If at first you don’t succeed, just lower the rate

After pushing and huffing and puffing for a 4 percent primary mortgage rate, it now appears that at least one homebuilder wants to play a game of limbo with the Feds and mortgage rates — as in how loooow can they go? The Orange County Register, reporting on a breakfast held at UC Irvine’s Merage School of Business, finds Lennar’s chief investment officer pining for 3 percent mortgage rates:

Under a plan backed by the home building industry, government-sponsored enterprises would provide 3% mortgages for six months, followed by 4% mortgages. The program also calls for homebuyers to get $20,000 in tax credits. If you give people 3% home loans, Haddad said, “they buy. … We’ve tested it.”

Sure. I get it. Haddad may as well have noted that if you give away a free breakfast to everyone in America, consumers will line up to get it. But homes aren’t pancakes and eggs. What’s telling here is that the homebuilder’s push is even more aggressive than that being seen from the National Association of Realtors, who has pushed for a large-scale intervention to enable all borrowers to get a 4.5 percent mortgage. No word on if the NAR is going to decide it’s time for a 2 percent mortgage. Or how about ZERO PERCENT FINANCING, anyone? Perhaps the race to zero will be the story of 2009 when it comes to mortgages and housing. Have your say in our monthly Sound Off Survey, and your answer could be featured in the next HousingWire Magazine.

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