Obama's Housing Plan Won't Cure What Ails Us

A housing recovery, however you define it, is clearly not imminent. So, it was good to see President Obama address an issue that I mentioned in my column last year that being a plan to assist homeowners, who are not delinquent with their mortgages, to refinance and take advantage of the historically low interest rates. Many of these folks are unable to qualify to refinance their loans due to loss in home values. Implementing a program which would enable this group of homeowners to lower their monthly payments will put more money in their pockets and perhaps provide some fuel for the economy. The second part of Obama's plan is to dedicate 15 billion dollars to refurbish damaged and rundown foreclosed properties to prevent neighborhood blight, while simultaneously making those homes more sellable. While assisting some homeowners to refinance and fixing up the neighborhood eyesores are nice ideas, they do not address the main problem with the housing market – the lack of qualified buyers to take on the massive inventory of homes already in foreclosure. I have repeated this mantra for a year, and it still holds true. We do not have enough qualified buyers in this country to soak up the massive inventory of homes currently on the market. We will likely not have enough qualified buyers for years to come. This time around, President Obama is not promising “the world” to the American people, like he did with HARP. The White House plan to refinance 4-5 million homeowners fell seriously short. Even at the time, the promise was unrealistic. If nothing else it gave me a good fit of laughter, which, they say, is good for the soul. After numerous mortgage assistance programs, a massive influx of capital and historically low interest rates, where are we today? We have just passed through the prime selling season. How did it go? Not good. The weak economy continues to take its toll on the confidence of home buyers. The recent upswing in the cancelations of home purchases is a further testament to this fact. No job growth, no income growth, a jittery stock market and the back drop of a Euro Zone collapse, have collaborated to defeat the appetite for new homes in the few qualified home buyers we have. There are those who, for all good reasons, should take the leap from renter to owner today. Yet, they don't. Some I have spoken with are concerned about mobility factor. In a shaky economy, the risk of losing ones job still exists, and the need to relocate could suddenly present itself. These renters have seen the financial and emotional carnage of not being able to sell a home to move forward. Also, the banking sector is a mess. The numerous lawsuits combined with the lack of a settlement on the Robo signing fiasco means the Banks are still in financial capital limbo. So there are a lot of new factors for prospective home buyers to consider besides falling home prices. Even so, you may hear from housing experts that the housing recovery is just around the corner. The very kind expert will say, “Why, you just take three more giant steps straight ahead, and turn right under the lamppost and Voila! You will see a happy thriving Main Street USA!” When it doesn't prove true, they simply move the “recovery” date up a year. Stubborn facts, however, have a way of dashing even the most pleasant hopes and dreams. The fact is that housing needs time, time and more time before we can claim a true recovery. Much like our national economy, the housing market is in a deleveraging phase. The fact is the American consumer is both unwilling and unable take on debt like they once did. Exotic, ill-conceived loans, which, thankfully are no longer offered, pulled too many buyers into an untenable financial situation. Inflated demand led to an oversupply of housing, and it is going to take a national sustainable and credible economic recovery to provide the buyers to soak it up. Americans must believe in the strength of our economy, and have confidence in housing again before home buyer will be willing to take on the biggest debt most will have in their lifetimes. In summary, my belief is that while President Obama's plan is well meaning and acknowledges that many Americans need assistance in refinancing, the plan, even if flawlessly executed, will not cure the core problems in housing. For a few homeowners, however, Obama's modest plan will put a bit of extra money in their pockets each month -- Let's just hope they spend it wisely!
Logan Mohtashami is a senior loan officer at his family owned mortgage company, AMC Lending Group, which has been providing mortgage services for California residents since 1988.

Posted In: Financial AdvisorsPoliticsEconomics

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

The best Black Friday deals from Amazon are still coming hard and fast because the holiday is not yet upon us and the mega-retailer prefers to keep consumers on the hook for as long as possible—spending as much money as possible. 

To that end, here are some of the best Black Friday deals from Amazon that you might want to consider today.

