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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Fixed-Rate Mortgages Still Popular with Consumers: Freddie

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Fixed-rate mortgages remained largely popular with consumers over the third quarter, according to Freddie Mac, despite the willingness by some lawmakers and policymakers to part ways with the loan product. The GSE found that more refinancing borrowers opted to contract their mortgage terms over the course of the second quarter. Forty percent of borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage exchanged their old products for 15- and 20-year mortgages, topping off the most such since 2003, Freddie found.

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DeMarco: $13M in GSE Exec Bonuses Help Protect Taxpayers

Pressure from Congress over some $13 million in bonuses for GSE executives crystallized in a hearing Tuesday that saw Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco defend himself and the controversial pay packages against critical questions from lawmakers. Members of the Senate Banking Committee largely took turns criticizing the FHFA's decisions and probing for statements about the housing finance system. The head of the agency responsible for regulating the GSEs portrayed his decision as one that would ultimately help keep taxpayers off the hook.

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National Home Prices Tumble 3.8% Over August: LPS

Closely following figures from a market peak in 2006, home prices across the country trailed south by 3.8 percent year-over-year in August, according to a recent home price index. Lender Processing Services reported findings from a home price index that connected the dots from 13,500 ZIP codes, which it gauged on five qualitative levels. LPS valued total U.S. housing inventory at $10.6 trillion at the peak of the crisis ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a number that now stands at $7.65 trillion by the end of August this year. The price declines follow similar data reported by CoreLogic in September.

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Q3 Hiring Spree Trumps Layoffs for Mortgage Professionals

More mortgage professionals received a desk and day job as hiring rose and layoffs fell over the third quarter, according to a recent study. In releasing the Third-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Employment Index, industry data offered up a net gain of 2,738 jobs for mortgage lenders and other professionals. New hires leapt ahead to 5,240 over the third quarter, offering considerable contrast to 2,502 layoffs over the same time frame. Of these last third-quarter gains, Texas emerged as the state with the most at 699 job gains.

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Home Sales Expected to Lift in 2012: NAR

Today├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós record-low mortgage rates and southerly home sales will post gains into next year, according to the economist with one trade group. Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, predicted at the 2011 Realtors Conference and Expo that home sales and existing-home sales would rise, along with mortgage rates. He said that GDP would climb from a 1.8-percent slump to 2.2 percent over next year, as job growth marches toward 2.2 million and the unemployment rate falls to 8.7 percent.

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Lawmaker Wants Dodd-Frank Financial, Regulatory Analyses

As pressure builds to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, one lawmaker pushed back by formally requesting an analysis of the rulemaking effort and financial consequences under the financial legislative overhaul. Sen. Tim Johnson wrote two letters to public officials Thursday to make the request, with clear intentions to secure a formal, objective analysis that lends credibility to the financial law and overall rulemaking process. Included agencies in the requested analyses: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Housing Finance agency.

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Senator Proposes Bill to Wean GSEs Off Federal Funds

Fielding more pressure for housing finance reform, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to decouple government assistance from the GSEs and shore up private-sector involvement in mortgage markets. The bill, titled the Residential Mortgage Market and Privatization Act, proposes gradually reducing the percentage of principal in the GSEs├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó mortgage-backed securities, streamlining underwriting standards and origination databases, and removing federal guarantees to create a much-discussed to-be-announced market.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4% for Second Time: Freddie

Ongoing trouble in Europe meshed with low home prices to keep a heel on mortgage rates this week, with Freddie Mac offering up news that interest rates for loans fell below 4 percent for the second time this year. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate.com, which disagreed by reporting that mortgage rates climbed this week. For Freddie, rates for the benchmark 30-year loan fell to 3.99 percent, down one percentage point from last week. Bankrate.com said that the fixed-rate mortgage went up to 4.25 percent.

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Lawmakers Aim to Jumpstart U.S. Covered Bonds Market

If a new Senate bill becomes law, it could finally create a long-awaited covered bond market for the nation, effectively making mortgages easier to securitize and increasing their appeal for investors. Earlier Wednesday a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Kay Hagan and Bob Corker, introduced the United States Covered Bond Act of 2011 in order to kick-start what some regard as necessary for a full-fledged housing recovery. European nations have long benefited from a covered bond market, with legal bodies in place for bonds.

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Mortgage Applications Surge Forward by 10.3%

More refinance loan applications inspired a 10.3-percent leap forward in mortgage applications last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA released a weekly survey responsible for tracking mortgage application volume. The surge in mortgage loan application volume follows a shortfall in contract interest rates on average for fixed-rate mortgages, with the 30-year loan seeing a drop from 4.31 percent the week before to 4.22 percent last week.

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