Our readers believe the interests of lenders conflict with homebuyers, according to a recent poll. 40% of voters said lender and buyer interests are in opposition, while 31% said their interests conflict at times but not always.
Voter opinions on the matter have remained roughly the same since the prior year. However, slightly more readers now say lender and buyer interests do not conflict — 29% now hold that belief, compared to only 20% before.
Lenders vs. homebuyers
Reader acknowledgement of the innate conflict of interest between lenders and homebuyers is likely due to the economic meltdown spurred by predatory lending in the last decade.
During this period, mortgage deregulation allowed lenders to take on ever riskier lending activity and encourage homebuyers to overextend their finances to obtain credit. The flawed reasoning behind deregulation was that Wall Street and lenders would inherently look out for their own best interests by avoiding excessive risks — protecting homebuyers in the process.
However, this line of thinking overlooks their bottom line: increasing revenues. In practice, mortgage bankers and lenders are determined to produce ever greater profits — to the disadvantage of homebuyers.
As a result, the number of subprime mortgages climbed dramatically during the Millennium Boom, artificially inflating home prices and leaving many homebuyers with faulty mortgages. When the real estate bubble finally burst, many homebuyers lost all their home equity and were prevented from selling and relocating.
Lawmakers have since implemented tighter mortgage regulations to protect homebuyers from now well-known risky and predatory lending practices. For example, enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have helped regulate and monitor lender activities to avoid another financial crisis.
Of course, changes to mortgage regulation will open the door to more predatory lending, perhaps acting as an unfriendly reminder of the inherent conflict between lender and homebuyer interests. For the housing market, mortgage deregulation will mean a return to the excitement of the Millennium Boom — and the depression that followed.
It now remains to be seen just what type of changes mortgage regulations and lending practices will undergo, if any — and when.
Real estate agents can prepare by watching for signs of deregulation gone bad in their local markets. This includes watching for predatory lending and unlawful foreclosure actions.