A 4.5 percent mortgage for all?
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A 4.5 percent mortgage for all?

by Frank James

Who wouldn’t want one of those 4.5 percent mortgages that are now being considered as a way to revive the economy? Sign me up.

But there’s evidently some disagreement about whether such mortgages would be available to those who would be refinancing, like me, or available only to those purchasing a home.

Financial-industry lobbyists want such a program to apply to both home buyers and those refinancing. No surprise there. That would create a much bigger opportunity for the industry to make money than if the program is limited to purchases.

According to an Associated Press story:

Financial industry lobbyists are urging the Treasury Department to take steps to lower mortgage rates and help stabilize the battered U.S. housing market.

Under one proposal, Treasury would seek to lower the rate on a 30-year mortgage to 4.5 percent by purchasing mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Scott Talbott, chief lobbyist at the Financial Services Roundtable, said Wednesday.

If enacted, such a plan would be an unprecedented opportunity for anyone with good credit and a solid income who could qualify for a mortgage at the lowest rates on records dating to the early 1960s, said Keith Gumbinger, senior vice president at financial publisher HSH Associates.

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