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Mortgage Market

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BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | September 30, 2007
The term "mortgage meltdown" has become so commonplace - on TV, in headlines and even during casual conversations - that you might assume that this is a tough time to get a mortgage. But the reality is starkly different: Mortgage money is plentiful, the majority of mortgage products remain relatively unaffected by troubles in the subprime segment, and interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans remain in the low 6 percent range for people with reasonably good - not necessarily perfect - credit backgrounds.
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NEWS
By Eric John Abrahamson | May 28, 2013
As the five-year anniversary of the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy and the collapse of the mortgage market approaches, Americans are still struggling to cope with the consequences of the Great Recession. More than 4 million households have lost their homes to foreclosure. Millions of breadwinners are still out of work. Meanwhile, households have seen an estimated $2 trillion in wealth evaporate. Pundits and politicians have spent nearly five years pointing fingers, but too few have questioned the root cause of the crisis: a deeply held belief that Americans should own their own homes and that the government should help make that dream possible.
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BUSINESS
January 20, 2002
The adjustable-rate mortgage market slid to a three-year low in popularity last year as homebuyers preferred fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates at 30-year lows, according to an annual survey by Freddie Mac. Adjustable-rate mortgages grabbed only 12 percent of the mortgage market in 2001, down from 21 percent in 2000, according to the survey. The 12 percent is the lowest share since 1998's 11 percent share, which was an all-time low. ARMs were first offered in the early 1980s. Homebuyers did not find the spread between adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages advantageous since, according to Freddie Mac, the initial rate for a one-year ARM was 5.27 percent compared with fixed rates that hovered between 6.5 percent and 7 percent by the end of last year.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | February 16, 2012
The number of Maryland homeowners behind on their mortgage payments but not yet in foreclosure inched downward in 2011, numbers released Thursday showed. It was the second consecutive year of improvement, but it wasn't enough to bring the state back to the levels seen before the foreclosure crisis began in 2007 — or even close to those levels. More than 100,000 homeowners without pending foreclosure cases were at least one month behind on payments at the end of last year, compared with an average of 50,000 at year-end in the first half of the last decade.
BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | October 19, 2008
Credit squeeze, credit freeze, credit system seizures: Everybody knows how severe and painful the global financial breakdown has been - with banks unwilling to lend even to other banks. But what about mortgages and real estate? Can you still get a home loan with less than a 20 percent or 30 percent down payment? Or with a credit score below 720? Absolutely. It would be a big stretch to label housing the sunny side of the market at the moment, but there's a lot more light there than in most other financial sectors.
BUSINESS
By McClatchy-Tribune | March 25, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Home Loan Bank system won permission yesterday to double the amount of capital that it can spend to purchase mortgage bonds in an effort to boost home lending and revive the nation's housing market. The Federal Housing Finance Board approved a plan that would allow the 12 privately financed, government-sponsored Federal Home Loan Banks that the system regulates to purchase about $100 billion in mortgage bonds over the next two years. The home loan banks will snap up more newly issued mortgage bonds, or securities, which are packaged by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The effort supports the sagging housing market by ensuring that there is enough cash in the system, so that lenders are willing to lend and borrowers to borrow.
BUSINESS
January 16, 1994
Q: Is it advisable to pay off a mortgage on my home by taking the money out of savings and paying off the $46,000 balance due, or leave it and pay monthly payments until the mortgage is paid off?A: The tax deductions you can take for paying interest on a mortgage usually make it more valuable to keep a mortgage and make the regular monthly payments rather than take money out of savings and pay the mortgage off early.The interest payments that make up most of the monthly mortgage payments are tax-deductible, as are the real estate taxes and all the points paid to your lender at closing.
NEWS
July 15, 2010
I read the Jules Witcover column ("Blaming Bush no longer works for Obama," July 14) in absolute amazement that one of The Baltimore Sun's many liberal journalists still spins the pro-Obama, anti-Bush record with no sense of balance as to accountability. Just wondering when one of the journalistic wonders of the Baltimore Sun will report on the contributions of their beloved "Democratic favorites" to the demise of the U.S. economy. They could start with the reduced requirements for obtaining mortgages that was pushed by President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank in the late '90's, which sent the mortgage market into a tailspin.
BUSINESS
By Michael Gisriel | November 10, 1996
Dear Mr. Gisriel:I have a large principal balance due and a substantial number of years left on the mortgage on my house. Do you recommend increasing my savings for retirement or paying off the mortgage sooner?Joan BallBaltimoreDear Ms. Ball:The ideal solution would be to increase your retirement fund and try to pay off your mortgage early. But if I had to choose, I would recommend that you continue to build your savings or invest a portion of your savings in an IRA, which is tax-deferred, or in stock mutual funds, which have some risk but which might yield more than the interest from a typical savings account.
BUSINESS
By Kenneth R. Harney | July 30, 1995
Washington -- If you're one of the millions of American homeowners with a less-than-perfect credit file, you should know about a major legal deadline looming in the mortgage market.Lenders nationwide are gearing up this summer for the High Cost Mortgage Act, which takes effect Oct. 1. On that date, consumers will get new federal Truth-in-Lending protections when they refinance their home or take out a home equity loan with rates or fees that qualify as "high cost."Though aimed primarily at loan-scam artists who prey on unsuspecting homeowners, the law cuts a far wider swath.
