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Consumer Mortgage News
2011 Archives

2011 Closing Out Near Record Low
Lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to solid borrowers at an average of 3.95 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac, the ninth consecutive week of rates at or below 4 percent.

Struggling Family Wins Free Mortgage Payments
YORK, Pa. -- A Lancaster family answered a knock on their door Wednesday morning and found an early Christmas present.

Refinances to Retreat, Rates to Hold
Fewer consumers will look to refinance their mortgages next year despite that mortgage rates are expected to stay low through the first half of the year.

Fixed Rates At Record Lows
The average for 15-year, fixed-rate residential mortgages -- a popular option for refinancing -- hit another all-time low this week and 30-year, fixed-rate home loans matched a record low.

5 Documents for Loan Shoppers
Consumers who are looking for a home loan can have five documents on hand to cut down on the time it takes to process a mortgage and improve the mortgage shopping experience.

Requirements for Refinances
It's the most expensive thing people will ever buy: a home. But so often consumers don't "stretch their dollar" when it comes to considering refinancing. It can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of the loan.

States With Smallest Downpayments
Borrowers in some cities are making bigger downpayments than homebuyers in other communities, according to a new report.

Refinance Program for Negative-Equity Borrowers Going Live
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Matt Hamilton has dutifully paid the loan on his Maitland, Fla., house and a nearby rental condo, but until now he could not refinance them to obtain more-affordable interest rates because the properties are financially underwater.

Best Mortgage Lenders
A survey of consumers who recently closed on a new mortgage finds that mortgage lenders are doing a better job of taking care of their customers. The report also identified which lenders ranked highest and had some advice for consumers who are thinking about getting a new loan.

Interest Rates Don't Determine Home Sales
PHILADELPHIA -- It was January 2009. The boss dropped by my desk and asked me to write about where fixed mortgage-interest rates had to go to get people buying houses again.

Program Helps Underwater Borrowers Refinance
If you are a troubled homeowner hoping to refinance, pay attention next Tuesday as details come out on a new federal program that could make it easier starting in late December or early in 2012.

Refinances Difficult But Hugely Profitable
With a few 15-minute phone calls, Seth Bohannon saved $96,000.

3.99% Rate Not Enough for Housing Recovery
Mortgage rates hovered near record lows again this week, amid mixed reports on the nation's struggle to add jobs in October. But jobs are holding back a potential housing recovery.

Good News for Borrowers
The typical rate that lenders are offering on a standard 30-year mortgage is back below 4 percent for the second time this year, according to Freddie Mac.

2.99% Rate for WV Homebuyers
Borrowers in West Virginia now have access to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at only 2.99 percent.

Mortgage Rates Improve
Investor worries over the European debt crisis helped drive the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan down to 4% this week, according to Freddie Mac.

Negative Equity Keeps Borrowers From Low-Rate Refinances
Mortgage rates are hovering near historic lows, but that's offering little relief to homeowners in California's San Joaquin Valley. Many of them have little or none of the equity that lenders require to refinance, mortgage brokers say.

Expanded Federal Refinance Program Not Immediately Available
Jupiter, Fla., homeowner Tony Tate wasted little time when a lower mortgage payment finally seemed within reach.

Refinances Often Make Sense
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Mike Woods and Karen McKenzie figure they'll save about $300 a month as a result of refinancing their mortgage.

Consumer Guide to HARP Refinance Enhancements
The government announced enhancements to a refinance program that will enable homeowners whose mortgage balances are higher than their home values to refinance at today's low interest rates. Here's the skinny on what the program revisions mean to consumers.

Refi Outlook Bright
St. Joseph, Mo., may not be feeling as much pressure as the rest of the nation.

More Consumers Hope to Refi, Some Rejected
Brendan Fontaine gets four or five phone calls a day from people looking to refinance.

Credit Scores to Reflect More Personal Data
CHICAGO -- Many consumers applying for a mortgage are going to start sharing more personal information with lenders next year, like it or not.

Rates Expected to Stay Low
There's good news going forward for potential homebuyers: Mortgage rates should remain at or near historic lows in Wichita for the next three years.

Credit Scores, Home Values Hinder Refinancing
Many borrowers looking to cash in on the lowest rates in decades are missing the refinance boat because of low credit scores and home appraisals. But the low rates could spark an increase in home purchases.

