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Mortgage Rates Break Low Records Again as QE3 Starts

It’s unknown whether or not the Federal Reserve’s new stimulus will be able to whip the economy back into shape, but one thing’s for sure: It’s sent mortgage rates plummeting. Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed new record lows in all categories except the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). The GSE reported that the 30-year fixed average fell to 3.40 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending September 27, down from 3.49 percent in the previous week’s survey. The 15-year fixed also … [Read more...]

Existing Home Sales at 27-Month High in August

Existing home sales rose 7.8 percent to 4.82 million in August – the highest level since May 2010 – the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. The median price of an existing single-family home in August was $187,400, down $400 from July but up $16,200 or 9.5 percent from August 2011. Economists had expected the sale pace to be 4.55 million. The percentage gain in sales was the strongest since last August when sales improved 8.9 percent month-month, the strongest month-month gain of the … [Read more...]

August’s Unemployment Numbers Likely to Trigger Stimulus

A mere 96,000 jobs were added in August, and the unemployment rate fell only because of a drop in the labor force, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. A total of 368,000 people stopped looking for work in August, causing the unemployment rate to fall from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent. In addition, July’s job numbers were revised down from 163,000 to 141,000. Based on August’s numbers, economists are anticipating another round of quantitative easing. Here are responses from economists on the … [Read more...]

New Short Sale Guidelines for GSEs Will Make Process Easier

Starting November 1, 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement new short sale guidelines to make the approval process easier for eligible borrowers.   “These new guidelines demonstrate FHFA’s and Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s commitment to enhancing and streamlining processes to avoid foreclosure and stabilize communities,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco in a statement. “The new standard short sale program will also provide relief to those underwater borrowers who need to relocate … [Read more...]

CitiMortgage to Launch Home Rental Program as Foreclosure Alternative

CitiMortgage announced the launch of the Home Rental Program, a program designed to provide an alternative to foreclosure and allow eligible borrowers to stay in their homes. The Home Rental Program will be managed by Carrington Capital Management, LLC and Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC. CitiMortgage and Carrington developed the program as a pilot. Under the program, the eligible borrower transfers ownership of the property to a vehicle established by Carrington Capital and its joint venture partner, … [Read more...]

Expiring Debt Relief Act increases mortgage defaults

Increasing numbers of homeowners are strategically defaulting on their loans in a race to beat the expiration of a law that has favorable tax consequences for foreclosures and short sales. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which expires at the end of 2012, offers relief to homeowners who would typically owe taxes on forgiven mortgage debt after a foreclosure or a short sale. Normally when a lender decides to forgive all or a portion of a borrower's debt and accept less than what is owed, the … [Read more...]

Home values rise for first time in 5 years

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Home prices hit a bottom and are finally bouncing back, according to an industry report released Tuesday. Nationwide, home values rose 0.2% year-over-year to a median $149,300 during the second quarter, the first annual increase since 2007, real estate listing site Zillow reported. Prices were up 2.1% from the first quarter. Even though June marked the fourth consecutive month of home value increases, overall home prices are still down almost 24% since April 2007, when Zillow began to … [Read more...]

Median Price for Existing Home at Highest Level Since 2008; Sales Drop in June to 8-Month Low

The median price of an existing single family home rose in June to the highest level since almost four years, the fifth straight month-month gain, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday. The median price was up 7.9 percent from June 2011. Existing home sales dropped to 4.37 million in June to the lowest level since last October, the NAR said. It was the fourth drop in the last five months. Economists had expected the sales pace to increase to 4.65 million from 4.62 million in … [Read more...]

Californian homeowners see surprise jump in property taxes

Tens of thousands of Californian homeowners are seeing the downside of the recovering real estate market: unexpected jumps in their property tax bills. Many homeowners believe their property taxes are limited to increases of no more than 2 percent annually because of Proposition 13, the landmark voter initiative approved in 1978. But fewer property owners know the details of Proposition 8, a companion ballot measure that passed the same year. Proposition 8 — not to be confused with the 2008 ballot measure … [Read more...]

FHA Dropping $1,000 Debt Rule that Would Have Delayed Closing

On July 1, borrowers wanting to take out an FHA-insured loan would have potentially experienced a closing day delay of 3 months or more if they had debt totaling or exceeding $1,000. Now, the FHA “credit-dispute” rule has been withdrawn, according to an agency letter released Friday. A HUD spokesperson said in an email that the decision to rescind the earlier proposal, which was first announced in February, was based on input received. “We plan to issue a new [Mortgagee Letter] shortly which will be … [Read more...]