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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Should Officials Do Away With Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Talking heads call the mortgage interest-rate deduction a sacrosanct giveaway for the tax code, a loophole as sacred for Americans as, say, Social Security or Medicare - and just as electric to politicians. But a new survey out from Zillow suggests that may not be the case anymore. According to Zillow - which notably conducted the survey with economists and real-estate experts instead of your average homeowners - 10 percent believe the mortgage interest-rate deduction should be thrown out as soon as possible, while 50 percent believe it ought to be phased out over time.

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Mortgage Rates Set New Lows as Economy Tilts Here, There

A decline in interest by homebuyers shaved just 0.2 percent off mortgage applications last week, with refinance activity climbing. The Mortgage Bankers Association, which unveils the figures in a weekly survey, found application volume upward-bound by 24 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Refinance applications started to swell last week. The Refinance Index went up 1 percent, with the refinance share of mortgage activity cresting at 81 percent of total applications, up from 80 percent last week.

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Survey: 24% of Loan Officers Consider Firm Leaders ‘Illogical’

Twenty-four percent of loan officers think their firm leaders lead with "unclear" and "illogical" visions, according to a recent survey. Hammerhouse, LLC, a recruiting and strategic growth firm for the financial services industry, recently released a survey it conducted with loan officers. The findings touched on leadership, culture, business, and technology for loan officers from around the residential mortgage lending industry. Thirty-two percent of mortgage industry professionals believe their firm's technology needs an upgrade.

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August Home Prices Rise 6.3% Year-Over-Year: RE/MAX

Home prices skimmed close to the bottom during July this year but climbed 6.3 percent year-over-year by August, according to RE/MAX. The real estate company revealed in its latest National Housing Report that median home prices ticked up from last year over the last seven straight months. Home sales jumped 8.5 percent year-over-year, continuing its ascent from over the last fourteen consecutive months, and 2.5 percent on a monthly basis in August. Home inventory dipped 29.7 percent below levels from August last year.

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Fannie Mae Loses Confidence in Growth for 2012

Economic growth isn't looking good for the rest of the year, according to Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group. According to the GSE's most recent Economic Outlook report, downside risks such as the European debt crisis, the fast-approaching fiscal cliff, and the recent slowdown in hiring have created a drag on the second quarter's modest economic growth. Fannie Mae is setting growth expectations to 1.8 percent, a slight increase from Q2, but under Q1's projected 2.0 percent pace.

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Home Prices Gain in 19 Major U.S. Markets: Redfin

Beating summer expectations, August home prices ticked up 5 percent across 19 major U.S. markets in what real estate broker Redfin called an "indicator of a housing market getting stronger." According to the broker, home sales went up 1.4 percent year-over-year, eclipsing a 2.5 percent decline in July. Home sales increased from 26.7 percent to 27.6 percent last month. Of major U.S. cities, prices in Phoenix went up by 31 percent year-over-year. Home prices meanwhile fell 4 percent from August last year.

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Could Economic Malaise Spell Just One Term for Obama?

When he ran for the presidency in 1980, Ronald Reagan, then Republican governor of California, struck at then-President Jimmy Carter over the strength of the economy. His question for Americans: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" That's the question Paul Ashworth and Paul Dales, senior analysts with Capital Economics, offered to answer in a report released by the consultancy on Friday. The report breaks down recent economic trends, including GDP, home sales, and median income.

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Eminent Domain Gripe Arrives in Nation’s Capitol

Rep. John Campbell introduced to Congress a piece of legislation designed to keep local governments from using eminent domain to seize homes with underwater mortgages. Titled ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£The Defending American Taxpayers from Abusive Government Takings Act,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø the bill would prohibit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and the Veterans Administration from purchasing or guaranteeing loans originating in counties where a municipality has seized a mortgage loan through eminent domain in the last decade.

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DOJ, B of A Resolve Disability Discrimination Suit

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has reached a settlement with Bank of America over allegations of loan discrimination against disability income recipients. The bank was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by asking disabled mortgage loan applicants to provide letters from their doctors to document the income they received from Social Security Disability Insurance. Some applicants were asked to provide more detailed medical information to document their income.

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