National Mortgage News reported last week that due to the growing concern among middle age and older Americans about their ability to make payments, AARP has put helping people facing foreclosure remain in their homes near the top of its agenda for the 111th Congress.
According to the article, AARP supports legislation that would give bankruptcy judges the discretion to modify the primary mortgage debt of people who can’t afford to pay their loans. "Our political leaders need to make some tough choices," CEO Bill Novelli said at a press briefing outlining the group’s legislative goals. Elaine Ryan, AARP’s vice president for government relations and advocacy, said during a recent three-month period, more than 700,000 older Americans faced foreclosure.
"It’s not just first-time buyers, but seniors who are victims of predatory reverse mortgages and persons who had houses willed to them", she said. Released along with the group’s advocacy agenda were the results on a December telephone survey, including "a new finding" that one third of the 1,097 respondents were worried about being able to afford their mortgage or rent over the next 12 months.
Almost half the respondents have already found it tougher to pay their utility bills. AARP’s housing plank also calls for a one-year moratorium on foreclosures, an expansion of home equity mortgages as a foreclosure avoidance tool, and great accountability for abusive lending practices.
I did a bit of research to see what an expansion of home equity mortgages as a foreclose avoidance tool was and found some interesting information. AARP recently published its 2009 Legislative Priorities and one of its priorities looks to raise the HECM home value limit to $625,500. See below:
Accessing Equity: Raise the home value limit to $625,500 for the FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, which provides older homeowners the option of tapping the equity in their homes to pay off mortgages that have become too costly;
Very interesting AARP… very interesting…