Mortgages Blog

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:57 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

Thousands of people own houses that they rent out to vacationers on the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Texas. Some of these mom-and-pop landlords have suffered cancellations or slower-than-normal bookings. They are eligible for compensation from BP. Christine Karpinski, who owns a few rental properties in the Florida panhandle and also writes for HomeAway.com, recently wrote

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010 3:01 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The pace of mortgage modifications is slowing down drastically. According to the Treasury department, lenders in June offered 15,153 trial mods under the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. That’s less than one-tenth of the modifications offered in October, and about one-third of the number of trial mods offered in April. Meanwhile, 51,205 borrowers were

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:46 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a long, front-page article about consolidation in the banking industry. “Market power is concentrating in the hands of the nation’s largest banks,” write Dan Fitzpatrick and Robin Sidel. They note that the three biggest mortgage lenders — Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase — made 57 percent of home

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010 9:55 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

A sign of sanity: Housing stats were down last month. Builders started constructing houses in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 units. That’s a 5 percent drop from the May figure, and a 5.8 percent drop from the previous June. Keep in mind that the margins of error on those numbers are

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Monday, July 19, 2010 3:57 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

As threatened last week, my article about financial reform and your mortgage is up today. The financial regulation law devotes more than 200 pages to mortgages. As far as effects on consumers, I believe the most profound provision is the one that gives favorable treatment to plain-vanilla “qualified mortgages.” These are straightforward home loans that

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Friday, July 16, 2010 9:48 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The oil gusher has scrambled the economy along the Gulf Coast, cutting incomes of everyone from fishermen to hotel maids. Regulators are asking banks if they will treat those customers, including mortgage borrowers, fairly. Please? Pretty please? The title of the interagency statement tells you a lot: “Financial Institutions Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil

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Thursday, July 15, 2010 3:28 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The Senate has passed the financial reform act, and the president will sign it into law within hours or days. Over the next few days, Bankrate will have extensive coverage of the law — who the winners and losers are, hidden gems within the law and what it means to you. Soon we will run

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Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:08 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

“Ugh!” is the first line of an e-mail I got from Anthony Sanders, professor of real estate and finance at George Mason University. He’s talking about mortgage purchase applications, which have fallen to puny levels last seen in December 1996. Sanders continues: “The Obama tax credit caused a blip in home purchases, but it seemed

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Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:23 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

Mortgage rates edged higher this week, with the 30-year fixed rising to its third-lowest rate ever in the 25-year history of Bankrate’s weekly survey. Yeah, that sounds kinda strange. In the previous two weeks, we recorded the lowest rates on the 30-year fixed in the company’s quarter-century history. This week, the mortgage rate went up,

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Monday, July 12, 2010 9:27 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The second half of this week has an eventful economic calendar, with economic reports that could wreak mischief with mortgage rates. Don’t be surprised if you see noticeable swings — up or down — on Friday. I’ll start with Friday and work backward, because Friday’s report on consumer prices has the most capability of affecting mortgage

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