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Monthly Archives: May 2012

How Can I Refinance If My Credit Score Is Low?

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage refinance applications are up 4.36 percent in the last month. This is good news because even though last week's average was down, generally, the four-week averages are considered to be more indicative of mortgage activity, given the volatile nature of week-to-week changes.

Still despite these favorable numbers, many more borrowers were unable to refinance due to their low credit scores that were destroyed during the recession, but it's not just those with a long track record of borrowing woes who may require credit repair mediation to solve their debt problems.

Senate Subcommittee Hears Testimony On HARP Successes

The expansion of the mortgage refinance process to more consumers is an idea that is not without its supporters on Capitol Hill and throughout the housing industry.

On Thursday, May 24, housing experts testified before the Senate's Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, with a general theme being that the government should alter the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to allow more homeowners to refinance. Four experts, including National Association of Realtors president Moe Veissi and Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, shared their thoughts on the matter.

Expensive Custom Properties Appear To Be On The Rebound

Is it possible that the McMansion - a symbol of the housing boom in the 2000s - could be making a comeback in American suburbs after falling in popularity in recent years?

According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau study and an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, the average home size climbed 5.2 percent to 2,505 square feet last year, after falling by 3.4 percent to 2,382 square feet during the recession.

Government Refinance Programs Bridge Gap For Underwater Homeowners

When you commit to a mortgage refinance, you should be able to see the financial benefits immediately. For some homeowners - those whose mortgages are underwater - receiving lender approval for refinancing could otherwise prove difficult, if not for government programs geared specifically toward aiding these consumers. Underwater borrowers like Las Vegas residents Val and Paul Keller found this out firsthand earlier this month.

Despite owing more on their home than it was worth, the Kellers were recently able to refinance through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) - they now pay $240 less per month in mortgage costs. Given their success, President Barack Obama chose the home of the Kellers as the location to deliver a key speech on the government's refinance programs earlier this month.

Streamlined FHA Loans Simplify Mortgage Refinance Process

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) already boasts one of the programs that is most beneficial to homeowners who cannot afford a high down payment during a home purchase. Now, a modification to its mortgage refinance program will make the restructuring of FHA loans even more financially appealing to some homeowners.

As part of an effort that President Barack Obama first mentioned in March, the FHA will allow certain borrowers to refinance with lower upfront fees. The new program becomes effective on June 11.

FHA Considers Changes To Condominium Financing Policy

After the bursting of the housing bubble, many former homeowners - who were either unable to fund a home purchase or did not want to lock themselves into monthly mortgage payments again - turned to renting to fulfill their residential needs. A market correction has now made renting more costly than owning in many markets, which could push some consumers back toward homeownership.

But, what about consumers who prefer to own properties but are restrained by cost concerns? A large number of these individuals have turned toward smaller condominiums for their housing needs, but even then, many have had trouble financing them because of restrictions related to loans provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Foreclosed Americans Get Second Chance At Homeownership

After finding themselves unable to meet their monthly payments and being forced out of their homes several years ago, a segment of American consumers are slowly embracing homeownership again.

A Reuters study has examined the issue and determined that Americans are increasingly getting back into the housing market following years of renting after they lost their homes. But, with home values and mortgage interest rates currently so low and renting being more expensive than owning in most U.S. markets, it is clear why this shift is occurring.

Obama Stands Pat With Mortgage Interest Rate of More Than 5 Percent

Beginning during his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama has publicly pleaded with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to allow some of the more than 11 million underwater homeowners to reduce their mortgage principal balances.

In the absence of a decision on this initiative being handed down from FHFA's director, Obama has repeatedly endorsed further efforts to present Americans with an easier path toward a mortgage refinance.

Housing Recovery Enters Into Second Stage

Long after the initial finger-pointing regarding the bursting of the housing bubble stopped, many critics have now directed their vitriol toward the institution of homeownership itself, which they say is no longer as major a component of the American Dream as it once was.

Some of these critics have statistics on their side - such as the April Gallup study that found homeownership had fallen more than 10 percentage points since its peak in 2006 - but there are other studies that suggest the housing market finally sits on a long-awaited cusp of recovery.

What Refinance Options Do Homeowners Have When Not Eligible For HARP?

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) exists specifically to aid homeowners who have negative equity in their properties, although some have found that they do not qualify for the initiative. These underwater borrowers do have other options, though, should they insist upon a mortgage refinance.

A number of housing stakeholders, including lawmakers, news contributors and President Obama himself, have called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to provide more aid to underwater borrowers, many of whom are struggling to meet their monthly mortgage obligations and are quickly approaching foreclosure. On May 14, The Huffington Post's Preeti Vissa called on FHFA director Edward DeMarco to institute a much-discussed principal reduction program for underwater borrowers.