Calculated Risk picked up on this article.
What I don't understand about Mr. Amacker's story is why he would add 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom to his home when he was only living with his two sons. I wonder if the loan exceeded the cost of the addition? Inquiring minds want to know. (house details at bottom)
2009-09-20: $30 billion home loan time bomb set for 2010
Thousands of Bay Area homes have a ticking time bomb embedded in their mortgage. The homes were purchased with loans known as option ARMs, short for adjustable rate mortgages.
Joey Amacker of Newark, who works as an account manager for a catering company, refinanced his home with an option ARM for $624,000 so he could pull out money to build an addition. The friend who sold him the loan assured him that an option ARM was a safe and affordable product, he said.
Amacker said he initially made only the minimum monthly payment of $1,800, which covered part of his interest and none of the principal. The amount he owed grew to $660,000 by November 2008, according to loan documents.
Meanwhile, payments that would cover both interest and principal also escalated above his reach, said Amacker, a single father of twin teenage boys. Although he wanted to pay more than the minimum, "it was a struggle, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul," he said. His 21-year-old daughter moved in to help out, and he rented out the addition he'd built. But he couldn't keep up with the payments. He's been trying to get his bank to modify the loan, but says it doesn't get back to him. The bank did not respond to a request for comment.
Between the negative amortization and his missed payment and penalties, Amacker's total debt has ballooned to $725,000, while the house is probably worth about $500,000, he said.
"I feel so ashamed of how I could have gotten myself in such a bad situation," he said.
Like Amacker, most option ARM borrowers owe much more than their homes are worth, so they cannot refinance their way out of trouble.
6589 Fountaine Ave, Newark, CA
5 beds, 3.0 baths, 2,070 sq ft
What in the hell did he create? (click image to enlarge)