By Scott Thompson and Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- President Obama's $75 billion mortgage relief plan is aimed to help close to 9 million homeowners refinance their mortgages.
Real estate Web site Zillow.com says 38 percent of homeowners in Tulsa and Creek counties are eligible for part of the plan.
But a local mortgage banker says it may not be the best option for area homeowners.
The plan includes two programs and is intended to help one in every nine U.S. homeowners.
One program is aimed to help homeowners with a loan through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance their loans to lower or fixed interest rates.
The other program allows for the loan to be modified and has strict qualifications: you must have signed your mortgage before Jan. 1; you must be the owner and live in the home; you can't owe more than $729,750 on the loan; you must be able to prove that you can't pay the mortgage because of a financial hardship, like a reduced income or medical problems; and your monthly payment must be more than 31 percent of your monthly income.
Not everyone thinks the plan will make a difference.
"I am dubious as to how much it will be able to help even on a national basis," said Tim Epps, a mortgage banker with Fairway Mortgage.
Epps says Tulsa remains insulated from the national housing crisis.
"We've actually still had year over year growth over the last eight years ... moderate, small, but it's been responsible growth," he said.
The numbers back him up. Zillow.com says 5 percent of Tulsa mortgage holders are underwater, meaning they owe more than their home is worth.
The national average is 20 percent.
Epps says there are other options in the area. With interest rates dipping about 5 percent, he recommends homeowners contact their mortgage broker and ask for a simple refinance.
He says it may be easier than the government's new plan.