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Author Archives: Scott_Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.

As Draw Periods Close, HELOCs Present Elevated Threat

Now that so many of the once-popular home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are coming due, many borrowers could be in for what TransUnion calls "payment shock." A new study by the credit reporting agency shows that nearly half of all HELOC balances at the end of 2013—totaling about $474 billion—were originated between 2005 and 2007. Many of these HELOCs had 10-year draw periods, which means that the bill will soon come for those borrowers.

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Home Affordability Below Average in 34% of U.S. Counties

As the U.S housing market climbs back to healthy, a third of it is less affordable now than it's been all century, according to RealtyTrac. The firm's latest housing affordability report, released Thursday, found that 34 percent of the 1,200 U.S. counties it surveyed are at their least affordable, on average, since 2000.

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Homebuilding Outlays Mixed in June

According to the latest figures released Friday from the U.S. Census new home sales, starts, and spending were down in June and for the first half of the year. Spending on private construction in June came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $685.5 billion, 1 percent below the revised May estimate of $692 billion. Residential construction alone was at $356 billion, which is 0.3 percent below the revised May estimate.

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House Committee Approves Fed Reform Bill

The House Financial Services Committee passed a reform bill this week to require the Federal Reserve to adopt a "more predictable rules-based" monetary policy. The Fed has already warned of serious trouble if the nation's central bank were held to formal policy regarding its ability to set interest rates.

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CFPB Director to Testify About Discrimination Allegations

The House Financial Services Committee is set to hear testimony from CFPB Director Richard Cordray on Wednesday about allegations of discrimination at the bureau. Wednesday's hearing will be the third hearing on the matter following earlier allegations from whistleblowers that CFPB fostered "a culture of racial and gender discrimination and retaliation against its employees."

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Community Banks Argue for Expanded CFPB Exemptions

Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asking the agency to expand the small creditor exemptions set out under its mortgage rules that went into effect in January. ICBA's main request is that mortgage loans held in small creditors' portfolios automatically receive qualified mortgage safe harbor status for as long as the loans are held in those portfolios.

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Are Rising Student Loans Really Stifling Homeownership?

One of the pet reasons for explaining the lack of demand for houses among millennials is the presence of ever-escalating student loan debts. The thinking goes that college graduates are so mired in debt that they either cannot afford to buy or are too afraid to run up more debt. However, Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, isn't buying it.

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House GOP Highlights Dodd-Frank Failures

It's been four years since the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law, and the Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee marked the occasion with a new report highlighting its flaws, including its failures to end "too big to fail." "In no way, shape or form does the Dodd-Frank Act end 'too big to fail,'" said Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the committee. "Instead, Dodd-Frank actually enshrines 'too big to fail' into law."

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Despite Gains, Recovery Still in ‘Middle Innings’

The housing market overall really is recovering, despite a lackluster so far this year. It's just going to take a lot longer in several markets, according to Zillow. According to the second-quarter Zillow Real Estate Market Report, home values in half of the nation's 100 largest metro areas will not return to their pre-recession peak levels for at least three years. In a few markets, full recovery will take more than a decade.

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Analysts Still Hopeful on Housing in 2014

Redfin released its latest market summary, which sees the combination of sales, prices, foot traffic, and inventory as positive signs heading into the fall. "After an abysmal first quarter that drove a disappointing first half, housing will be playing catch-up for the year," said Nela Richardson, Redfin's chief economist. "Though it won't be a seamless transition, we believe the housing market is positioning itself for a stronger finish in the second half of the year."

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