Interviews

Tensions mount over talk of new homeowner bailout

Would action help or hurt housing industry?

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, living underwater, now, SpongeBob always makes it look so fun and easy, but for millions of homeowners living underwater, it is neither fun nor easy.

Now word the White House is nearing another housing bailout to help those homeowners. But realtor Dolly Lenz says this will do nothing to help the overall market.

So you are saying -- we were speaking during the break, Dolly -- cease and desist?

DOLLY LENZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIR, PRUDENTIAL DOUGLAS ELLIMAN: Yes, let the market heal themselves. It's what we keep saying.

And they are, in fact, healing themselves. We are seeing some signs of improvement, slow, but some signs. So, why introduce another sterile program now? I just don't even understand it.

CAVUTO: Well, the argument for is that it will speed up this process. You argue just the opposite.

LENZ: Yeah, I think it may slow down the process.

A., more people will try to qualify for it. So it may make people not pay their payments, do whatever they have to do to qualify for it, so they're going to slow up their process of paying their loans. So that is one negative. Another negative is it's never going to reach enough people. It's gonna reach from 100,000 to 500,000 people max once everyone goes through all the requirements to get into the program. And out of --

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So it is geared for those who are underwater, but there's certainly more than 100,000 or 200,000 Americans underwater.

LENZ: Underwater, having to meet certain requirements, like underwater for three years, all the --

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I see.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So what about those who are underwater who do not meet the qualifications? Wouldn't they get ticked off?

LENZ: They will get ticked off. So will all the people paying all their bills who have always paid all their bills. Won't they get kicked off? To me, it just doesn't make sense.

CAVUTO: So you would just callously leave them all on their own?

LENZ: I would leave them all on their own while everything is healing.

CAVUTO: Right.

LENZ: And let's see. Let's let it play out. Maybe it plays out that actually prices go up.

CAVUTO: You just think this is all dragging it out.

LENZ: I think it is making it worse.

CAVUTO: Yeah.

LENZ: I think, if we let it go, the prices may go up and it will heal itself. So all we need to do is watch --

CAVUTO: Are you seeing any of that?

LENZ: I -- I'm not seeing prices go up, but I am seeing it firming up a little bit. And if it firms up a little bit, maybe we will keep going and it will firm up a lot. Maybe employment numbers will improve.

CAVUTO: What is firming up? What is that?

LENZ: Firming up is less foreclosures on the market, less property in general on the market, people actually going out and buying because a buy vs. rent analysis for them makes sense for them to buy now.

So things like that, make people diving in -- yes, I'm confident. I'm going to buy something. I think this makes people less confident. You really need people to be confident more than any other factor.

CAVUTO: What if your lender comes back to you and says, well, we want to get you off our books or make this right in our books? And it is not the government, it's just the greedy bankers who decide it is not in their financial interest to keep this, like it is.

LENZ: You mean like a short sale?

CAVUTO: Right.

LENZ: Right.

I think short sales have their place and they should go ahead and clear their books however they have to do it.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But that is unfair to properties in the area because their value goes down.

LENZ: Well, it does, but that is the bank and that is someone who is a direct lender.

CAVUTO: It's not the government.

LENZ: Exactly. It's not the taxpayer taking the bill directly.

Someone could say the banks are the taxpayer taking the bill directly, but not as direct as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for sure.

CAVUTO: Are lenders being any more eager to lend?

LENZ: No, I don't see evidence.

CAVUTO: Even with these low rates?

LENZ: No. I don't see evidence of them wanting to get further into the muck here. No, I do not.

CAVUTO: So what are they doing? Just telling people no or put more money down?

LENZ: Put more money down, have perfect credit, make sure the appraisal, which is always the biggest challenge, make sure the appraisal comes out, all of those things, making the requirements stiffer and stiffer as we proceed.

CAVUTO: And appraisers have gone just the other way from the go-go ‘90s, right?

LENZ: Correct.

CAVUTO: Now they appraise very conservatively.

LENZ: Very -- even -- even incorrectly, so conservatively. Yes.

CAVUTO: So you get back on the horn with them and just chew them a new one, right?

(CROSSTALK)

LENZ: Oh, for sure. And I send them all the comps and I said, what property did you appraise? It wasn't that property.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Dolly Lenz, you want her on your side guys, right, realtor extraordinaire.

Thank you, Dolly.

LENZ: Thank you.

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