March 23, 2016 |
Continuing low interest rates for 30-year mortgages - now hovering at 3.75 percent - may be sparking a new wave of refinancing. Interest in refinancing is created by the power of suggestion - when a homeowner sees opportunity, said Jerome Scarpello of Leo Mortgage Inc., in Ambler. "I took an application last week, and the borrower said, 'My brother told me rates are down, and this is a good time to refinance,' " Scarpello said. Another borrower applied for a 20-year term - lowering the duration of the mortgage as well as the interest rate, he said.
December 18, 2015 |
By raising short-term interest rates a quarter of a percentage point from zero on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve finally ended its seven-year emergency stimulus, put in place to lift the U.S. economy out of a free fall. The long-anticipated rate increase - the timing of which had been hotly debated in financial markets and among Fed policymakers - sends a powerful symbolic message that the economy has recovered from the Great Recession, but it is not expected to have a major effect on most consumers.
November 1, 2015 |
All eyes were on the Fed in mid-September as members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met to decide the future of interest rates. The federal funds rate, the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other banks overnight, was among those up for consideration. Changes in the fed funds rate trigger a chain of events that affect other short-term interest rates, foreign-exchange rates, long-term interest rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables, including employment, output, and prices of goods and services.
June 17, 2015 |
From his second-floor window Monday afternoon, Vincent Ean eyed the vacant lot across North 16th Street. Men in suits circled a white tent. Ean snapped a photo with his smartphone and sent it to his fiancee. Last October, they bought their condo in Francisville for $262,500. He works in marketing and telecommutes for a company in New York. Progress in Francisville, he said, is apparent on a week-to-week basis. "It's growing," Ean said. "There are so many other neighborhoods in Philly.
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.