Consumers Resist Record Rates
New record-low mortgage rates can make a huge difference in the amount of interest paid over the life of a loan. But that doesn't necessarily translate into increased mortgage activity.

Optimal Market Conditions for Homebuyers
With long-term mortgage rates hitting a record low, the buyers' market in residential real estate has shifted from pretty good to unbelievable, housing market professionals in southern Wisconsin say.

Milestone for 30-Year Mortgage
Rates on 30-year, fixed home loans reached another stunning milestone this week, dropping below 4 percent for the first time.

Mixed Outlook About Impact of Record-Low Rates
While plunging mortgage rates have sparked more interest in home financing, opinions vary about the impact to the housing market.

Consumers Lured by Falling Rates
Many homebuyers and existing borrowers who missed the boat the last time interest rates fell are getting a second chance.

Lower Loan Limits In Effect
As of Oct. 1, buyers looking to finance high-priced homes no longer have access to government-supported mortgages.

Refinance Times
As the Obama administration pushes a federal refinance program and the Federal Reserve pursues a strategy that has dragged down interest rates, mortgage lenders are being barraged by new applications. Lending activity, however, is limited primarily to borrowers with good credit seeking to refinance.

Rates Already Higher than Record Low Reported
A closely watch weekly survey released today indicates that mortgage rates reached a record-low. Don't expect, however, to lock in at that rate today.

Low Appraisals are Deal Killers
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Low appraisals continue to block people from selling homes or refinancing mortgages, leaving many sellers and real estate agents unhappy.

Jumbo Limit Expiration is Days Away
The federal government is days away from a housing finance change-up -- refusing to guarantee home mortgage loans at the high end of the housing market.

Emphasis Isn't On Owning
It would seem that the lowest rates in generations might have more people rushing to their local loan officer to make the move into home ownership. But the American dream isn't what it used to be.

Rates Almost Unchanged
The long-term mortgage crept slightly higher this week, while 15-year mortgages slipped.

Qualifying for a Mortgage is Tougher
Faced with much more regulation than before the bust, lenders have increased requirements for refinances. But today's tougher qualifications are more in line with lending before the boom.

15-Year Loans All the Rage
Many of the borrowers jumping into the refinance game are dumping their 30-year mortgages for 15-year loans and saving a boatload in the process. But not all borrowers qualify or want the bigger payment associated with shorter terms.

When and How to Refinance
While falling interest rates aren't motivating more buyers to move into the home-purchase market, they are enabling existing borrowers to refinance at lower rates. The Federal Reserve and the chief executive of a popular mortgage marketplace have some advice for consumers considering a refinance.

Higher Rates Ahead for Jumbo Borrowers
The upcoming expiration of temporarily higher mortgage loan limits has buyers and sellers concerned.

Guide to Successfully Refinancing
Mortgage rates at historic lows are prompting a flood of consumers to refinance their home loans.

Loan Approval Times Expand
In addition to being hit with lower appraised values, refinance customers are facing much longer wait times.

30 Year Falls to Record 4.09%
Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages slipped to a record-low for the second week in a row amid mounting worries over a European debt default.

Biggest Refinance Mistakes
Consumers make many mistakes when refinancing their homes. A new survey of mortgage lenders has identified the five biggest mistakes made by borrowers who are refinancing to a lower rate.

Lower Credit Scores Mean Higher Rates
Record-low mortgage rates being reported recently are only available to consumers who have very high credit scores.

Incredibly Low Rates Fail to Spark Housing Recovery
Mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest levels since at least the 1950's. As a result, many mortgage loan originators have seen refinance business skyrocket.

Record Rates Stunningly Low
Fixed-rate mortgages fell to another record low this week, shattering the record set in mid-August amid stagnant job growth and worries about potential European debt default.

Cash Back, Discounts for Military Borrowers
A mortgage program for members of the U.S. military is loaded with benefits not available to other prospective homebuyers.

Refinances Becoming Irresistible in North Texas
With 30-year mortgage rates just a little more than 4 percent and 15-year rates that are even lower -- lenders in North Texas have seen a surge in the share of consumers looking to refinance.

Low Rates Spark Buying Activity
Mortgage rates have helped to drive up refinancing activity. But lately, even homebuilders and real estate agents are seeing more activity.

