Homes were sold for little or no down payment to eager families without substantial reserves, who could afford initial payments but often floundered when adjustable rate mortgages hit higher gears and property taxes, initially set for empty land, ballooned from the construction. The builders and lenders who profited from this easy-credit scenario often were protected by federal insurance; not so the would-be homeowners. And foreclosed, vacated homes pulled down values in their neighborhoods, urban and suburban.It is obvious that the underwriting standards that allowed these borderline mortgages to be closed need to be tightened. Part of the problem though is that federal government policies encouraged renters to buy homes when their incomes did not justify homeownership.
The Star also picks up on something that is often missed during this debate. When it comes to new homes, the borrower has often been qualified to buy homes using property taxes figured on undeveloped land. When the property taxes on the developed property hits about two years later, many homeowners have not been saving to pay the large tax bill that arrives from their lender. Quite often they were not warned about this by their mortgage broker or lender.
Mortgage lenders need to tighten underwriting standards and government needs to stop encouraging people to be homeowners who shouldn't be. There is nothing wrong with someone with little or unstable income being a renter.