Before the COVID-19 crisis, Americans were sitting on $19.7 trillion in housing equity. Most of this home equity remains intact and could help millions of homeowners weather this unforeseen economic downturn. And it could allow millions of other borrowers to take advantage of lower rates, putting them in a better position to weather a loss of income or rebuild their household balance sheet. Unfortunately, it’s hard for many to refinance right now thanks to the unprecedented shutdowns caused by COVID-19. This brief outlines potential solutions to five roadblocks that interfere with refinancing in the current no-contact environment: title search, verifying employment, appraisals, closing and post-closing. State and national policymakers should act quickly to adopt these policy suggestions and eliminate these roadblocks.
Reproduced with permission of The Brookings Institution.