loans are loans that are over leveraged, where the financing is done more than the suggested values to be given. (Greenspan) This can result in immediate sell off when the property falls below that loan amount and to avoid further loss the banks start raising the installment. The housing market has seen pressure as a result of the over pressure on most homeowners by increasing rates. This affects people ability to make the payments, resulting in defaults. This is the problem with the burst in the housing market. The third major factor that is causing the mortgage crisis is, mortgage fraud.
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