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Texas and the Housing Bubble

April 5, 2010

Only a dozen states have lower mortgage foreclosure and default rates [than Texas], and all of them are rural places such as Montana and South Dakota, where they couldn’t have a real estate boom if they tried.

Texas’s 3.1 million mortgage borrowers are a breed of their own among big states with big cities. Fewer than 6 percent of them are in or near foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association; the national average is nearly 10 percent.

[T]here is a … secret to Texas’s success … Across the nation, cash-outs became ubiquitous during the mortgage boom, as skyrocketing house prices made it possible for homeowners, even those with bad credit, to use their home equity like an ATM. But not in Texas. There, cash-outs and home-equity loans cannot total more than 80 percent of a home’s appraised value. There’s a 12-day cooling-off period after an application, during which the borrower can pull out. And when a borrower refinances a mortgage, it’s illegal to get even a dollar back. Texas really means it: All these protections, and more, are in the state constitution. The Texas restrictions on mortgage borrowing date from the first days of statehood in 1845, when the constitution banned home loans.

“Delinquency and foreclosure rates are significantly lower in Texas,” says Scott Norman of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association. “The 80 percent loan-to-value limit — that’s the catalyst for a lot of this.”

From: http://ping.fm/NkZ5O

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