The National Association of Realtors® reports that spending on construction rose 0.5% in September with home building and government projects leading the way, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Monday.Spending on home building rose 1.8%, but the increase was offset by spending on commercial construction, which dropped 1.6%. Overall, non-residential construction was at the lowest level since January 2005.Housing starts rose 0.3% in September, the Commerce Department said, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units – still low, but improving.
The National Association of Realtors® reports that a panel on consumer debt at the Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention discussed the changing mentality that has resulted in credit cards being paid before mortgages, even among prime borrowers.Experts addressed how real estate defaults affect credit differently, noting that a short seller would be able to buy another home in two years while a foreclosed borrower would have to wait much longer.Panel members said the use of technology to account for changes to a loan accord could enhance borrower credit reporting as well as the role of borrower income in determining a person's willingness and ability to pay.
Here are three programs that are considered promising replacements for the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which has failed to stop foreclosures.(1) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be encouraged to refinance loans for some 30 million borrowers with high-interest rate mortgages. The new mortgages would be folded into a new round of mortgage-backed securities issued by the government-sponsored finance firms.(2) The right-to-rent plan would offer delinquent borrowers an option of renting their foreclosed homes at a market rate for five years. At that point, owners turned renters would have another chance to buy their homes at market value. It's a compromise. Borrowers lose their homes, but lenders have to accept lower payments.(3) Mortgage cramdowns give a bankruptcy judge the right to consider all of a borrower's debts and create a solution that would force all interested parties, including holders of mortgage debt, to compromise.Source: National Association of Realtors®
According to the National Association of Realtors®, the overall rate of home ownership in the United States stood pat in the third quarter compared to the previous three months and slipped just 0.7 percent year over year. However, a much more pronounced slide occurred among the nation's minorities.According to the Census Bureau, the overall home ownership rate came in at 66.9 percent for the third quarter, but for African Americans it dropped to 45 percent from 46.4 percent during the same period of 2009.Among Hispanics, meanwhile, the rate fell to 47 percent from 48.7 percent a year earlier. By comparison, the share of white Americans who owned their homes slid just 0.3 percent to 74.7 percent.
RISMedia reports that Mortgage rates revisited record lows this week, with the average rate on the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate returning to 4.42%, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.37 discount and origination points.The average 15-year fixed mortgage hit a new low of 3.81%, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate did as well, sinking to 5.04%. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly lower, with the average 5-year ARM falling to 3.57% and the average 7-year ARM retreating to 3.87%. The last time mortgage rates were above 6% was Nov. 2008. At that time, the average rate was 6.33%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.42%, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,003.89, a savings of $238 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.
The National Association of Realtors® reports that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released Mortgagee Letter 2010-36, Requirements for Combined Loan Amounts, which eliminates the requirement that the sum of all liens must not exceed the geographic maximum loan amount for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).Effective for case numbers assigned on September 7, 2010, or later, only the FHA-insured lien is subject to the geographic maximum loan amount. This applies to both purchases and refinances.Mortgagee Letter 2010-36 -- Requirements for Combined Loan Amounts
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According to the National Association of Realtors®, Wells Fargo said Wednesday that it had made paperwork mistakes and it plans to refile foreclosure documents in 55,000 cases by mid-November, but the company said the mistakes were technical and it doesn't plan to halt foreclosures.Unlike other major lenders, Wells Fargo had previously refused to suspend foreclosures. It continued to maintain that the errors were inconsequential. "We don't believe that there are instances in which the foreclosures would not have occurred otherwise," said Teri Schrettenbrunner, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.In depositions, two Wells Fargo employees have said they signed large numbers of documents daily without verifying their accuracy.
The National Association of Realtors® reports that the 50-state attorney general task force that is investigating lender foreclosure practices has begun meeting with banks and loans servicers, but working around the state-specific laws makes a global settlement difficult."Our ability to act on behalf of consumers depends in part on the intricacies of state law," said Janet Mills, Maine's attorney general. "It is important for the AGs to share what they find out with each other, to monitor what is happening in other states, including the responses from financial entities,"A member of the task force's executive committee, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, said, "Loan modifications may be a significant part of the solution. If you keep homes out of foreclosure, they don't depress real estate values."