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Trulia: Home Affordability Outpaces Rental Costs

Volatile markets and low home sales are colluding to force mortgage rates to historic lows and sellers to mark off home prices, making actual home purchases less expensive than renting in cities across the United States. Buying a home fell below renting costs in 74 percent of the country's 50 largest cities over July, with 12 percent of cities seeing higher price tags for apartments than for houses, according to real estate Web site Trulia. Bottom line: Peak numbers for home affordability make closing on rates a better deal.

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Ellie Mae Makes Major Acquisition

Ellie Mae. is growing its customer base and mortgage origination facilitation through the acquisition of Del Mar DataTrac, Inc. The recently announced transaction is projected to increase Ellie Mae's market share, putting them on track to originate nearly 30 percent of all residential mortgages in the U.S. this year.

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WFG Welcomes New VP

WFG National Title Insurance Company has a new vice president of sales and marketing, with the hiring of Wendy Lunt. Lunt├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós appointment is WFG├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós most recent step in growing its newly acquired Puget Sound division.

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NAHB: Few Gains in Homebuilder Confidence

The market remains a dim one for new single-family homes, according to an index jointly released by Wells Fargo and the National Association of Home Builders. The index registered confidence at 15 on a 0-to-100 scale, staying largely the same since July. The low confidence follows a hit taken by homebuilding companies in the stock market last week. Analysts and economists weighed in with MReport about how slowing momentum in home construction and sales, as reflected by homebuilder confidence, impacts job creation and consumer confidence.

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Freddie: Refinancing Homeowners Prefer Fixed-Rate Loans

More homeowners and mortgage borrowers who chose to refinance their loans opted for the fixed-rate loan instead of adjustable-rate mortgages over the second quarter this year, according to a Freddie Mac quarterly report released Monday. The GSE held that some 37 percent of borrowers refinancing their mortgages moved forward with 15- and 20-year loans. Refinancing borrowers nodded toward these fixed-rate loans in increasing numbers, according to the report.

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New Jersey Honors Mortgage Pros

New Jersey loan specialist, Shelley Solari, has been honored among the state├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós top mortgage professionals. New Jersey Monthly├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós New Jersey 2011 Mortgage Professionals list recently honored Solari for her service.

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New Director for MuniMae

A new director is taking over at Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC. Frederick W. Puddester was recently announced as the company's new director and was also appointed to its audit committee.

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Study: More Lenders Fail to Follow Up with Borrowers

Fewer lenders take the time to follow up with potential borrowers, leading to turned-off applicants, according to a new paper by software and services provider Leads360. The paper said that only 21 percent of mortgage lenders made an attempt to call back borrowers after an initial inquiry. The paper, a "secret shopper study," according to Leads360, tracked customer service strategies and follow-up by mortgage lenders with leads and potential borrowers. It faulted mortgage lenders for their failure to implement customer service strategies.

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FBI: Mortgage Fraud Activity Up in 2010

Fraud

More brokers, loan officers, realtors, and others defrauded lenders, servicers, and homeowners over 2010 despite improving conditions in the housing market at large, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which released a comprehensive report Friday. Mortgage fraud cases and investigations amounted to 3,129 cases over the year, 12 percent more than in 2009 and some 90 percent above the same trends in 2008. Referencing CoreLogic, the FBI said that applicants fraudulently filed some $12 billion in loan applications last year.

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