Recent News

Comparing FHA And Conventional Mortgages With Less Than 20% Downpayment

With foreclosures proliferating, PMI defaults are up 26 percent over last year and double the levels from 2007. Private mortgage insurers are paying out on many more claims than was expected and, as a result, are booking huge losses. Homeowners are about to pay the price. To shore up balance sheets and protect against future losses, mortgage insurers have raised insurance rates and toughened underwriting guidelines.

Foreclosures Per Household Data Shows The Way To The Homebuying Bargains

The severity of the "Foreclosure Crisis" depends on where you live, it seems. According to the Q3 foreclosure report, Foreclosures Per Household skews heavy towards just a few states. Nevada leads the nation with 1 foreclosure per 23 households. Its rate is six times the national average of 1 foreclosure per 136 households. Arizona, California, and Florida are a distant 2, 3 and 4, respectively.

Mortgage Rates Are Not As Low As Newspapers Are Reporting

Thursday, Freddie Mac published its weekly mortgage market survey. The report showed mortgage rates sub-5 percent, trolling near all-time lows. Versus October 2008, 30-year fixed mortgages are down 1.07%. The press was eager to report this story -- mostly because anytime mortgage rates below 5.000 percent, it makes for good copy. But, for rate shoppers in Cincinnati and Chicago, by the time Friday's business section was delivered, the Freddie Mac survey was already out-of-date.

Fannie Mae To Get Tougher On Mortgage Insurance, Income Levels and Credit Scores

For the second time in 10 weeks, Fannie Mae is toughening its mortgage guidelines again. Again. According to an internal Fannie Mae document, a review of the group's current "risk appetite, eligibility requirements, mortgage insurance options, and pricing" spawned changes spanning credit scoring, income requirements, loan-level pricing adjustments.

Are You Moving In The Next Few Years? Save Big Money On Your Mortgage.

Planning to move in the next few years? Here's a simple way to save some money. Convert your 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 5-year ARM. It's playing the mortgage system to your advantage.

How To Find Distressed Properties Using Foreclosures-Per-Capita Statistics

According to the August foreclosure report, the severity of the "Foreclosure Crisis" depends on where you live. Foreclosures Per Household are highly skewed towards just a few states. The data is so lop-sided, in fact, that 41 states fall below the national average. For shoppers of foreclosed homes, the RealtyTrac data is a true buyer's guide to Where To Find Distressed Homes.

Have You Given Your Application Yet? In 5 Days, New Mortgage Guidelines Go Into Effect And They’re Harsh.

Effective Tuesday, September 1, conforming mortgage approvals are due to toughen up again. Fannie Mae is imposing strict new lending guidelines that should slow down purchase and refinance activity in Cincinnati and parts elsewhere. It's the first major conforming mortgage guideline change since April and this one is a big one -- 15 separate underwriting areas are affected.

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 […]