Calphalon 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set

Regular Price: $172

Sale Price: $138.88

Calphalon’s 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set is designed with stainless steel, stay-cool handles along with pour spouts. The nonstick surface is PFOA-free and built with hard-anodized aluminum that is both durable and conducts heat extremely well. The set includes 2 fry pans, a sauce pan with cover, saute pan with cover and large stock pot with cover.

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation

Regular Price: $144

Sale Price: $85.49

The 2nd Generation AirPods from Apple connect to all Apple devices and give you an enhanced listening experience. Plus, they come with a case that keeps them safe and allows you to charge them in a secure environment. With over 24 hours of battery life, access to Siri and easy setup, you can start listening to your favorite tunes or podcasts today.

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Running Shoes

Regular Price: $129.98

Sale Price: $89.98

The Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 21 running shoe is perfect for anyone who likes a short run, maybe a 5K, half marathon or more. Coming in several colors and styles, you can slip these shoes on, enjoy the cushioned outsole, sink into the supple insole and secure laces.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Regular Price: $129.99

Sale Price: $97.83

The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer allows you to crisp, roast, reheat and even dehydrate food products faster and cheaper than ever before. It has a 4-quart capacity and offers a wide temperature range along with several time settings so that you can customize each dish to your needs. Plus, all the parts are dishwasher safe.

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Regular Price: $199.95

Sale Price: $99

Beats by Dr. Dre are among the best headphones on the market, and the Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones include the Apple W1 chip, Class 1 Bluetooth and 40 hours of battery time. These headphones even have a built-in microphone and offer an adjustable fit so that you can be comfortable whether you’re listening to an Android or iOS device.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Regular Price: $198.98

Sale Price: $175.98

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner allows you to keep your home spotless and clean up after your pets. The cleaner comes with the Hoover Paws and Claws Deep shampoo and a storage mat to keep the floor dry once it’s put away.

LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum

Regular Price: $999.00

Sale Price: $851.71

The LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum and Wet Mop All in One Tower is designed to work in homes with several pets or children and clean up all the messes that life brings. The battery lasts up to 2 hours, and there’s an extra removable battery that gives you even more cleaning time and power.

Breville Fresh and Furious Blender

Regular Price: $278.60

Sale Price: $199.95

Breville, a top name in blenders and juicers, offers the Fresh and Furious Blender, featuring 50-ounce capacity, Vac Q technology, pre-programmed cycles, LCD display and lid with pull ring. With the Fresh and Furious Blender, you can make everything from a smoothie to a soup and everything in between.

Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $89.99

Sale Price: $55.63

The Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer is designed for professional use, but it works perfectly in the home. With 1875 watts of power, 6 heat and speed settings and a lightweight design, you can easily style your hair and utilize the diffuser, cut back on the frizz and stretch the 8 ft cord for maximum functionality.

Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Regular Price: $160

Sale Price: $97.38

The Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket from Columbia is designed to be light for everyday use, but it’s heavy enough to protect you from the cold. The plush fleece lining, security pocket, water resistant fabric, 2-way zipper, and zippered hand pockets make the jacket both protective and functional.

ConAir InfinitiPro Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $49.99

Sale Price: $29.99

ConAir is one of the biggest names in hair and beauty, and the InfinitPro is an 1875 watt hair dryer designed for professionals with ceramic technology. The dryer comes with a diffuser and concentrator, and it allows you to blow out your hair just the way they would at the salon.

Deals the Experts Are Hoping For

Experts believe that Amazon’s Black Friday sale could linger for quite some time. It all started with the Prime Early Access sale on October 11 and 12. Previously, Amazon has offered the “Epic Deals” sale that ran through late October. 

This is to say that any sale could come up at any time. 

Even so, those monitoring Amazon are looking forward to a few potential deals, including:

  • Apple Watch
  • AirPods (any generation)
  • MacBook Pro
  • Large, underpriced TVs
  • Amazon Echo
  • More small home appliances (Dyson or Shark vacuums, Instant Pots, etc.) 

While these predictions are based on last year’s Amazon Black Friday Sale, it’s important to remember that most Black Friday sales are fairly consistent and push the products that are most likely to sell.


Featured image sourced from Shutterstock

Posted In: Partner ContentGeneral