How Ben Bernanke Can Help You

How Ben Bernanke Can Help You

The recent revelation by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about being turned down for a home refinancing loan should serve as a call-to-action to fix onerous lending standards, said Ronald Peltier, CEO of HomeServices of America—an affiliate of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the nation's second-largest full-service residential brokerage firm. We have to bring common sense back, Peltier said on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday. The process is too mechanized. It doesn't allow for common sense to enter into the mortgage-qualifying process. The standards are just too high, along with the down payments. Earlier this month, Bernanke told a housing conference he had tried unsuccessfully to refinance his mortgage.How can you understand the wisdom or the logic of a former Fed chairman not being able to qualify for a refinance on a relatively small number given he's in the one percent, said Peltier—urging a return to the lending standards of before the housing bubble, which burst in dramatic fashion between the 2006 home price peak and the 2012 bottom. Eight years later, as Bernanke and many other Americans have found out, it's still really hard to get a mortgage—a double-whammy since historically low interest rates are creating a big opportunity for qualified buyers. Many would-be first-time home buyers can't get approved—forcing them to become renters. But Peltier hopes that'll change. When the mortgage markets loosen and the credit standards get more normalized, we see that [renters] will move into purchases of homes. Another optimistic sign, according to the HomeServices CEO, support for the housing recovery has moved from mainly investor-buying for rentals to people who actually intend to live in the homes they purchase. At the start of the recovery two years ago, we were seeing a large percentage of the home purchases being transacted by investors and by private equity. The good news is we are getting a more normalized mix of buyers, Peltier said. Matthew J. Belvedere CNBC




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Dated: October 24th 2014
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