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Mortgage Fraud on the Rise as Buyers Scramble to Land Homes

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  The frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications increased 3.9 percent in March 2017 as compared with the previous month. Firse American’s Defect Index for purchase transactions increased 2.4 percent compared to last month, and is up 3.6 percent compared to a year ago. “This month, the Loan Application Defect Index continued ... Read More »

Trump Budget Cuts HUD-Funded Down Payment Assistance and Homebuyer Education Programs


Three major sources of support for local down payment assistance and homebuyer education programs—Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investments Partnerships Program and NeighborWorks America—would be eliminated under the Trump Administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget released March 16. Also, under a revised FY 2017 budget proposal announced March 28, the Administration seeks to cut funding by half this year for ... Read More »

Meet Tomorrow’s Rising Star Chief Economists


Not so ago, national reporters covering housing relied on four or five chief economists in the housing sector to help to understand and interpret real estate economic data for their readers. These gurus were on everyone’s Rolodex because they worked for big organizations like NAR, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Home Builders and megabanks. With the housing ... Read More »

Better Days are Ahead for Marginal Home Buyers?

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As the top officials to serve in the new Trump Administration are named and they outline their priorities, the broad outlines of the new government’s housing policies are taking shape.  Further details won’t complete the picture until the weeks follow the inauguration. Even once they settle into office, some of the policy changes in store—especially reducing and revoking regulations—can take ... Read More »

Homebuyers Aren’t Fazed by Rate Run-up


The super sensitivity of home buyers to the slightest uptick in mortgage interest rates is one of the more puzzling examples of human misperception.  Buyers will rush to close or put their buying plans on ice when rates are rising a wrinkle, even if the actual monthly impact on a mortgage is less than a dinner out at McDonald’s.  They ... Read More »

Why Foreclosures are Never-ending Credit Nightmares


The popular belief that the seven million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure during the Housing Crash are healed, whole and forgiven of their debts after seven years have passed is only partly true. For foreclosures, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set a seven-year waiting period before defaulters can apply for a mortgage, measured from the completion date of ... Read More »

Mortgage Approvals Soar 51% in Four Years


As lending standards have loosened over the past four years, closing rates have steadily improved and in August, approvals rates for all mortgages were more than 50 percent higher than they were in August 2012, according to the latest Origination Insights report from Ellie Mae. Closing rates increased from less than half of applications—47.8 percent in 2014—to 72.3 percent of ... Read More »

Down Payment Ignorance Persists


Despite FHA, more than 2000 down payment assistance programs and new low down payment options from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and private lenders ranging from Wells Fargo to Bank of America, most consumers don’t realize they can buy a home with less than 10 percent down today. Even though the median down payment for first-time buyers is only 6 percent, ... Read More »

Three Ways to Lose a Loan: Major Mistakes Borrowers Make


It’s a heady feeling to receive a formal letter advising you that you’ve been pre-qualified for more money than you’ve ever seen in your life.  However, many buyers forget the “pre” part of pre-approval.  Much can happen between pre-qualification and settlement to make that letter worth less than the paper on which it’s written. Here are three of the most ... Read More »

Mortgage Insurance Soared in Second Quarter

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  Mortgage insurance activity, including insurance written by government programs like the FHA and VA as well as and private insurers, rose significantly to $189 billion, up from last quarter’s $140.2 billion and up 11 percent over 2015.  Though FHA’s market share fell to 34 percent in 2016 Q2 (from 41 percent the previous quarter), the private insurance market’s share ... Read More »

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