NEWS
July 15, 2010
I read the Jules Witcover column ("Blaming Bush no longer works for Obama," July 14) in absolute amazement that one of The Baltimore Sun's many liberal journalists still spins the pro-Obama, anti-Bush record with no sense of balance as to accountability. Just wondering when one of the journalistic wonders of the Baltimore Sun will report on the contributions of their beloved "Democratic favorites" to the demise of the U.S. economy. They could start with the reduced requirements for obtaining mortgages that was pushed by President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank in the late '90's, which sent the mortgage market into a tailspin.
BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | October 19, 2008
Credit squeeze, credit freeze, credit system seizures: Everybody knows how severe and painful the global financial breakdown has been - with banks unwilling to lend even to other banks. But what about mortgages and real estate? Can you still get a home loan with less than a 20 percent or 30 percent down payment? Or with a credit score below 720? Absolutely. It would be a big stretch to label housing the sunny side of the market at the moment, but there's a lot more light there than in most other financial sectors.
BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | October 5, 2008
In the current credit squeeze, if you have less than a 20 percent down payment, there's pretty much only one major source of mortgage financing available: the Federal Housing Administration, the Depression-era home loan insurance agency that still offers 3 percent down, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with consumer-friendly credit standards, even on jumbo loans in high-cost areas. But there is a potentially troublesome problem looming for FHA: New loan volume is exploding - tripling in the past 12 months alone - and Congress just handed the agency the responsibility for virtually all the government's efforts to keep economically distressed homeowners out of foreclosure by refinancing their unaffordable loans.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | September 20, 2008
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, moving to prevent an economic cataclysm, urged Congress yesterday to grant it far-reaching emergency powers to buy hundreds of billions of dollars of distressed mortgages despite many unknowns about how the plan would work. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. made it clear that the upfront cost of the rescue proposal could easily be $500 billion, and outside experts predicted that the bill could reach $1 trillion. The outlines of the plan, described in conference calls to lawmakers yesterday, include buying only from U.S. financial institutions - but not hedge funds - and hiring outside advisers who would work for the Treasury, rather than creating a separate agency.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | August 4, 2008
The first wave of Americans to default on their home mortgages appears to be cresting, but a second, far larger one is quickly building. Homeowners with good credit are falling behind on their payments in growing numbers, even as the problems with mortgages made to people with weak, or subprime, credit are showing their first, tentative signs of leveling off after two years of spiraling defaults. The percentage of mortgages in arrears in the category of loans one rung above subprime, so-called alternative-A mortgages, quadrupled to 12 percent in April from a year earlier.
NEWS
July 18, 2008
Congressional action to assist mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the failure of California bank IndyMac, gave bloggers plenty of targets this week. A sampling of the commentary: Q.: What's your diagnosis of what happened to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? A.: First of all, they had too little capital to withstand adverse circumstances. And the adverse circumstances were the severe downturn in housing, the decline in house prices, and the rising default rate on mortgages. I don't know of anyone who early enough was saying that there would be a major national decline in house prices, so I can't hold them to that standard, but I can hold them to a standard of holding adequate capital to be able to withstand unforeseen circumstances.
BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | October 5, 2008
In the current credit squeeze, if you have less than a 20 percent down payment, there's pretty much only one major source of mortgage financing available: the Federal Housing Administration, the Depression-era home loan insurance agency that still offers 3 percent down, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with consumer-friendly credit standards, even on jumbo loans in high-cost areas. But there is a potentially troublesome problem looming for FHA: New loan volume is exploding - tripling in the past 12 months alone - and Congress just handed the agency the responsibility for virtually all the government's efforts to keep economically distressed homeowners out of foreclosure by refinancing their unaffordable loans.
BUSINESS
By Cox News Service | September 21, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said yesterday that it would support allowing two government-sponsored mortgage giants to buy and sell "jumbo" mortgages, a move that could boost housing markets in expensive locales. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. told the House Financial Services Committee that the White House would support giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the power to buy and sell high-value loans. "There is little question that allowing [Fannie and Freddie] to securitize jumbo mortgages would give a short-term lift," Paulson said at a hearing where lawmakers sought suggestions for remedying the mortgage industry's ills.
BUSINESS
By McClatchy-Tribune | March 25, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Home Loan Bank system won permission yesterday to double the amount of capital that it can spend to purchase mortgage bonds in an effort to boost home lending and revive the nation's housing market. The Federal Housing Finance Board approved a plan that would allow the 12 privately financed, government-sponsored Federal Home Loan Banks that the system regulates to purchase about $100 billion in mortgage bonds over the next two years. The home loan banks will snap up more newly issued mortgage bonds, or securities, which are packaged by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The effort supports the sagging housing market by ensuring that there is enough cash in the system, so that lenders are willing to lend and borrowers to borrow.
BUSINESS
By New York Times News Service | March 14, 2008
Almost everything seems to be going wrong for the American economy at once. People are buying less, but most things are costing more. Mortgage rates are rising, the dollar is falling and prices of key commodities such as oil are leaping from one record high to the next. Yesterday, the dollar plumbed new lows against the Japanese yen, the euro and other major currencies; the price of an ounce of gold rose above $1,000 for the first time, and lenders raised home loan rates once again. Government figures showed retail sales fell in February as consumers cut back on cars, furniture and electronics.
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