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Mar 09,2007
A lack of definitive economic data helped keep mortgage rates at the lowest point since mid-December. Mortgage rates declined for the fourth time in the past five weeks, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to 6.19 percent. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.3 discount and origination points.  The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing was unchanged at 5.95 percent. ... [full story]
1539 times read - No comment posted

Mar 09,2007
Economist says that despite January’s downtrend due to weather disruptions,  “there is an underlying pattern of stabilization in the housing market … a modest recovery is likely”. Pending home sales declined in January from a strong upturn in December due to unusual weather patterns, according to the National Association of Realtors.   While the home price index fell 4.1% in January, economists say a modest recovery is likely. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a leading indicator ... [full story]
1700 times read - No comment posted

Mar 09,2007
Q: I have $60,000 in an IRA that has not been managed well since 1998, but that's a question for another time.Here's my situation: I owe $30,000 on my mortgage at an interest rate of 6.785 percent. The loan will be paid off in about 7 years. I'd love to get out from under the house payment of $730 per month and put an additional $500 per month into my 401(k) plan at work.What do ... [full story]
1397 times read - No comment posted

Mar 09,2007
It's tough to survive in today's mortgage lending industry. Many originators, particularly those that have been specializing in the subprime niche of the market, are folding their tents and silently leaving the business. However, there's a bright side to the current trend. "We're seeing 40 or 50 subprime companies a day throughout the country going down in one form or another," said Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide Financial. About two dozen large subprime mortgage ... [full story]
1815 times read - No comment posted

Mar 09,2007
I spent some time over the weekend visiting open houses. While I'm not seriously thinking about moving, I like to see what's going on in my neighborhood.The thing I've learned recently is how sophisticated sellers in my neighborhood have become. For the most part, each home is a shining example of how to make lemonade with the lemons that exist in your own house. Mostly, the houses looked as if they'd been staged to be ... [full story]
1154 times read - No comment posted

Mar 09,2007
Shares of subprime mortgage lenders nose-dived Monday as investors reacted to a stream of bad news pouring out of companies that make home loans to buyers with weak credit. New Century Financial of Irvine, which announced late Friday that it faced a federal criminal probe over its handling of securities prior to its earnings restatement last month, sparked the sell-off. Its shares lost 69 percent of their value Monday, closing at $4.56. Some analysts speculated ... [full story]
1879 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
Sales of existing homes rose in January, reaching the highest level in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales -- including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops -- increased 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million units in January from an upwardly revised pace of 6.27 million in December. Sales were 4.3 percent below the 6.75 million-unit level in January 2006.  David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said ... [full story]
1580 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
Mortgage rates declined for the third time in the past four weeks, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to 6.20 percent. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.32 discount and origination points.  The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing fell back below the 6 percent mark, settling at 5.95 percent. On larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate ... [full story]
2130 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
Q: I read your recent column regarding the tax implications of a person selling a house that was not a primary residence. In your reply regarding the selling of a second home, you started the 4th paragraph with, "If you've owned the second property for at least a year..." Can you expand on the "at least a year" part?My brothers and I bought my mother's home for $1, then sold it several months later. Thus, ... [full story]
1341 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
As of two weeks ago, I became a statistic.At the end of 2006, the number of vacant homes for sale had risen to nearly 3 percent, an all-time high. The new construction investment condo I closed on a few weeks ago, and listed last week, just added one more to that total.  It isn't that I don't like my condominium. I do. But it's an investment. And when my partners and I put down our hefty ... [full story]
1429 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
A key problem in today's home mortgage industry is created by unethical appraisers working under pressure to "hit specified numbers" in their appraisals. This often results in inflated property values that are, in many cases, much higher than realistic market values. This can ultimately cause major problems for home buyers who could be paying on a mortgage that's larger than their property's true value. That's a common scenario that leads to foreclosures. It can also ... [full story]
2880 times read - No comment posted

Mar 02,2007
In recent years, lenders making higher-risk, higher-cost “subprime” home loans have flooded the market with dangerous hybrid mortgages, often approved without considering whether the borrower could afford the loan. Tuesday Freddie Mac took a major step for responsible lending by announcing it will no longer buy common types of subprime mortgages that have been pushing millions of homeowners into foreclosure. The Center for Responsible Lending joins AARP, Consumer Federation of America, Leadership Conference on Civil ... [full story]
2859 times read - No comment posted

Feb 23,2007
Existing-home sales in most states were down from year-ago levels in the fourth quarter of 2006, marking the likely bottom for the current housing cycle, while prices in many areas corrected as a result of sellers’ willingness to negotiate, according to the latest quarterly surveys by the National Association of Realtors®. Total existing-home sales including single-family and condo, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.24 million units in the fourth quarter, down 10.1 percent ... [full story]
3357 times read - No comment posted



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