February 11, 2013 - Mortgage interest rates are settling back down after a brief rise at the beginning of January. Federal Reserve policy makers have commented that asset purchases may need to be reduced at some point in 2013, but they are still sticking with their pledge to keep interest rates at reduced levels into 2014. When the asset purchases do stop, however, interest rates increases may not be far behind.
January 5, 2013 - 2013 has begun with a slight increase in mortgage rates, as relief that the fiscal cliff has been postponed has increased stock purchases. As money leaves bonds, interest rates rise and mortgage rates increase as well. This increase is most likely a temporary issue because the Federal Reserve has committed to keeping interest rates low until 2014.
May 1, 2012- Interest rates continue to stay low in 2012, with the Federal Reserve making good on its promise to keep interest rates low through. Home buyers and refinancing home owners will see rates just below the 4% mark for 30 year fixed rate loans for many months to come. But this era of low rates could come to an end if external factors such as the European crisis or internal factors such as the US government budget deficit have a negative impact on mortgage rates.
September 6, 2011 - The Federal Reserve has pledged to keep interest rates low through 2013 and that should keep mortgage rates low for the at least the next two years. However, the Federal Reserve does not control mortgage rates directly, only the short term rates such as the discount rate. So if you are looking to lock in some of the lowest mortgage rates since the 1950s, do not expect that mortgage rates will definitely be low for these next two years. Lock in a low rate now.
August 8, 2011 - Mortgage Rates Hit New Record Low - Mortgage rates hit record lows today with 30 year fixed rates approaching 4.00% on the freefall in the stock market. Homeowners with mortgage rates of 5% or higher should lock in to these new low rates and refinance immediately. Home buyers who have a house picked out but have not locked in a mortgage rate yet should lock their interest rate immediately. While the stock market may continue to go down, today's downgrade of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by Standard & Poors could cause mortgage rates to head back up even while treasury bond rates continue to decrease.
June 12, 2011 - Will End of QE2 Mean Higher Mortgage Rates? The Federal Reserve is scheduled to end over $600 billion of quantitative easing at the end of this month. While the Fed will still continue to reinvest proceeds of funds received (e.g. interest on the bonds it owns), there is a concern that when the easing stops mortgage rates could start to increase. While rates remain extremely low, mortgage borrowers looking to purchase or refinance should be careful not to get caught in a short term mortgage rate spike as quantitative easing ends.
October 25, 2010 - Mortgage Rates Still at Record Lows Mortgage interest rates continue at their lowest levels on record, with 30 year fixed rate mortgages at 4% or lower. While home buyer demand is still weak, home owners who qualify can refinance yet again. While the Federal Reserve is providing additional quantitative easing (QE), the weaker dollar may prevent the Fed's actions from causing rates to go lower. We advise home owners to refinance now if they can save money now.
October 4, 2010 - New FHA Premiums take effect Home buyers and refinancing home owners starting today will pay a 1% up-front mortgage insurance premium at closing instead of 2.25%, but the bad news is that the monthly mortgage insurance premium payment goes up.
September 6, 2010 - FHA Launches Short Refinance Program. HUD announced good news for the millions of home owners who owe more than their home is worth. If they can convince their existing mortgage lender to accept a lower payoff amount (similar to a short sale), home owners can refinance with the FHA program into today's low fixed rates. Details at CMB Home Solutions here.
August 26, 2010 - Mortgage Interest Rates Hit New Record Lows. Freddie Mac announced that the average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage reached a new record low of 4.36%.
July 1, 2010 - Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended to September 30 For Existing Contracts. Home buyers with contracts in place by April 30 who did not close by July 1 were given an extension until September 30 by Congress.
May 20, 2010 - Rates plummet as stock market tumbles. Mortgage rates have decreased back below 5% again for the first time in a number of months. Home buyers and refinancing home owners get one more chance to lower their mortgage rates and payments.
March 2, 2010 - Home buyers must have contracts signed by April 30, 2010 for Home Buyer Tax Credit - While home buyers need to close on their purchase by June 30, valid contracts must be in place by April 30, 2010. Any contract dated after that date will not be eligible for the home buyer tax credit.
2010 Starts out with Race for the Home Buyer Tax Credit - Home buyers now have until April to sign a purchase contract and June 30 to close on their purchase and still qualify for the home buyer tax credit. With great deals on short sales and foreclosures and mortgage rates still relatively low, this spring may be the best opportunity to buy a home in a generation.
Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended - November 4, 2009 - Great news for home buyers: The home buyer tax credit has been extended until April 2010 and the credit is now available to home buyers who are selling an existing home. First time home buyers can get up to a $8,000 credit and existing home owners can get a credit up to $6,500 to buy a new home.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Increase HARP loan to values from 105% to 125% - August 6, 2009 - Responding to the need to help borrowers who owe more than 105% of the value of their homes, the two mortgage agencies recently announced that they will increase the limits of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) from 105% to 125% loan to value. This step, just rolling out now, will extend the program to possibly several million qualified borrowers whose only impediment to refinancing has been the value decrease in their homes.
Mortgage Lenders Begin Offering 105% Refinance Program - June 30, 2009. Mortgage lenders are finally beginning to offer 105% refinance loans for both home owners and even for investor owned properties, but the program is off to a slow start as lenders navigate the underwriting details set up by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for borrowers to qualify for this program. Interest rates, which had spiked up earlier in the month, have started to level off and fixed rates below 5% are available again.
105% Refinance Program Takes Off as Freddie Mac Starts Their Relief Refinance Mortgage - May 12, 2009. Just as Fannie Mae got the DU Refi Plus program off the ground to help homeowners underwater with negative equity to refinance their mortgages, Freddie Mac has followed with a similar program called the Relief Refinance. For both programs, if the loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and there is no mortgage insurance on the loan, then borrowers can refinance up to 105% of the current value of their home including closing costs. Borrowers can not pay off a second mortgage with either mortgage program but second mortgages can be re-subordinated (see April 21 article below) and the second mortgage can be any amount. Because the rules are extremely complicated to determine if borrowers qualify, MortgageAlmanac has set up a help request form and is offering free pre-qualifications - just click Here.
Second Mortgage Lenders Urged to Work With Borrowers Refinancing First Mortgages Under the 105% Refinance Program - April 21, 2009. The Obama Administration this past week urged second mortgage lenders to allow borrowers refinancing their first mortgages to resubordinate their second mortgage. A resubordination is required whenever a borrower takes out a new first mortgage but wants or needs to keep the existing second mortgage in place. Traditionally, second mortgage lenders will allow resubordinations but only if the borrower can show that they have equity in their property. Many homeowners attempting to refinance under the new 105% refinance program also have second mortgages. The 105% refinance program does not allow borrowers to combine a first and a second mortgage, so many borrowers with second mortgages have to ask permission of the second mortgage holder to resubordinate their loan. MortgageAlmanac.com's free pre-qualification service can help you determine if you need to resubordinate your second, modify it or both. To get started, click here.
105% Refinance Program Rolls Out Today: Submit Your Application Now- April 6, 2009. The 105% refinance option for Fannie Mae loans was rolled out today and borrowers can begin submitting applications. Borrowers with a first mortgage owned by Fannie Mae can apply for the Fannie Mae DU Refi Plus refinance loan program. Fixed rates are only slightly higher than standard fixed rates, but the real benefit to this program is the ability to refinance your first mortgage up to 105% of your existing home's value without mortgage insurance if you did not have mortgage insurance with your original loan. This program has a lot of additional details but if you qualify this program is a better option than a loan modification. Find out for free if you qualify for the 105% Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance program by submitting your help request here.
105% Refinance Program: What About Mortgage Insurance? - March 9, 2009. If your rate is at 6% or higher and you want to refinance with the new 105% refinance program down to 5%, you might think this loan program will save you money. But it all depends on your mortgage insurance situation. Loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require mortgage insurance if your first mortgage is greater than 80% of the value of your home (see our article: Facts about Mortgage Insurance). Fortunately, this new 105% program has special exceptions for refinancing homeowners. If you did not have mortgage insurance when you originally purchased the property or last refinanced, then you do not need to obtain this coverage for the 105% refinance program. That is key because mortgage insurance payments have skyrocketed in the past year to the point where it might actually result in a higher monthly payment when you refinance and add new mortgage insurance costs. For a free analysis to determine if you qualify for the 105% refinance program and if you will need mortgage insurance or not, click here.
Refinance or Modify? - March 6, 2009. The new Obama mortgage program gives borrowers opportunities to either refinance through special Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac programs or to modify their loans through the new Housing Stability program. Not sure what is best for your situation or what you can qualify for? For a free analysis to determine the best program for your needs, click here.
