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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Home Equity Makes Huge Leap So Far In 2012

Americans are finally beginning to see a jump in their home equity after the nation saw much of it disappear when the housing market collapsed almost four years ago.

In a June 7 report from the Federal Reserve, homeowners saw an increase of more than 7 percent to their home equity lines of credit in the first quarter of 2012, marking the first increase since 2008. Americans now share a healthier home equity of $6.7 trillion, the largest leap in over 60 years according to a Bloomberg analysis.

Fresh Figures Signal Friendlier Lending Environment

New figures being released regarding the housing market are suggesting strong signs of an economic rebound, along with an increased confidence in lenders looking to help current homeowners and new borrowers.

Pending home sales in May were up in the double digits nationwide compared to year-ago levels, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The jump of over 13 percent comes as all-time low average interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages have made it easier for borrowers to grapple with new loan payments.

Official Predicts Refinances Under HARP 2.0 Will Double

An official at Fannie Mae, the government-supported enterprise (GSE) that creates mortgage backed securities for lenders, predicts that the federal government's revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program, commonly referred to as HARP 2.0, could help up to 1 million more borrowers refinance their mortgages before year's end.

Andrew Bon Salle, the head of Fannie Mae's underwriting and pricing group, said in a statement reported by the Eastern Morning Herald that current trends give him confidence that refinances under HARP 2.0 will double compared to figures from 2011.

Recovery of Housing Markets Varies Regionally

Throughout the country, housing markets are seeing improvements in different areas that signal incremental signs of recovery region to region. Some sections of the country are outperforming others in terms of home sales or median home prices, however, showing that as a nation there are still strides that need to be made.

According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Northeast and Midwest saw the biggest uptick in home sales last month while the West Coast saw the weakest recovery compared to figures from April and May the year before.

Foreclosure Review Now Easier For Some Borrowers

Guidelines were set and deadlines were extended for borrowers looking to challenge foreclosures against them following the burst of the housing bubble in 2009 and 2010.

The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency announced Thursday, June 21 that homeowners who were foreclosed upon during that period have until September 30 to request foreclosure reviews.

Though Morale Is Low, Delinquent Borrowers Not Without Options

Refinancing a mortgage is no easy task for borrowers who are currently more than 30 days delinquent on their payments. While homeowners with underwater mortgages have the opportunity to take advantage of the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), delinquent borrowers need to find alternative routes to get their finances in check before they can look into this type of mortgage refinance.

According to Fannie Mae's recent National Housing Survey, borrowers who are delinquent on their mortgage payment now feel greater regret over seeking homeownership following the bursting of the housing bubble in the latter part of the last decade.

Applications For Mortgage Refinance Rose Last Week

The number of borrowers looking into mortgage refinance skyrocketed last week, as lower premiums from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) caused new applications to double, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Although applications to refinance were up more than 120 percent from the previous week, the impressive figures to note come from comparisons to application levels last year, which have more than quadrupled.

Why Are Average Interest Rates Remaining So Low?

Though the housing market seems to be rebounding, average interest rates on mortgages still sit at some of the lowest levels of all time.

The Federal Reserve has been working to keep rates low in anticipation of its long-term forecast of the economy, both stateside and abroad. In times of high unemployment and low consumer confidence, low interest rates give more incentive to wary spenders to borrow or refinance mortgages. However, as the economy improved over the last two months, rates haven't increased, but instead shrunk week to week in response to factors beyond our shores.

Fifteen-Year Loans Becoming An Increasingly Popular Option For Mortgage Refinance

For borrowers looking into mortgage refinance, the 15-year-loan is gaining steam as a popular route to paying off loans quicker, while still taking advantage of record low rates.

Freddie Mac reported that average interest rates on 15-year fixed payment mortgages have dipped below 3 percent for the first time since the company started monitoring average rates 21 years ago.

General Profile Of A HARP Borrower Coming Into Shape

Since the second version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was re-launched in mid-March, more borrowers have been able to take advantage of refinancing their mortgages than under the original version of the program released two years ago. Now that the program is well into its second month, analysts have been able to see just who HARP has helped and what it has done for them.

Dan Green, an analyst for The Mortgage Reports blog, compiled statistics from 20,090 requests to build a general profile of the average HARP homeowner looking for assistance.