January 28, 2015 |
When it comes to mortgages, experience apparently isn't the best teacher. Recent findings by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees mortgages and credit cards, among other things, show that almost half of U.S. borrowers don't shop for home loans. The findings were similar to those of LendingTree.com in December 2010, during the depths of the foreclosure crisis. That survey found that 40 percent of 1,317 people contacted obtained a single quote for a mortgage.
January 8, 2015 |
Fixed interest rates for 30-year mortgages remain well below 4 percent, and industry observers predict they won't break 5 percent by the end of 2015. Yet sales of both newly built and previously owned houses, while much improved since scraping bottom in 2010-11, remain well below average - because interest rates are just part of a home-buying decision. In fact, national data reflecting the last 10 years of home sales - 2005 to 2014, including the mid-decade housing boom and bust - and the interest rates during that same period suggest that one has little to do with the other.
August 16, 2014 |
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has forced a retail chain, USA Discounters, to pay $400,000 and a mortgage lender, Amerisave Mortgage Corp., and its owner to pay more than $20 million in refunds and penalties for deceptive charges imposed on service members and home buyers, the agency said this week. The CFPB said Amerisave used a deceptive "bait-and-switch" scheme, luring customers with mortgage rates available only to people with an unusually high FICO credit score of 800 - even when they had entered a lower score on a referral site that led to Amerisave.
March 23, 2014 |
While the rest of us were shoveling winter's snow and slipping on ice, the survey-takers were hard at work, often coming up with residential real estate information that has little bearing on this market. OK, repeat after me: "All real estate is local. " Sometimes, however, there are nuggets to be gleaned from the volume of "breaking news" I get e-mailed to me around the clock. One, from the venerable Keith Gumbinger at HSH.com, whom I remember before he was a website, talked about affordability levels based on fourth-quarter 2013 data.
February 19, 2014 |
Houses are often our biggest investments. Know that borrowing rates for those wanting to take out mortgages will likely creep higher this year. Currently, a 30-year fixed mortgage costs 4.32 percent, while an adjustable rate costs 3.46 percent. In addition, refinancing won't be as easy as it has been. Tighter mortgage rules that took effect Jan. 10 limit people from taking out a mortgage or refinancing an existing one if it puts their overall household borrowing at more than 43 percent of income, according to Brian Simon, of New Penn Financial mortgage brokers in Plymouth Meeting.
January 8, 2014 |
As the "polar vortex" spins down from the Arctic, stay indoors and ponder where interest rates are headed in 2014 - both as an investor and consumer. Mortgage rates? Probably 5 percent by year's end. Auto loans? Unchanged at 4.25 percent for new cars, 4.75 percent for used. The 10-year Treasury? Probably 3.5 percent to 4 percent by the second half. So says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, in North Palm Beach, Fla. (And yeah, we are envious, Greg.) Provided America's tepid economic recovery continues apace, McBride projects that "the Federal Reserve will keep dialing down its bond purchases through the rest of this year.
December 16, 2013 |
It was in the depths of the real estate downturn, June 2010, that Robert I. Toll, cofounder of the luxury home builder Toll Bros. Inc., stepped down as chief executive officer and handed the reins to Douglas C. Yearley Jr. The move had been in the works for a while, but as Yearley recalled in a recent interview at corporate headquarters in Horsham, "Bob wanted to wait a bit until the market showed signs of improvement. " "He didn't want to dump a huge mess into my lap," said Yearley, 53, who joined Toll Bros.
October 17, 2013 |
If the U.S. government defaults on its debt, what will be the impact in the financial world, and what does it mean for the average citizen? The answer: There would be a lot of pain to go around. Perhaps most disturbing would be universal doubt about the creditworthiness of the United States. It would be an unprecedented shattering of the international image of the nation. Right behind that comes wave after wave of fiscal uncertainty. That doubt will roil the markets, but it goes beyond just bad times for investors.
August 5, 2013 |
For want of a few pieces of paper, Cheyenne DiEnno and David Bjornsson may have just lost about $14,000. Is Chase Bank to blame for a loan deal gone awry? Or did Chase try its hardest, and simply not manage to get everything it needed from the South Jersey couple in time to close their home refinancing in June - two months after they applied, and after mortgage rates had spiked? Those are key questions raised by a dispute that pits DiEnno and Bjornsson against JPMorgan Chase.
July 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - U.S. sales of previously occupied homes slipped in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million but remained near a 31/2-year high. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales fell 1.2 percent last month from an annual rate of 5.14 million in May. The NAR revised down May's sales, but they were still the highest since November 2009. Despite last month's dip, home sales have surged 15.2 percent from a year ago. Sales have recovered since early last year, buoyed by job gains and low mortgage rates.