Path to a Picket Fence

Saving for a home could take longer

Does a higher down payment on a home make a plain-vanilla mortgage safer? That's the idea driving a new rule proposed in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. To encourage safe lending, regulators are debating whether to make banks hold on to 5% of mortgage-backed deals that include loans having down payments of less than 20% or 10%. An unlikely pairing of consumer advocates and banks argues that this would make owning a home too expensive for many. Banks would raise interest rates to cover their costs, while borrowers could spend decades trying to save up enough to qualify for a loan.

INVESTING

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