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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Economy Continued Growth Over Third Quarter Of 2012

A series of reports have been released that signal a strengthening economy driven largely by improvements in the housing markets. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third quarter study on October 27 that showed the national economy overall has grown by 2 percent during the June through September period.

Consumers were more confident over this period as retail sales and home purchases showed large upticks. The government has also increased spending aimed at helping the general public get back on their feet. This has resulted in more fiscal stability across the board, especially for homeowners who have been able to lower their monthly mortgage commitments.

One Year Later, HARP 2.0 Has Helped Close To 1 Million Homeowners

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the relaunch of President Barack Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0). The goal of the streamlined initiative was to broaden the eligibility for underwater mortgages. The program has since successfully lowered monthly interest payments and shortened loan terms for homeowners across the country.

The number of borrowers who have been positively affected by HARP 2.0 over the past year has come close to exceeding the total number of homeowners who took advantage of the original HARP program in the two years prior to the revamp. Currently, the initiative is on track to exceed 1 million refinances by January 2013.

Refinance Easier Than Ever For Qualified Veterans

Currently, the market for mortgage refinance is favorable for any homeowner looking to achieve a lower monthly payment. However, for borrowers who have mortgages financed through the VA Loan program, restructuring their mortgage has proven easier than for nearly any other demographic.

The VA offers the Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan (IRRRL) to veterans as a sort of thank you for their service. This process reduces the volume of paperwork that homeowners would have to go through to restructure their mortgage by nearly half compared to traditional methods of refinancing.

Report Shows Home Sales Hit Two-Year-High In September

A new report released yesterday from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicates that single home sales were up 5.7 percent in September compared to August. This bucks normal trends, which generally show a decrease in housing starts at the onset of fall.

This is positive news for the housing market, as it follows a recent adjustment by HUD that downgraded the number of housing sales reported in its August report from 373,000 units to 268,000.

FHA's Streamline Refinance Package Designed To Help Responsible Borrowers

In an effort to keep momentum on pace in the mortgage refinance market, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is offering the Streamline Refinance package to responsible homeowners who have borrowed through the government-backed loan insurer.

The program is available to homeowners who have shown model borrowing practices since signing their loan agreement. In order to qualify, a borrower cannot have been late on any payments over the 12 months prior to applying for refinance.

HARP 2.0 Helps Housing Market In Resort Areas Stay Afloat

Vacation destinations such as Maine, Florida and other locales where a large portion of the housing stock consists of non-primary residences took a big hit during the recession of 2007-2009.

However, thanks to help from President Barack Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0), many vacation properties that were financed through a government lender before 2009 are staying occupied, helping the local economies of resort towns across the country.

Refinance Through HARP 2.0 Set To Break Record In 2012

According to new figures released from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the number of refinances occurring through President Barack Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) is set to help 1 million homeowners before the end of 2012.

The FHFA's August Refinance Report showed that more than 99,000 households benefitted from a HARP 2.0 mortgage refinance over that month alone, with demand holding strong in all 50 states.

How FHA Insured Home Loans Have Contributed To An Increase In New Home Construction

As previously reported, the number of housing starts in September significantly exceeded the expectations of many real estate analysts, as the commerce department showed an increase of roughly 15 percent over August in new home construction.

One major reason for this unexpected uptick is the fact that more borrowers than ever have become eligible for FHA loan insurance.

Report Shows Improvements Over Last Year Throughout The Housing Markets

According to the RE/MAX National Housing report, a monthly survey conducted by the realty company, September was a banner month for the housing market. Compared to figures from the same period last year, both the number of sales and the median price of the average new property have risen.

The markets saw a 0.5 percent increase in closings compared to September 2011. Despite the increases from last year, the survey did highlight a 17.5-percent drop from August to September of 2012. However, in a press release from the company, CEO Margaret Kelly pointed out that this kind of decrease is normal as closings tend to slow down annually going into the fall.

Applications For VA Loans Reach 18 Year-High

According to figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the popularity of its home loan program has seen an unprecedented surge in recent months. In the fiscal year ended September 30, mortgage applications to the VA jumped 50 percent compared to the same period last year.

The department has guaranteed 540,000 loans in fiscal year alone, which is the highest volume of applications seen since 1994. Compared to five years ago, output for successful new home loans has surged more than 300 percent.