Mortgage rates were on the decline this week, a welcome sign for potential home buyers or those looking to refinance.
The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.95 percent this week, down from 5 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 5.05 percent.
The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage also dropped for the week, averaging 4.22 percent, down from last week’s 4.27 percent. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage dropped slightly to 3.8 percent, compared to 3.87 percent the previous week.
“Low mortgage rates and home prices are sustaining affordability in the housing market,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. The National Association of REALTORS® reported
Mortgage loan applications increased 13.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications survey.
The number of refinancings increased the most: The Refinance Index increased 17.8 percent compared to the previous week. Overall, the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 65.7 percent of total applications.
Meanwhile, the Purchase Index increased 5.1 percent compared to the week prior.
“Ongoing turmoil in the Middle East brought interest rates lower last week,” says Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of previously owned homes set their highest rate in eight months in January, but more than a third of purchases were distressed properties and prices hit a nearly nine-year low.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing homes sales climbed 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.36 million units, marking the third straight month of gains. Economists had expected a fall to a 5.24 million-unit pace.
Foreclosures and short sales typically occur below market value and their large share of overall sales suggested further price declines ahead.
"What this shows is that there is will be an ongoing adjustment to prices to the downside. Housing fundamentals are still weak,"
By DEREK KRAVITZ, AP Real Estate Writer Derek Kravitz, Ap Real Estate Writer –
WASHINGTON – Home prices in a majority of major U.S. cities tracked by a private trade group have fallen to their lowest levels since the housing bubble burst.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index fell in December from November in all but one of the 20 cities it tracks. The 20-city index declined 1 percent.
The only market to see a gain was Washington, D.C.
Eleven of the markets hit their lowest point since the housing bust, in 2006 and 2007: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa, Fla.
The damage from the real estate bubble now spreads well beyond Las Vegas, Phoenix and
More home owners are falling prey to scams that promise to “stop the foreclosure” and “save your home.”
The Federal Trade Commission has released a report to help borrowers avoid falling victim to such scams, here are a few of its tips:
1. Watch for outlandish claims. "Eliminate your debt!" and "We guarantee to stop the auction" are too good to be true. If it sounds like an easy way out, don’t believe it, the FTC warns.
2. Don't pay up-front costs. Consumer investigator Dale Cardwell warns home owners to beware of any deal that requires you to pay up-front fees. Cardwell says you shouldn’t pay any business or person who promises to modify your loan because only your lender can do that.
3. Beware of those imitating government agencies. Watch out for
By Tami Luhby, senior writerFebruary 15, 2011: 8:08 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama's plan to limit two popular deductions for wealthy taxpayers will hit a wall of resistance from entrenched special interests.
The president once again proposed in his budget to curtail high-income earners' tax deduction for mortgage interest payments and charitable contributions.
Under his proposal, taxpayers in the 33% and 35% tax brackets would only be able to deduct their contributions and mortgage interest payments at the 28% rate. It would affect those with taxable income of $250,000 and up and bring in $321 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.
The Obama administration, as well as several tax and deficit commissions,
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Three out of four home owners — or 78 percent — say their homes are the best investment they ever made, according to Trulia.com’s biannual American Dream survey, which has tracked attitudes toward home ownership since 2009.
Despite foreclosures and underwater homes continuing to batter the real estate market, about 70 percent of Americans say they still view home ownership as being part of their American Dream, according to the survey.
“Contrary to popular belief, the American Dream of homeownership has not turned into an American nightmare,” says Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia.
The millennial generation is expected to drive the housing recovery. Eighty-eight percent of 18-34 year old renters say they want to be home owners one day, according to the survey.