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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reports Signal Stronger Economy Then Originally Estimated

News has been mixed regarding the national economy this past week, with reports initially indicating that the recovery had stalled over the past month. Upon closer inspection and after several follow up reports, its appears that the economy has actually begun to stabilize markedly.

One report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that the number of housing starts on previously occupied properties had dipped from the previous month. The index of sales agreements slumped to 99.2 percent, just slightly below the 100 percent mark that is considered healthy by the real estate group.

Programs Put In Motion To Help Educate Veterans On Loan Options

Over the past month, numerous new initiatives have been enacted to educate veterans on how a VA home loan can help them finance a new family residence.

According to estimates from the VA, more than 27 million service members potentially qualify for one of these loan products, but there is a widespread lack of understanding amongst veterans on how to go about acquiring them. With more and more members of the armed forces returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of eligible veterans is expected to increase in the coming years.

A Look At What States Are Being Helped Most by HARP 2.0

President Barack Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) has seen significant popularity increases since it was restructured back in October of 2011 to make more homeowners eligible for mortgage refinance through a government secured entity (GSE).

However, prior to 2011, the only borrowers who were eligible for the government initiative were homeowners with a loan-to-value (LTV) on their mortgage of less than 125 percent. This cap proved to be the biggest detriment to the success of the original HARP program, developed in 2009, because homeowners most in need of financial assistance were ineligible. As well, home values across the country had plummeted, making severely underwater homes the norm nationwide.

Rates Hit All-Time Lows As Mortgage Refinance Again Begins to Pick Up Steam

Despite an overall decline in the mortgage markets, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced in its seasonally adjusted index of loan activity that refinance has been taking off recently.

With an increase of 0.8 percent, mortgage refinance now accounts for 81 percent of total activity, which is an uptick from the previous few weeks.

The Three Main Ways the VA Can Help Veterans Refinance Their Mortgages

The governments VA loan program is a great option for service members whose unique living situations make it difficult for them to qualify for a traditional mortgage. However, applying for such a loan can be confusing for members of the armed forces and their families. Generally, there are three basic ways to go about navigating the VA loan program.

For homeowners who already have a VA loan, they can use the program to refinance their mortgage at a lower interest rate. The VA offers the interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) to service members in this situation.

FHA Offers Loan Aimed at Making Existing Properties More Attractive to Buyers

As more homes are being purchased and the stock of available housing continues to shrink nationwide, residential property markets appear to be bouncing back from their collapse following the economic meltdown that occurred in 2007.

Recent studies have shown that more and more buyers are looking into purchasing older homes instead of new properties as they may be more affordable options. However, when it comes to taking out a mortgage for one of these experienced properties, borrowers often face a conundrum if it appears that a house may need vital renovations.

Outlook Bright For Housing Market According to Freddie Mac

Government secured entity (GSE) Freddie Mac released it's U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for September on Wednesday indicating that trends have shifted markedly over the past few decades regarding the purchasing habits of the average American.

Most notably, homes built over the past 40 years have been consistently more energy efficient with each passing decade showing a sharp jump in environmentally aware construction through the last ten years.

Mortgage Applications Dip Slightly As Average Interest On New Loans Follows Suit

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that in the week ended August 31, the number of mortgage applications submitted by homeowners dipped slightly compared to the week before.

The MBA survey, which monitors more than 75 percent of all mortgage activity nationwide, found that 2.5 percent fewer applicants were taking advantage of decreased average interest rates on fixed rate loans during this period. However, the number of applicants seeking a new mortgage, or to refinance their current loans, are still much greater than during the same period last year.

More Areas Seeing Improved Housing Markets According to Monthly Index

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released a report on Monday that showed a major jump in the number of metropolitan areas listed in its First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for September.

In the August IMI, the NAHB listed only 80 districts that showed an improvement in market conditions. That figure jumped to 99 markets in September, spanning 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Democrats Urge Senate to Vote On Enhancements to HARP 2.0

The U.S. Senate begins a two week session today, with the first item on the agenda involving an enhancement to President Barack Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0).

As the November elections near, the president and Democrats are urging senators on both sides of the aisle to approve a widespread restructuring of the government program, which was designed to help more than 11.5 million underwater homeowners.