Mortgage Meltdown: What It Means to You


Even if one isn't being being tossed out of one's home as the bank forecloses on your home, it's hard not to be worried by the ongoing mortgage industry crisis. Even if you're not in danger of losing your home, however, the lending crisis could have an effect on you, your property, and your wealth.

The takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae may reverse several negative trends that have been damaging the US economy.

One of the key factors in the mortgage meltdown is the effect it's having on interest rates. As borrowers default on  home loans, lenders have tightened credit and raised interest rates. Higher interest rates can hurt borrowers who have adjustable rate mortgages or even those with non-fixed consumer debt.

Lower consumer spending linked to higher interest rates can have an adverse affect on businesses and concurrently financial markets, so those with savings invested in the stock market can see their portfolio values decline.

A declining economy is leading to downsizing among buinsesses and the domestic jobless rate has reached its highest point  since 2003.

The increased difficulty in getting loans to buy a house paired with the increase in housing inventory as banks foreclose on defaulting borrowers means that demand is declining as supply increases. That's a recipe for falling property values. A large portion of many Americans' net worth is vested in their homes, so a drop in property value is as significant as a declining stock market or money draining out of one's checking account.

Producers for This American Life and NPR presented a comprehensive examination of the causes of the mortgage meltdown in a program titled "The Giant Pool of Money."

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