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You bought it

By Holden Lewis ·
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Posted: 9 am ET

Retail sales advanced strongly in March. Seasonally adjusted sales were up 1.6 percent compared to February. That's better than the consensus forecast. The seasonal adjustments take into account that March is 10 percent longer than February.

Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.6 percent in March, which is better than expected. Car sales were up 6.7 percent. In addition to buying vehicles, Americans also bought a lot of building materials and garden supplies. We cut back on electronics and appliances.

To summarize, March brought us a jump in retail sales, but steady prices. I wonder how long that can last. So far this morning, mortgage rates have remained flat as the news on retail sales balances the news on consumer prices. This afternoon brings the Fed's Beige Book, the central bank's anecdotal look at economic conditions across the country. I doubt the Beige Book will say anything startling, but if you're risk-adverse and you're going to close on your home loan within the next week or so, it might be a good idea to lock your rate before the Beige Book is released at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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April 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

A question to Mary Jo Aldridge above. Was your loan a Freddie Mac or Fannie May? I have a Freddie Mac and they are saying there is no way for me to be eligible because of the pool insurance THEY tacked onto my loan.

April 15, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Mary Jo,
Who services your loan? What was your LTV?

Mary Jo Aldridge
April 14, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I had to give you the good news.After waiting for over a year for The Making Homes Affordable Program I finally got my home refinanced! I was one of those last year who had pool insurance tacked on my loan and was told by my servicer (my loan was through Freddie Mac)they just didn't have any information if they could refinance the loan.Well,I waited around for a while,saw interest rates go back up and gave up on it.I was still paying some attention to the rates and happened to notice in late March/early April how low the rates were again.I called my servicer and asked had they gotten the go ahead to refinance these loans.She said she'd check.Got back to me minutes later to say they were refinancing but the pool insurance had to be through GIAC(?)and mine was. Within a few weeks I had my 30 yr 6.375 mortgage(and only 4 years into it)change into a 15 yr with a 4.375 rate.The miracle-I'm only paying $68 more a monthe to change from a 30yr to a 15 yr. At 55yrs old,needless to say I was estatic! Just to pass it on.