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Housing Starts Show Modest Gains

Housing Starts Show Modest Gains

Though the gains in starts and permits are modest‒‒not to mention multi-faceted‒‒the upturn is certainly more welcome news to industry pundits than the numbers that came from February. That month, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that privately-owned housing starts had hit their lowest rate in years. Housing starts were down 17 percent from January and 3.3 percent below the February prior.

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Reverse Mortgages Will Soon be Tougher to Get

Reverse Mortgages Will Soon be Tougher to Get

By 2013, the FHA‒‒the nation’s largest insurer of reverse mortgages‒‒received it’s first-ever bailout of $1.7 billion. At the same time, HECM defaults started to rise. By the middle of 2013, more than a half-million HECMs remained outstanding and the default rate hovered around 10 percent.

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Fannie Mae Encourages New Mortgage Borrowers to Shop Around

Fannie Mae Encourages New Mortgage Borrowers to Shop Around

In the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, studying the mortgage shopping experience homebuyers navigate these days, the authors found that two-thirds of buyers‒‒particularly the young and those who’ve already bought homes‒‒obtain multiple mortgage quotes, though newbies to the process typically rely on friendly advice to find a suitable lender and terms.

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Mortgage Applications Rose with Credit Availability in March

Mortgage Applications Rose with Credit Availability in March

As for credit availability, Fratantoni said that “a number of factors contributed to a loosening of credit in March.” One factor is Freddie Mac's introduction of its 97 percent LTV program, which allows for as little as 3 percent down payment on a new home purchase. Other factors included looser parameters on jumbo loan programs, increased cash-out refinance loans offerings, and the growth of FHA’s VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan.

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Mortgage Credit Still Tight for Most Borrowers

Mortgage Credit Still Tight for Most Borrowers

The effects of the contemporary lending environment are rather significant. According to the institute, if the “cautious” credit standards of 2001 were in place in 2013, rather than that year’s “severe” standards, an additional 1.25 million loans would have been made in 2013.

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