Mortgage loan In a mortgage loan, the borrower always conveys two documents to the lender: (1) a note, and (2) a mortgage. The note details the financial rights and obligations between borrower and lender, e.g., whether a loan can be paid off early and at what cost, what fees can be charged for late payments, etc. The mortgage pledges the property as security for the debt.
The note: interest charges Interest rates can be fixed or variable. The monthly interest rate = the annual stated (quoted) contract interest rate / 12. The actual monthly interest charged = the monthly interest rate × the beginning-of-month balance. Example: suppose that the contract rate is 6%. The balance on the first day of January is $100,000. The interest for January is: (6% / 12) × $100,000 = $500. The $500 interest is payable on the first day of February.
The note: adjustable rates, I This loan type is known as ARM (adjusted rate mortgage) in the residential loan markets. The “index rate” is a market determined interest rate that is the moving part in the adjustable interest rate. There is a markup in the adjustable rate, called “margin.” For standard ARM loans, the average margin is about 2.75%. Whenever there is a change in interest rate, home mortgage lenders usually need to notify borrowers at least 30 days in advance.
The note: adjustable rates, II Periodic cap: the cap that limits change in the interest rate from one change date to the next. Overall cap: the cap that limits interest rate change over the life of the loan. Teaser rate: many ARM loans are marketed with a temporarily reduced interest rate. Payment cap: some lenders offer ARM loans with a cap on payments rather than on the interest rate. For example, the payment can be capped at increases of no more than 5% in a single year. However, the unpaid interest would usually added to the original balance, causing the loan balance to increase (i.e., negative amortization).
The note: payments Most standard, fixed loans are level payment and fully amortizing. That is, zero balance at the maturity. Loans can be non-amortizing. That is, only periodic (monthly) interest payments are made. The principal payment is required at the maturity. A loan can also be partially amortizing or negatively amortizing.
The mixture of the payments
The note: term Most loans have a definite term to maturity, usually stated in years. Balloon loan: a partially amortized loan. It has two terms: (1) term for amortization: determines the payment, and the schedule of interest and principal payments, just like a fully amortized loan, (2) term to maturity: determines when the entire remaining balance on the loan must be paid in full. (2) is shorter. Balloon loans are popular for income-generating property.
The note: right of prepayment Most standard home loans give the borrower the right to prepay any time, without penalty. If the note says nothing about the right of prepayment, the determination of the right will depend on the law of the state. Many subprime loans, those made to homeowners who do not qualify for standard loans, have costly prepayment penalties. Commercial loans also often have repayment penalties that are more costly for the first few years of the loan.
The note: late fees They are usually accessed on payments received after the 15th of the month the payment is due. Late fees are usually about 4-5% of the late monthly payment.
The note: personal liability For home loans, borrowers usually assume personal liability. That is, if they fail to meet the terms of the note, they are in the condition of default, and can be sued. These loans are called recourse loans because the lenders have legal recourse. For commercial loans, borrowers frequently do not assume personal liability. But the property is still used as collateral for the loan.
The mortgage The mortgage is a special contract by which the borrower (mortgagor) conveys to the lender (mortgagee) a security interest in the mortgaged property. In general, the mortgage gives the lender the right to rely on the property as security for the debt obligation defined in the note, but this right only can be exercised in the event of default on the note.
The mortgage: clauses, I The major clauses in a standard home loan mortgage: 1. Description of the property. 2. Insurance clause: requires the maintenance of property casualty insurance against fire, windstorm, etc. 3. Escrow clause: requires a borrower to make monthly deposits into an escrow account for property taxes, casualty insurance premiums, etc.
The mortgage: clauses, II 4. Acceleration clause: enables the lender to declare the entire loan balance due and payable when the borrower defaults on the loan. 5. Due-on-sale clause: gives the lender the right to accelerate the loan, requiring the borrower to pay it off when the property is sold. 6. Hazardous substances clause and preservation and maintenance clause: the borrower is prohibited from using or storing hazardous substances on the property and is required to maintain the property in its original condition.
Default Default: failure to meet the requirements of the note (and by reference, the mortgage). Technique defaults: minor violations of the note that do not disrupt the payments on the loan. Example: hazard insurance no longer good. These usually do not trigger legal actions. Substantive defaults: when payments are missed, typically for 90 days.
Possible responses to default Lenders may help borrowers improve their household financial management, e.g., credit counseling, a temporary reduction of payments, facilitating the sale of the property. Foreclosure: a legal process of terminating all claims of ownership by the borrower, and all liens inferior to the foreclosing lien.