Program Helps Maryland Borrowers Overcome Obstacles
Deflated home values, stricter lending guidelines and weak employment conditions are keeping many consumers out of the mortgage market despite rock-bottom interest rates. But some Maryland borrowers have an alternative.

Refinances Become Irresistible
Mortgage loan officers have seen new business double or even triple as the 30-year mortgage has fallen below 4.25 percent.

Buying Can be Cheaper than Renting
In three quarters of the biggest U.S. cities, it's less expensive to purchase a home than to rent.

Alternatives for Underwater Homeowners
Some folks can't refinance at today's remarkably low mortgage rates because their home values have fallen.

Reports of Loan Denials Overblown
It's not as hard to qualify for a mortgage as national media might suggest, according to some Oklahoma mortgage bankers -- who are preparing for a rush of refinance business as rates tumbled to lows not seen since the fifties.

Across-the-Board Record Mortgage Rates
The last time rates on 30-year mortgage were this low President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office.

Conforming Jumbo Loan Expires in Less than 2 Months
It won't be long until temporarily higher loan limits on government-supported mortgages drop.

Market Volatility Raises Doubts for Homebuyers
Prospective purchasers of residential properties can be scared away by the volatility of the economy. But other factors are also at play.

Falling Rates Have Limited Impact on Home Purchases
While low mortgage rates are good for home purchases, income can be an overriding factor. Some California homebuyers are anxious about volatile financial markets, and others are taking the low rates as a cue to jump in.

Low Rates Could Last
Low mortgage rates have created renewed interest from refinance prospects for mortgage lenders. Some lenders in the state of Washington see rates remaining low through next year.

Approvals Tougher, But Refis Rising
With mortgage rates at record lows, Marty Sutter would like for more customers to refinance their home loans at Genoa Bank. Unfortunately, he said, it's difficult to find homeowners who qualify.

Rush of Refinances
As mortgage interest rates dropped again this week to near historic lows, it mostly benefited people who already own houses.

30-Year Falls Below 4%
As investors continue to shun Standard & Poor's warning on the U.S. debt, another fantastic day in the bond market has the 30-year mortgage quote under 4 percent.

U.S. Borrowers Benefit from Global Uncertainty
Mortgage rates are plunging as investors flock to the perceived safe haven of U.S. Treasury bonds even as their ratings were lowered.

Jumbo Loan Limit to Fall
In just a few short months, higher mortgage limits that were temporarily established to help a battered housing market will expire. But the fallout is expected to be minimal.

Lenders to Provide Credit Scores to Denied Consumers
Consumers who apply and are rejected for the best available credit terms will now receive a copy of the credit score used by the lender in its decision to deny the application. Mortgage lenders were already subject to the requirement, but the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act expanded the requirement to all types of lenders.

New Agency to Protect Consumers from Bad Mortgage Products
WASHINGTON -- The federal government is unwrapping its most potent weapon yet in the battle to keep businesses from defrauding consumers: a powerful new agency designed to police nearly every type of transaction in hope of avoiding another financial crisis.

Reverse Mortgages Not Always the Right Option
Some sales people aggressively promote reverse mortgages, which allow senior citizens to convert their home equity into cash, as a way to take care of rising medical costs, unexpected home repairs or even travel expenses. But as a recent reverse mortgage fraud case shows, seniors need to be very careful who they buy these complex products from and make sure they understand the risks.

Weak Employment Drags Down Rates
Mortgage rates tumbled this week following an employment report that indicated weak job growth in June.

Reduced Interest Rates for Homebuyers
Consumers out shopping for a home are being offered discounted rates for a limited time at Fifth Third Mortgage Co.

Factors That Help in Refinance Decision
Among factors that have an impact on your decision to refinance are how much you will save on monthly payments, how long you'll be paying on the loan and how the proceeds will be used. But none of these factors matter unless the appraisal value comes in high enough.

Payment Assistance for Unemployed Borrowers
A federal program that helps borrowers who lost income has been extended from three months to a year. Banks in Massachusetts have given a thumbs up to the longer term for assistance.

Registration Now Required for Mortgage Salespeople
Loan originators, the people who hold your hand through the mortgage process and receive a commission when your loan closes, are now required to be fingerprinted and registered with a national licensing system.

Fewer Consumers Refinance as Rates Rise
The first rate increase in several weeks had fewer borrowers attempting to refinance their mortgages.

Mortgage Rates Rise from Lull
It was the first time mortgage rates increased during the past month.

