Mortgages Blog

Monday, August 9, 2010 2:07 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

Do you owe way more than your house is worth because property values went down? Are you on time with your mortgage payments? Are you optimistic and lucky? Is your mortgage not insured with the FHA? Do you have time and energy to spend countless hours on the phone with lenders, jawing with customer service

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Monday, August 9, 2010 7:06 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The economic calendar has a slow start this week, after enduring Friday’s disappointing employment report. In that report, nonfarm payrolls plunged by 131,000 jobs in July, which was worse than expected. The revision for June magnified that month’s job losses, too. With all those lost jobs, the unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 9.5 percent. Was

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 9:40 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

As I noted last week, the Home Affordable Refinance Program is a bust. And I’ve never succeeded in getting a straight answer as to why. In comments from a post last week,  Andy Boyum writes: “HARP is a joke!” He says that, because his loan has mortgage insurance, he can refinance only with his current

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:28 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

A new advertising campaign will “encourage homeowners who are struggling with their monthly mortgage payments to learn about the Making Home Affordable Program,” according to the federal Housing Department. It’s being done pro bono, so you can’t complain about wasted tax dollars. But, still, doesn’t it seem like the Housing and Treasury departments should concentrate

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:31 am
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

It keeps happening, over and over. Mortgage rates hit another record low in Bankrate’s weekly survey, falling to 4.71 percent. The previous record low was 4.74 percent, set July 7 and repeated July 21. For July, the 30-year fixed averaged 4.74 percent. I was talking to a mortgage guy yesterday who expressed amazement that rates have

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 4:06 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

I’m looking to interview people who have ARMs and would like to refinance — but they’re underwater and can’t refi. Does that describe you? Are you willing to be interviewed and quoted by name and city? Then e-mail me. By the way, I don’t know the solution to this issue of having an ARM and

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:17 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

The homeownership rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1999, according to the Census Bureau. In the second quarter of this year, the homeownership rate fell to 66.9 percent. That’s down from a 67.4 percent homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2009. The last time the homeownership rate was this low was in

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Monday, July 26, 2010 12:30 pm
By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com

I see headlines that say there was a rebound in June for new home sales. I’m not convinced. The housing market still stinks. New houses were sold in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units, according to the Census. That’s a big improvement over May’s seasonally adjusted rate. Doesn’t mean much. Instead,

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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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