Foreclosure The ultimate recourse of the lender. Risk of failing to notify a claimant; it is sometimes difficult to identify and notify all claimants to the property; legal procedure need to be perfect. Presence of superior liens (senior debts). Costly and time consuming. Distressed, sub-optimal sale because legal complexities and lower marketability often prevent buyers from debt financing.
Foreclosure for Whitney Houston STATE OF GEORGIA COUNTY OF FULTON NOTICE OF SALE UNDER POWER Because of a default in the payment of the indebtedness secured by that certain Security Deed, dated April 28, 2003, executed by WHITNEY E. HOUSTON to MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., as nominee for WACHOVIA MORTGAGE CORPORATION, recorded in Deed Book 34852, Page 295, Fulton County, Georgia Deed Records, and securing a Note in the original principal amount of $1,100,000.00, … Source:
The waves of foreclosures “In some major markets, including Las Vegas and San Diego, foreclosure- related sales have accounted for more than 40% of all sales in recent months.” “Waves of foreclosures cuts into home prices.” Source: WSJ, Mar. 25, 2008.
2 methods of sale in foreclosure Judicial foreclosure: court- administered public auction. This method is required in Vermont. Power of sale: public auction conducted by trustee or mortgagee (the lender) This method is preferred by lenders. Cheaper and faster.
Conventional mortgage loans Any standard home loan that is not insured or guaranteed by an agency of the U.S. government. Conventional mortgages can be either fixed rate (LPMs: level-payment mortgages) or adjustable rate (ARMs). Conventional mortgage loans can be conforming or nonconforming. A conforming conventional loan is one that meets the standards (e.g., $ limit) required for purchase in the secondary market by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Nonconforming loans that exceed the dollar limit ($417,000 in 2006 for continental U.S.) are called jumbo loans.
LPMs Fixed monthly payments; no surprises. Over 75% of outstanding first mortgage home loans are LPMs. 30-year LPMs are the predominant form of conventional loan. LPMs usually require a higher monthly payment.
ARMs Payments are not fixed. ARMs tend to have a lower monthly payment; but this may not always the case.
FHA-insured loans The federal housing administration was established in 1934 to stabilize the housing industry. FHA sells mortgage insurance to low- income households. FHA mortgage insurance covers any lender loss after foreclosure and conveyance of title of the property to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
VA-guaranteed loans The Department of Veterans Affairs provides VA-guaranteed loans that help veterans obtain home mortgage loans with favorable terms.
Home equity loan Some home equity loans are closed-end, fixed-term loans. Mostly open-end or credit-line loans. Tax deductible interest (in contrast, the interest expenses on credit card loans are not tax deductible). Strength of the house as security provides favorable rate and longer term. Usually limited to total mortgage debt (sum of all mortgage loans) of 75% to 80% of value. Increasingly popular.
Interest-only (I-O) mortgage I-O with balloon has interest-only payments for 5 to 7 years, ending with a full repayment of principal. I-O amortizing has interest-only payments for up to 15 years, then converts to a fully amortizing payment for the remainder of the term. Is I-O amortizing a good product from a home buyer’s perspective?
Option ARMs Typically, borrowers can select among 3 types of payments: fully amortizing, interest-only, and a minimum payment. Borrowers usually choose the minimum payment, which is initially based on a very low interest rate: say, 1.5 %. Minimum payment increases 7.5 percent per year. Interest rate charged is adjustable, and often is deeply reduced for the first few months. Typically, with minimum payment, the loan balance grows due to “negative amortization.” At the end of 5 years, or when the balance reaches 125 % of the original loan, the payment is recast to fully amortize the loan over its remaining term.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) Protect lender against losses due to default. Generally required for loans over 80% of value, i.e., loan-to-value (LTV) > 80%. Protect lender for losses up to 20% of loan. Premium can be paid in lump sum or in monthly installments. 2 possible terms: 2.5 % of loan in single up-front premium. 0.5 % annual premium (0.041% per month).
PMI termination Termination may be allowed if loan falls below 80% of current value and borrower is in good standing. Must allow termination when loan falls to 80% of original value (Homeowner’s Insurance Act of 1999). Obligation to terminate when loan falls to 78% of original value.
An overview of mortgage debt
Mortgage markets Primary mortgage market: the loan origination market. For example, you go to a mortgage broker and get a mortgage loan from a mortgage lender. Secondary mortgage market: investors and mortgage originators buy and sell mortgage loan portfolios in the secondary mortgage market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the largest buyer of residential mortgages in the secondary market.
