“Now, I don’t know, I don’t know where I’m a gonna go
when the volcano blow.
Let me say it now,
I don’t know, I don’t know where I’m a gonna go
when the volcano blow.”
Jimmy Buffett – Volcano video.
You could hear women lamenting, children crying, men shouting. There were some so afraid of death that they prayed for death. Many raised their hands to the gods, and even more believed that there were no gods any longer and that this was one unending night for the world.” —Pliny the Younger, circa A.D. 97 to 109, describing the Vesuvius eruption.
Ancient Pompeians, “poured their savings into their houses. Wealthy people enriched their homes with elegant courtyard gardens decorated with frescoes of plants and flowers and an abundance of modern conveniences…” Similarly, denizens of the O.C. take much pride in their modern day villas.
Herculaneum has been described as, “…a dream town. Overlooking the Bay of Naples, it was the aristocratic dwelling of a wealthy elite, a cluster of fabulous villas and gardens.” The residents there must have felt lucky and privileged, not unlike residents in some modern day Irvine Ranch villas…with option ARMs…the dream will end suddenly…
I posted about the ugliness of the option ARMs in the forums, but it was suggested that I post about it on the blog as well. I think this is the most misunderstood loan in the industry which makes it even more misunderstood by the
victims borrowers. Worse yet, the lenders who made these loans failed to properly assess the interest rate risk by overdosing on Kool Aid.
Most borrowers thought that short term interest rates wouldn’t increase 2%-3% in less than three years. This loan has a mandatory recast in year five, but if rates increase at a faster rate that recast happens sooner. A recast is when the loan will reset and the borrower will have to start paying principal and interest. It also will be amortized over 25 years if the recast happens in year five.
Lenders thought it was a good idea to let anyone sell this loan… and sell it on the fact that they can make 3% yield spread premium on the back end. Yield spread premium is paid by the lender to the broker. The amount is determined by the broker by adjusting the rate higher or lower. The higher the rate the more YSP the broker will make. However, with option ARMs it is how high the margin is. The real interest rate is the margin plus the index. Option ARMs use many different indexes, but a common index it the MTA.
Like volcanologists, who ask, “…How large will the eruption be? We ask, how big will the option ARM disaster be? Explosive, like Vesuvius, or effusive like Kilauea?
Volcanologists believe that technology will enable them to predict when an eruption is about to occur. But, they are still unable to pinpoint the eruption’s likely size or character. However, the impending Option Arm disaster is quite easy to predict…
These data point towards a Vesuvius sized disaster…
For the first example, I used a $500k loan amount, 2.75% margin, 1% minimum start payment and calculated the approximate MTA index with the first payment starting in January 2005.
As you will notice, the minimum payment only goes up 7.5% a year. That is, in year two, the payment went from $1608.20 X 7.5% = $1728.82 but the real interest rate increased nearly a full 1% higher. The minimum payment doesn’t even cover the interest and this deferred interest has added over $9200 to the loan balance.
Year 4… the OMFG year:
In August 2008, the payment recasts because the loan has reached the maximum negative amortization of 110% of the original $500k loan amount. Now the
victim’s borrower’s payment more than doubles from $1997.86 to $4132.53 because they are forced to pay principal and interest on the new balance of $550k.
I don’t know about you, but if my house payment were to double it would be one hell of shock. Some in the business will say that some of these loans had a max of 115% of negative amortization. Great! That only delays the pain until December of 2009– one month before the mandatory five year recast. However 115% means the balance is now $575k and the payment will be $4393.27 and that is assuming interest rates do not change.
Here is what the loan looks like after 30 years. As if someone would actually be able to keep it:
In January, of 2005 it would be fairly easy to get a 30 year fixed rate loan for 5.75%. The total interest paid would be $550k for a total of $1.05mil. The option ARM loan costs about $336k more than the 30 year fixed over the life of the loan. However, that is if interest rates stayed the same as they are now. Of course, it could go down but it can just as easily go up over that time frame.
Some will argue that they will sell or refinance before any problems arise. I say good luck with either right now, but that is another story. If the home could be sold for $625k this December, the option ARM owner has a loan balance of roughly $540k and has made payments of roughly $62k. This would equal (excluding fees and commissions) a net of $23k. The the thirty year fixed owner would have a loan balance of roughly $479k and made payments of roughly $105k. This would equal (excluding fees and commissions) a net of $41k.
Now here is what this loan looks like when the
victim borrower got whacked. To get the 3% YSP (this is the $15k rebate the lender pays the broker for the loan and has to be disclosed) the broker needs to up the margin to about 3.85% and stick them with a three year prepayment penalty. I cannot even begin to tell you how many chop shop brokers that used the 3% YSP as motivation for their “loan officers” to sell this loan. I moved the first payment up to July 2005 because this is when people really started to sell this loan. It also shows a more accurate adjustment of the MTA index.
The first six months and 2006:
Take a look at when the loan recasts. I wouldn’t want to be at their house for Christmas:
This is what it must look like when that reset hits:
Now here is the rub. Let’s pretend this
victim borrower bought this place for $625k, put 20% down, and today it still is worth $625k. I know it’s pure fantasy, but play along with me. Since December is month 30 they still have their three year prepayment penalty of about $25k, $5k of loan fees and $50k added to the balance making the LTV 93%. Anyone know a lender doing jumbo cash out refi’s up to 95% LTV?
Of course, they could wait until July when their prepay is up and pay $26k+ in monthly payments but their loan balance hasn’t changed much and they still would be at 90% LTV. Anyone know of a lender doing jumbo rate an term refi’s at 90% LTV and do you think they will be doing it in July 2008? What happens if the price of the home goes down 5% or 10%?
Worse yet, what if they only put 10% down? Then they would be upside down right now. If the price went down 10% they would owe $50k more than the home is worth. Get the jingle mail ready, because the only other choice here is to pay more than everyone else for a depreciating asset.
This is just the beginning of a scenario that is about to get a lot worse. I think that after reading this you will think that this chart underestimates how soon the option ARMs are going to start recasting.
Also, for some more info on the acceleration in the default rates Calculated Risk has a great post on the subject and as usual some great charts. All I can say when I see those charts is:
“Ground, she movin’ under me.
Tidal waves out on the sea.
Sulphur smoke up in the sky.
Pretty soon we learn to fly.”