Reverse Lenders Remain Despite Exit of Big Players
Some pretty big players have recently exited the reverse mortgage market. But experts caution that there is no need for concern.

Loan Approvals More Difficult to Achieve
The road to real estate loan approvals has become steeper and more difficult to navigate.

Mortage Rates Remain Low
Mortgage rates held steady for the third consecutive week amid mixed economic reports and some tentative signs of improvement in the housing market.

Higher Credit Scores Mean Lower Rates
Many prospective borrowers are unaware of how their credit scores are impacted by actions such transferring balances, opening new accounts and closing existing accounts.

Soft Housing Market Holds Rates
A soft real estate market kept mortgage rates in check for the second consecutive week.

Low Downpayment Options
Various government mortgage programs still provide loan options that require little or no down. But professionals agree that options are most abundant for those who maintain strong credit scores.

Real Estate Bubble That Hasn't Popped
As real estate markets in Florida, Nevada and the inland areas of California struggle to find relief from bloated inventories of foreclosed properties -- one market is struggling to keep up with voracious housing demand: the Permian Basin.

Interest Rates Avoid Elevation
Following eight weeks of improvements, mortgage rates took a breather.

Weak Jobs Report Holds Down Rate
It was the eighth week in a row that mortgage rates were lower. Weak employment data was responsible for the latest decline.

iPhone App Addresses Rising Mobile Phone Usage
Consumers out shopping for a home in their cars can download a new iPhone application that provides loan quotes, payment quotes and mortgage calculators.

Bad Employment Data Good for Mortgage Rates
Homeowners who missed out on last year's record-low mortgage rates might get another chance to catch a refinance wave as deteriorating employment is dragging down interest rates. And with home prices recently falling further -- some consumers could find that a home loan payment is less than a rental payment.

Falling Rates Fail to Spark Demand
Mortgage rates fell to the lowest level this year as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell below 3 percent for the first time since last year. But prospective borrowers aren't moved by the improvement in interest rates.

Much to Consider With Reverse Mortgages
During the past two decades, less than a million reverse mortgages have been closed -- most which were insured by the federal government. There are many factors to consider, some which have scared off prospective borrowers. But the loans can make good sense in some situtations.

Experts See Higher Rates Ahead
Interest rates are at historic lows, but some mortgage experts say that might not be the case much longer.

National Lender Touts $1 in Closing Costs
A Pennsylvania-based mortgage lender is pulling all the stops.

Rates Fall to 2011 Low
Mortgage rates this week slid for the sixth consecutive week to the lowest level this year amid reports of slower economic activity.

Fund Helps Distressed FL Borrowers
Thousands of Florida borrowers who have been hit with a reduction in income are expected to benefit from a federal program that provides up to $18,000 in mortgage-payment assistance.

Cost of Jumbo Improving, But Temporary Limit Leaving
Despite a slight uptick in the cost of a jumbo loan last week, home buyers who need a jumbo mortgage have seen their costs drop over the past 18 months. But with the temporary jumbo limits set to expire in a few months, a group of borrowers with loans of as much as $0.7 million will no longer have a government-supported option.

Jumbo Market Jumps in Dallas
Housing slowdown? What housing slowdown?

Fixed Rates Fall to Lowest Level in 2011
Fixed rates fell to their lowest levels so far in 2011 and don't appear headed higher over the next week, though adjustable-rate products climbed. The longer-term outlook is for rates to rise another half percent by the end of the year.

2011 Low for Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels during 2011 after reports on employment growth were mixed and home prices remained depressed.

ARMs Offer Attractive Alternative in Some Cases
Some mortgage professionals advise prospective borrowers that adjustle-rate mortgages don't make sense while fixed rates are so low. But ARMs can be a better option in some situations, including for homebuyers who plan to move quickly.

How Do Late Mortgage Payments Impact Credit
The company behind a widely used credit score has some answers for mortgage borrowers who are asking how late payments on home loans will impact their credit. Among the scenarios addressed were 30-day late payments, foreclosures and short sales.

Interests Rates Improve, Might Fall Further
Mortgage rates fell for the third week in a row and appear to be headed even lower.

$100 Downpayment In Effect
Government-owned homes are now available for just $100 down.

Interest Rates Slip
Mortgage rates improved and could stay at this level through next week.

