Over the past two years, the government and federal regulators have also successfully managed to stave off a "tidal wave" of foreclosures, by imposing moratoriums on foreclosures following a robo-signing scandal and then pressuring big banks including
Bank of America
(BAC - Get Report)
(JPM - Get Report)
to pursue alternatives to foreclosure by way of principal reductions, forbearance and short sales through a $25-billion mortgage settlement.
But President Obama still has plenty of unfinished business in housing.
On the top of his agenda is a plan to make refinancing available to even those borrowers who do not have loans backed by Fannie and Freddie.
Under the proposed plan, borrowers with standard non-GSE mortgages (not jumbo loans) who have been current on their payments for at least the last 6 months -- and not skipped more than one payment in the 6 months prior -- and who have a minimum credit score of 580 will be eligible to get their loans refinanced through the FHA into a 4.25% 30-year loan.
The plan, which requires Congressional approval, could save borrowers upto $3,000 a year in mortgage payments. Republicans have balked at the plan, especially because the White House proposed it be funded by a "tax" on the largest banks.
With Republicans still in control of the House, Obama has a fight on his hands.
But he sounded hopeful in a recent address in October. " Let's be honest - Republicans in Congress won't act on this plan before the election. But maybe they'll come to their senses afterward if you give them a push. So contact your Representative, especially if this plan will help you or someone you know. Tell him or her that American homeowners have waited long enough. Tell them that it's time for Congress to stop standing in the way of our recovery and to start standing up for you."
Another controversial issue would be a proposal to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction as the U.S. works to reduce its deficit. In tackling deductions, President Obama would try to ensure that middle-class borrowers are not unduly affected.