Recent News

Over The Long-Term, Cash-Out Refis Can Be Cheaper Than Lines Of Credit

It doesn't take an elephant's memory to remember that Prime Rate was 8 percent-plus just 2 years ago. A few years before that, Prime Rate neared 10 percent. These are the facts that the banks aren't selling. Instead, banks and credit unions are dangling low "start rates" as bait and looking for homeowners to bite.

Foreclosures Per Household Statistics Show Where Defaults Are Concentrating

According to RealtyTrac, for the manyth consecutive month, foreclosures are concentrating across just a few states. The data is skewed so badly that 44 states fall below the national average. That's saying something.

FHA Q&A: Addressing The Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker Shutdown

August 4, 2009, the federal government shutdown Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker's FHA lending operations. The shutdown has spawned a lot of questions from affected FHA borrowers. Here's some of the more common ones.

Why The 30-Year Fixed Isn’t The Obvious Mortgage Choice Anymore

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage isn't such the no-brainer anymore. After thoroughly thumping the interest rates on an equivalent 5-year ARM since December, the 30-year fixed has reclaimed its honor as "Most Expensive Mortgage Product". The chart shows the difference as a half-percent, but real-life pricing puts it closer to 1.000%. Right now, adjustable rate mortgages are very attractive to the right type of homeowner

Timing Your Mortgage Rate Lock To Get A Better Mortgage Rate

What's the difference between a good mortgage rate and a great mortgage rate? Timing.

Knowing When To Lock Or Float Is Easy When Mortgage Rates Are Range-Bound

In yesterday's post, I described mortgage rates as being "range-bound", repeatedly returning to the same 5.250 percent, 0 points marker since last December. Rather than take my word for it, though, check out the chart. It plots the Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed mortgage rate from December 2008 to July 2009.

Fannie Mae Toughens Guidelines On 2-Unit Homes, Trailing Spouses And Retirement Portfolios

Mortgage approvals are getting more difficult. Again. After reviewing recent unemployment data and market fluctuations, plus patterns of mortgage fraud, Fannie Mae is making major mortgage guideline changes for the first time in more than 6 months. The changes are broad, impacting 15 separate areas of the mortgage approval process. The most impactful change may be Fannie Mae's new restrictions on mortgages for 2-unit properties.

A Different Way To Get Mortgage-Related News

I recently rebuilt my database for CAN-SPAM compliance, asking my clients to opt-in for timely mortgage market news. Not every one appreciates getting random emails -- even if it's from their loan officer. Then I thought: My readers might appreciate another way to keep up with the markets, too. If you want, give your address and you'll get via email...

Are Mortgages Rates Really Lower? It Depends On What Day You Lock.

There's an old adage: Mortgage rates take the elevator on the way up, but take the stairs on the way down. Lately, we've even seen this IRL. There have been days where rate are up by as much as half-percent as investor flee from the bond market, but when rates recover lower, they seem to be dropping just an eighth of a percent at a time. Floating your mortgage rate is fine, but given the current market conditions, you may be playing with house money right now and this is as good a time as any to cash in your chips.

Be Ready For The Next Dip In Mortgage Rates BEFORE It Happens

Forget about that 4.500 percent, 0-point mortgage rate you passed on last month. It's gone. Today, conforming mortgage rates are bearing down on 6 percent. For a homeowner in Cincinnati with a $300,000, fixed-rate home loan, the impact is huge. Since the unofficial start of summer, rising mortgage rates have added $240 to a monthly mortgage payment.

Mortgage Rate Shopping Strategies For When Mortgage Rates Are Volatile

You likely know this already but mortgage rates have soared since Memorial Day. Soared. Strangely, it's the most improbable turn of events that everybody and their mother saw coming. The root of the rise rests in inflation. As in, the fear of. And this run on rates had been predicted as far back as December 16, 2008 when the Federal Reserve first dropped the Fed Funds Rate to near 0 percent.

80 Percent Of The Country’s Foreclosures Are In 20 Percent Of The States (April 2009)

The Pareto Principle is one of the more interesting theories of statistics and inequality. Often called the 80/20 Rule, it states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. According to's April 2009 data, the theory carries over in real estate, too. 11 states accounted for 80% of the country's foreclosure activity last month despite housing just half of the country's total population.

Trends: Mortgage Rates Tend To Rise Between May And August

The monthly chart above shows average conforming, 30-year fixed mortgage rates since 2006. Notice the pattern. Beginning near the start of May of each year, mortgage rates embark upon a multi-month climb before peaking in late-July or early-August.  Then, into the New Year, mortgage rates recede.  We're currently on the front-edge of the Summer Rate Spike […]

I’m Looking At My HUD-1 Settlement Statement: What Is A Closing Cost and What Is A Prepaid Item?

The settlement statement Prepaid Items section confuses people. A "prepaid item" is exactly what its name implies -- a payment related to the mortgage, collected before the payment's actual due date.

How The Future Of FHA Mortgage Guidelines Is Tied To Defaults And Delinquencies

If you've been a loan officer long enough, you start to notice certain trends emerge in mortgage rates, mortgage products, and in the market overall. Here's an easy trend that even the lay can understand: When loan defaults spike, mortgage guidelines get tight. It will never be easier to be approved FHA than it is today. If your homebuying or refinance plans call for a FHA mortgage, consider moving up your time frame.

FHA Ends Its 95 Percent Cash-Out Refinances March 31, 2009. 85 Percent Is New Maximum.

The FHA is discontinuing its 95% cash-out refinance program effective April 1, 2009. For all case assigmements made on or after April 1, 2009, cash-out refinances are limited to 85%. "Case assignment" is FHA-speak for "registered loans".

What Is Mark-To-Market Accounting And What Does It Mean To Mortgage Rates?

If you've never heard of mark-to-market accounting, you're not alone. It's an accounting method so dually complex and arcane that unless you need it in the day-to-day functions of your job, you'd look at its description and be, like, "whatever".

The 2009 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit — Everything You Absolutely MUST Know About IRS Form 5405

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress authorized a first-time homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000. The $8,000 credit replaces the $7,500 tax rebate program that was included in last year's stimulus.

2009 Conforming Loan Limits : Temporary Increases And Sub-Area Snubs

The government published its 2009 Conforming Loan Limit guidance Monday. Listed by county, the report grants 324 parts of the country a temporary boost beyond the

9 Ways That “Waiting For Mortgage Rates To Fall” Can Come Back To Haunt You

In late-November, as mortgage rates fell into the fives, homeowners helped to start a mini-Refi Boom. This week, however, self-doubt crept in. Rest easy, friends. You're not missing out. See, it's well-known that 0-point mortgage rates touched 4.500 percent Wednesday. But it's a little less well-known that those 4-and-a-half percent...