Double-edged sword of housing aid

Are home retention programs worth the small payback?

You can hear the drums beating in the distance on President Obama’s network of initiatives to get the housing market stabilized.

While the Home Affordable Modification Program, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program and all the other federal initiatives were needed back in 2008 and 2009 to prop up a decimated housing market, it might be time to bring all these layers of complexity to a conclusion.

It’s not only that HAMP and all its brethren have been expensive, but it’s been apparent for a long time now that these programs are not really working out very well. Despite best intentions, as of August, fewer than 500,000 borrowers have successfully made it through the HAMP trial phase and the number of people falling out of the program is increasing.