Interest Deduction Popular But Unnecessary
While the mortgage interest deduction is cherished by millions of U.S. homeowners, economists say that the deduction does nothing for home ownership rates.

No Downpayment is Back
A credit union based in the Washington, D.C., region is touting mortgage programs that require no downpayment for homes costing more than a half million dollars.

Rates Rise 4th Week in a Row
Mortgage rates edged up for the fourth week in a row, as the home buying entered what is traditionally the busiest season for sales.

Expert Sees Higher Rates Ahead
The head of a Texas mortgage trade group sees a tempered rise in interest rates ahead. He also warns that the difficulty of qualifying for a real estate loan remains high.

Fannie Mae Paying Closing Costs on Foreclosures
The largest mortgage firm in the country is paying closing costs for buyers of foreclosed properties. But the offer is only good today.

Mortgage Rates Trend Higher
Mortgage rates inched up for the third week in a row, after an encouraging jobs report last week signaled the economy may be on the mend.

Rates Edge Higher Despite Deteriorating Housing Market
Mortgage rates inched higher this week, even though market indicators show the housing market is still struggling.

Interest Rates Creep Higher
Mortgage rates edged up this week after a report showed greater risks for inflation, despite a housing market that remains weak.

Mortgage Rates Improve
Interest rates on popular mortgage options for buying or refinance a home dropped this week, part of the fall-out from the crisis in Japan.

The Truth About Credit Scores
While there are many steps you can take to raise your credit score, understanding the truth behind several credit-score myths can get you more points for your dollar.

Pros and Cons of FHA ARMs
For some borrowers, government-insured mortgages with adjustable rates are the right answer for their particular situations. But there are costs and risks associated with such programs.

Rates Better Again
Conditions improved again for prospective borrowers who are shopping for a loan.

Rates Retreat
It was a good week for prospective borrowers.

Mortgage Requirements Grow More Difficult
Navigating a mortgage approval has become a cumbersome process with stricter requirements than in the past. Borrowers with the best credit scores will get the best rates, while most homebuyers can expect to bring more to the table.

Rates Rise on Economy
More good news for the economy spelled bad news for mortgage shoppers.

Program Provides Up to Half of Down Payment
An organization that is sponsored by the government is helping first-time homebuyers in the Southeast with up to half of their down payments.

Mortgage Rates Rising
Mortgage rates moved within a narrow range this past week but will likely be higher in next week's reports. One forecast has fixed rates nearly 1 percent higher by next year.

Mechanics of a Credit Score
Understanding how much a given factor impacts a credit score helps some consumers add points to their scores. Knowing the right Web site addresses can make the job easier.

Government Loan Programs for Low Credit Scores
Consumers with credit scores as low as 500 might qualify for government-insured mortgages based on recent changes to underwriting guidelines. The head of the government's loan program says borrowers with the same low scores might pose different credit risks based on other factors.

Raising Your Credit Score
When you make your monthly payments, how much of your credit lines are available and how quickly you communicate with creditors on late payments can all impact your credit score.

Lenders Must Now Explain Why Your Rate is Higher
New federal rules enacted in 2011 require mortgage lenders and other creditors to advise you why you received worse terms for credit than another consumer.

Rates Retreat, Could Go Lower
Mortgage rates were lower last week and might edge down a little more. The latest housing forecast has far fewer consumers closing on a refinance this year, while the share opting for an adjustable-rate will climb.

Consumers Benefit from Market Movements
It was the second good week in a row for mortgage shoppers as rates eased. Consumers searching for larger, 'jumbo' mortgages got an even bigger break.

Interest Rates Ease
A weaker-than-expected U.S. employment report spelled lower mortgage rates for prospective borrowers.

Rates, Business Improve
Mortgage rates fell last week, as interest increased in home-loan refinances. For the time being, consumers were focused on refinances.

Fixed Rates Decline
After weeks of bad news, prospective borrowers got a break on interest rates.

Rates Up, Activity Down
Mortgage rates generally moved higher in the last week of 2010 and might stay there during the first week of the new year. But the jumbo mortgage pricing deteriorated, and an indicator of new loan activity fell to the lowest level of 2010.

Consumer Mortgage News Archives

Refinance News
News about refinance programs, pricing and production.
H A R P 2.0 News
News stories about the H o m e Affordable Refinance Program including expanded program guidelines.

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