Mortgages Blog

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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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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