Friday Five: Obama Housing Plan Details, 20% Down Payment Mandate

Obama provides specifics on his new housing proposals, while Congress tries to increase fees some home owners pay in order to fund a payroll tax cut extension.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama added more detail to the housing proposals he trumpeted in the State of the Union last week. The administration aims to help home owners refinance at today’s much lower mortgage rates to keep more Americans in their homes. But home owners will have to wait and see if it gets Congressional approval.

Other key issues in the week ahead: proposed “g-fee” increases at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the fate of a mandated 20% down payment requirement.

Washington Post: Obama Announces New Housing Refinance Plan

President Obama on Wednesday made his latest pitch to lift the nation’s beleaguered housing market, unveiling a series of proposals to help struggling borrowers reduce their monthly payments and to stem the continuing slide in real estate prices. Housing Trade Groups Protest G-Fees Increase

Three housing industry trade groups — the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® — have sent a letter of concern to congressional leaders about funding an extension of the payroll tax cut  and other benefits, with an increase in the credit risk guaranty fees (G-fees) charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Time (Moneyland): Study: If Would-Be Home Buyers Have to Put 20% Down, 60% of Them Ain’t Buying

To prevent a repeat of the housing debacle of 2007-2010, when some 5 million homes were lost to foreclosure, federal agencies are considering a mandate that would require borrowers to put 20% down before being OK’d for certain mortgages. For the average U.S. home, which now runs $272,900, that would mean a down payment of $54,580. A new study finds requiring a 20% down payment would have dramatic — and mostly negative — short-term effects on the housing market: The mandate would push 60% of buyers out of the QRM market.

Wall Street Journal: Housing Remains a Buyer’s Market

A majority of Americans recently surveyed say now is a good time to buy a home. That’s no surprise, given that record-low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices are boosting affordability.

CNN Money: Become Your Kid’s Mortgage Lender

Between slumping prices and low mortgage rates, it’s a good time to look for real estate bargains. But thanks to tightened lending standards, legions of young would-be home buyers aren’t exactly in a position to take advantage of the opportunity. That’s where their parents come in: One in three first-time buyers received either a gift or a loan from their families to help buy a home in 2011, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.