President Barack Obama says he has a plan to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, in an effort to jump-start the nation's troubled housing market. Obama's proposal would subsidize borrowers who can't refinance because they owe more than their home is worth. The program would target homeowners who have been "responsible," saving them an average of $3,000 per year in mortgage payments. The program would be paid for with a tax on large home lenders, called a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee.
Obama's plan was a direct rebuttal to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said of the housing market, "Let it run its course and hit bottom," in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Idaho has had great success with federal programs geared to help people stay in their homes. Idaho was one of only six states in the nation to use all of its alloted funding for the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
Gerald Hunter, the president and executive director of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, manages such programs in Idaho and also oversees a $3 billion portfolio of home loans. In this week's edition of BW, we talk to Hunter about his portfolio, federal programs to assist homeowners, and his forecast for the Idaho real estate industry.