Jonathan Sweet is the editor in chief of Professional Remodeler, an award-winning trade publication for remodelers and home improvement contractors. He started his career covering homes and small businesses at a daily newspaper and has spent more than a decade writing for several construction trade publications including Qualified Remodeler, Construction Pro and Concrete Contractor. +Jonathan Sweet
The New York Times today has more information on what the Obama administration is considering to stimulate the housing industry (and hence the economy.)
Consider me underwhelmed. Unfortunately, it's more of the same: mortgage assistance and encouraging rental programs. After all, it's worked so well before.
The problem is the banks don't want to refinance these mortgages. Why give up those high interest rates from people that are making their payments every month? The biggest complaints about the previous program was the inability of homeowners to get the banks to take any action on refinancing. The government officials overseeing the programs received thousands of such complaints. They've got their condition-free bailout and there's no need to share the windfall.
There are better plans out there, as I wrote about last week, but they require more guts, and yes, more money, than the administration seems willing to risk.