Hat tip to both Rick and Richard sent in this article from the WSJ on alternative underwriting for mortgages, which is on the rise:
Excerpted – bold added:
Aryanna Hering didn’t have pay stubs or tax forms to document her income when she shopped around for a mortgage last year—a problem that made it tough for her to get a loan.
But the nursing student who works part time providing home care for children and the elderly eventually hit pay dirt: For a roughly $610,000 home loan, a mortgage company let her verify her earnings with 12 months of bank statements and letters from clients.
Ms. Hering’s case highlights how a flavor of mortgage once panned for its role in the housing meltdown a decade ago is making a comeback. These loans, aimed at buyers with unusual circumstances such as those who can’t provide the standard proofs of income, are growing rapidly even as rising interest rates and higher home prices crimp demand for mortgages.
Lenders issued $34 billion of these unconventional mortgages in the first three quarters of 2018, a 24% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. While that makes up less than 3% of the $1.3 trillion of mortgage originations over that period, the growth is notable because it came as traditional home loans declined. Those originations fell 1.2% over the same period and were on track for a second down year in 2018.
Tom Jessop, the loan consultant at New American Funding who handled Ms. Hering’s loan, said he has seen demand for unconventional loans double over the past 18 months and they currently makes up more than one-third of his business. “I think it’s just catering to an audience that’s been neglected for years,” Mr. Jessop said. “Now they have an opportunity to get financing finally.”
At the same time, Wall Street investors who buy home loans are scooping up unconventional mortgages that have been packaged into bonds, edging back into a corner of the market that is riskier but provides higher returns. There were $12.3 billion of such residential-mortgage-backed securities sold in 2018, nearly quadruple from a year earlier, according to credit-rating firm DBRS Inc.
Nick also put it on twitter, where I responded:
Back in 2006-2007, Countrywide was funding neg-am mortgages up to $1,500,000 with no money down and just a decent credit score – the example given is far from that.
The mortgage industry needs to find a balance in between – it’s not out of line to finance a borrower who can show income via bank statements and has substantial equity/skin in the game.