Economic significance When the mortgage finance system works well, we expect (1) increased finance availability, and (2) lower finance cost. These lead to more RE activities, e.g., increasing home ownership rate, and a stronger economy. This is the reason why government- sponsored enterprises (GSEs), e.g., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been active in the mortgage finance system.
Primary market: depository lenders They are financial intermediaries. Pool small amounts of savings. Channel to large-scale uses (e.g.; mortgage loans). Types Savings associations (S&Ls, savings banks). Commercial banks. Credit unions.
Non-depository lenders: mortgage companies Mortgage banker: not a bank – accepts no deposits. Originates loans to sell. Often retains right to service the loan for a fee. Mortgage broker: brings borrower and lender together for a fee; never owns the loan.
Mortgage banker Originates and owns loans long enough to sell the pooled loans (1 st asset). Either, Sell loans “whole.” Or, pool and securitize loans. Servicing (2 nd asset) is core profit center.
Servicing Collects monthly payments, remits to investor (loan buyer). Collects and remits payments for property taxes, hazard insurance and mortgage insurance. Manages late payments, defaults, foreclosures. Receives fee of.25% to.44%.
Creating 2 assets
Pipeline risk Pipeline risk: risk between loan commitment and loan sale. 2 types: Fallout risk: risk that loan applicant backs out because the market interest rate falls during this window. Interest rate/price risk: risk that closed loans will fall in value before sold. Mortgage bankers are highly leveraged and sensitive to pipeline risk. Hedging is often needed (via purchasing a forward commitment, i.e., sale of loan at a preset price for future delivery, from GSEs or other issuers).
Secondary market players Fannie Mae (1968): spun off from HUD to become a primary purchaser of FHA and VA mortgage loans. Ginnie Mae (1968): empowered to guarantee “pass-through” mortgage-backed securities based on FHA and VA loans. Freddie Mac (1970): formed to purchase and securitize conventional home loans from savings associations.
Mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) Multiple mortgage loans in a single pool or fund. Security entitles investor to pro rata share of all cash flows. Loans in a given pool are similar: Conventional Same vintage (new or recent loans) Similar interest rates Nearly two-thirds of all new home loans have been securitized in recent years.
The bust of Fannie and Freddie In September 2008, the government seized their operations. “They recorded a combined $14 billion of losses in the 12 months ended June 30, largely because they lowered their credit standards and purchased or guaranteed dubious home loans.” These home loans are the so-called Alt-A loans, which go to borrowers with good credit records who do not fully document their income. Source: WSJ, Oct. 16, 2008.
Residential underwriting decisions Underwriting: process of determining whether the risks of a loan are acceptable. 3 “Cs” of traditional residential underwriting: Collateral: URAR appraisal. Creditworthiness: credit report and scoring. Capacity: ability to pay (payment ratios).
Capacity ratio, I Housing expense ratio = PITI / GMI. PITI is principal, interest, (property) taxes and insurance. GMI is gross monthly income. Recent convention set maximum at 28% for conventional loans.
Capacity ratio, II Total debt ratio = (PITI + LTO) ÷ GMI. LTO is long-term obligation: the sum of payments for other repeating obligations, e.g., car leasing payments and child support. Recent convention set maximum at 36% for conventional loans.
Subprime lending Many households are unable to qualify for “affordable” home loans. Subprime targets three borrower deficiencies: Lack of income documentation. Weak credit. Seeking financing for 100% LTV or higher. More expensive than standard home loans. Polar views of subprime lending: Fills compelling, legitimate need (beats credit cards). Hunting ground of predatory lenders.
Subprime crisis Loans to homeowners with less-than-sterling credit are the fastest-growing segment of the mortgage market…So-called subprime loans have helped boost US homeownership to a record 69% of households. …In Massachusetts, subprime loans, fueled by refinancings, have grown from 1.6% of mortgages in 2000 to 12.3% today…About 3.5% of subprime mortgages and refinancing loans go into foreclosure, but a study by the UNC found that 20% of refinancings in 1998 through 2000 that were examined wound up in foreclosure. For conventional loans, the rate is 1.1% of mortgages and refinancings… Source: Boston Globe
The scope of high-risk mortgage “From 2004 to 2006, when conventional lending slowed and subprime lending accelerated, more than 2,500 financial institutions made a combined $1.5 trillion in high-interest- rate (high risk) mortgage loans. Most subprime loans fall into this basket.” Source: WSJ, Oct. 11, 2007.