Foreclosures Activity Dips in November

Total foreclosure activity dropped in November, according to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc., following typical seasonal patterns. The number of foreclosure-related notices on U.S. properties fell 3 percent from October to 224,393, reflecting a foreclosure rate of one out of every 579 households. Foreclosure notices are down 14 percent from a year ago. First-time default notices also decreased, falling 8 percent from the month before and 9 percent from November 2010. Yet, while activity Read more [...]

Mortgage Aid Program for Unemployed Fizzles Out

A recent government attempt to rescue homeowners from foreclosures is likely to post dismal results, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program was designed as part of the Frank-Dodd mortgage bill last year to aid recently unemployed homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments. At this point though, HUD expects only 10,000 to 15,000 people to qualify by this Friday's deadline. With roughly 100,000 total applicants, the program Read more [...]

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on October 3rd 2011 in Mortgage News

Debt Ceiling, Mortgage Rates & Interest Deduction

There have been some reports lately that a budget deal between President Obama and the Congressional Republicans over raising the debt ceiling could include either reduction or elimination of the mortgage tax deduction. This is the tax rule that was originally created to encourage homeownership and allows mortgage borrowers to deduct all of the interest from their home loan from their income taxes (for up to the first million dollars of mortgage on the home). Interest is also deductible on second Read more [...]

Lenders Reject 1 in 4 Mortgage Requests – Is this Good News or Bad?

Mortgage lending standards have tightened so much in recent years that now more than one of every four home loan applications is rejected by banks, according to data analyzed by Wall Street Journal. In a survey of the 10 largest banks in the country in showed that they averaged a denial rate of 26.8 percent of all applications in 2010, up from 23.5 percent in 2009. The Journal piece gave an example of Amy Menell of Colorado, who was recently denied a loan "even though she has a credit score Read more [...]

Geithner Wants Fannie, Freddie Overhaul To Start Within Two Years

In remarks to be delivered Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made it clear that the Obama administration wants legislation about reducing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to move forward withing the next two years. He also made it clear that changes should be made gradually enough to support the housing market. "Housing is a critical part of our economy and we will proceed with our plan for reform with great care," Geithner said in his statement, Read more [...]

Obama Administration Pledges Smaller Government Role in Housing Market

In its long-awaited proposal for dealing with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Obama Administration has outlined three different options, but all of them promise to limit the government's role in the mortgage market. "I think it's absolutely the case that the U.S. government provided too much support for housing - too strong incentives for investment in housing," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as quoted in an NPR article. "We just took that too far." In the government's Read more [...]

Mortgage Lending Standards Remain Tight

Although U.S. banks appear to be easing up a bit on business loan lending, most lenders have not loosened their mortgage standards in the past quarter, according to the Federal Reserve's senior loan officer survey. The survey, which was released Monday and polled 70 banks, found that for two consecutive quarters now, banks have let up on their business loan standards, with 11 percent of respondents saying they had loosened requirements this quarter. Only 4 percent said they had tightened standards. Still Read more [...]

Mortgage Rates Fell to Record Low For Third Straight Week

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac announced that the average mortgage interest rate on 30-year fixed rate loans inched down to a new record low last week, the THIRD consecutive weekly drop. And yet ironically, there is still no flood of borrowers rushing to take advantage of the rates. The average rate moved down to 4.57 percent, excluding fees, from 4.58 percent the previous week. That is the lowest rate in the history of Freddie Mac's 39-year survey. Rates this low have not been seen since the 1950s Read more [...]

One in Five Defaults is ‘Strategic’

The latest report from credit reporting agency Experian as reported on the Wall Street Journal blog shows that 19 percent, or almost one in five of all mortgage defaults in the first half of 2009 were 'strategic,' meaning that borrowers who can still afford to make their payments choose not to. While that percentage is little changed from the last six months of 2008, it is up 53 percent over the first six months. The survey defines 'strategic default' as missing six months of mortgage payments Read more [...]

Getting to the Bottom of Fannie Mae’s Failure

Congress has set up a new Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to discover the exact causes of the economic meltdown of the past two years. Of course, the mortgage markets are the first place the Commission is looking, beginning with testimony from the ex-head of government-sponsored mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae, along with its sister company Freddie Mac, was put into government conservatorship in September 2008 as both were on the brink of collapse. Together these companies own Read more [...]