Recent News

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...

The 3 O’Clock Hour Matters To Mortgage Rate Shoppers

The Wall Street Journal ran a terrific story Thursday, deep under the C section. The piece talks about Wall Street's 3 o'clock hour and how it's increasingly defining market performance. Because we're in a down market and investors are highly levered, with each day comes a new batch of forced...

Mortgage Rates At 4.500 Percent? Maybe. But Stop Waiting For It.

Maybe you've heard about this 4.5 percent mortgage rate thing, sponsored by the government? Just to be sure, here's the background: Wednesday: A story

How Newton’s First Law Relates To Mortgage Rates

People ask me where mortgage rates are headed. I don't know the answer to that question. And, for a lot of reasons, really. None, however, more apparent than what happened yesterday. Shortly before the market open, the government pledged $500 billion to buy mortgage-backed debt. The move came as a...

Mortgage Rates And 10-Year Treasury Note Rates Are Fully De-Coupled

I've said it once before, but it bears repeating: To follow mortgage rates on a day-to-day basis, keep your eye on the mortgage-backed securities market. The popular 10-year U.S. treasury note is not a proxy. Both are government-backed bonds, but they are as different as Barry and Bobby Jr. Over...

2009 FHA Loan Limits Published To PDF For All 3,141 U.S. Counties

The government published the 2009 FHA Loan Limits for all 3,141 counties in the United States. As expected, loan limits will recede from their temporary levels of 2008. As in 2008, the 2009 FHA loan limits are based on the number of units in the property -- from 1-unit to...

How High-Income Individuals Can Prepare For Mortgage Lending’s Next Hurdles

Four times annually, the Federal Reserve surveys 84 banks around the country regarding their general lending standards. One of the survey questions asks about current mortgage lending standards and whether it's getting harder, or easier, to get approved for a home loan. In the most recent survey, 75 percent of...