Can you refinance if you owe more than your home is worth with the new mortgage plan? - March 5, 2009. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced refinance loan programs designed to help borrowers who are underwater with their mortgage. The new program allows borrowers to refinance their first mortgage up to 105% of the value of their home, and second mortgage loans can be any amount on top of that. The announcement included exact details about maximum loan to value, mortgage insurance requirements and income documentation issues. To apply for one of these loans, borrowers can go to any new lender directly or work with a mortgage broker. The rules to qualify for this refinance program are complicated, and many borrowers who do not qualify for this program may qualify for a loan modification instead. For a free pre-qualification to see if you qualify for this refinance program or for a modification, click here
Loan Modification and Refinance Plan Details Announced Today - March 4, 2009. The specific guidelines for helping home owners to modify or refinance their loans were published today by the Obama Administration. The big news is that the maximum loan amount to qualify is $729,250. Also, specific rules for qualifying were established. Borrowers also do not need to be in default to qualify. Lenders will need several weeks to implement the plan, but borrowers should get ready now. For a free pre-qualification to see if you qualify for a loan modification, click here
Obama Administration Refinance Plan Includes Help for Borrowers Who Are Current But Underwater - March 2, 2009. In addition to helping borrowers who are behind on their mortgages or in danger of losing their home to foreclosure, the new mortgage plan includes help for borrowers who have been paying on time but have seen the value of their homes drop. Borrowers will be able to refinance their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan up to $417,000 even if their loan amount is up to 105% of the value of their home. This will help a lot of borrowers refinance into today's low rates. Unfortunately, the plan will not help borrowers whose homes have lost substantial value. In many parts of the country, home values have fallen by 30% to 50% over the past two years, putting their loan to value at 125% to 150% of current value or more.
Final Mortgage Modification and Refinance Plan Details Expected by March 4 - February 23, 2009. The Treasury Department expects to release final guidelines for lenders and loan servicers by March 4, 2009. While the program is voluntary, lenders are given an incentive to modify loans and borrowers who qualify are also given a $1,000 per year reduction in principal. Any home owners delinquent on their loans should be ready to move quickly after the March 4 deadline either directly with their lender or with the help of an attorney, a loan modification professional or a non-profit counseling agency.
Obama Administration announces Housing Affordability and Stability Plan - February 18, 2009. The Obama administration today announced its plan to help borrowers keep in their homes through loan modification programs and additional help for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The plan includes loan modification plans and is scheduled to be rolled out March 4, 2009. Details of the plan are available here. To find out if you qualify for a loan modification and if so how much your savings could be, complete our help request form here.
Bank Bailout Plan for Home Owners Coming Next - February 17, 2009. The first priority of the Obama administration, the stimulus bill, was signed into law today. The next step is for the Treasury Department to finalize a plan to bail out banks and provide help to home owners. While there are no details of the plan yet, it is anticipated that lenders will be given specific instructions as to how to complete needed loan modifications and prevent as many foreclosures as possible. For borrowers in need of immediate relief, click on "Loan Modification" above and complete the help request form to learn about options for your specific situation.
Housing Proposals Under Debate Now - February 4, 2009. The Obama administration, Congress, the FDIC and the Federal Reserve are all working to create a set of solutions to help struggling home owners as quickly as possible. Most proposals include provisions to modify the terms of existing loans to create new payments and possibly even lower principal balances. Mortgage Almanac will update with exact details as programs details are released.
Mortgage Update - January 8, 2009. Interest rates have plummeted to record lows after the Federal Reserve not only lowered interest rates but also pledged to purchase mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Fed's actions should keep interest rates in a target range of 4% to 5% for most of 2009. Right now, a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with zero point is at 5% or less so any borrower with an interest rate of 5.5% or higher may benefit from refinancing. Home owners can take advantage of these rates to lower their payments. Home buyers will find they can get much more house for the dollar with these new lower rate.
Mortgage Update - November 20, 2008. FHA and USDA still going strong. Despite the pullback in lending, the FHA and USDA rural housing programs still provide mortgages to borrowers with
Mortgage Update - October 15, 2008. Loan modification options are now available to more home owners. Government assistance to banks has come with a requirement that these lenders work with home owners to modify their existing mortgage loans so that they can stay in their homes with an affordable payment. MortgageAlmanac has added loan modification help. To find out if you can modify your loan, take a look at our loan modification information center where you can find out how to lower your mortgage payments or how to sell your home with a short sale if you need to move but have negative equity.
Mortgage Update - October 4, 2008. On Friday, October 3, the President signed into law the mortgage bailout package that could cost up to $700 billion. If the government goes through with its plan to purchase loans at a discount, this could mean that nearly $2 trillion in loans could be either purchased or guaranteed by the US government. What does this mean for borrowers? Any home owner whose loan is purchased or guaranteed by the government will be eligible to stop pending foreclosures, modify their loan terms or benefit from a short sale or principal write-down. In other words, real relief is on the way. How do home owners take advantage of this program? MortgageAlmanac is tracking progress of the bailout programs and will have further updates as updates occur. Borrowers can either try to work out a solution themselves or hire a loan modification specialist (many of whom are loan officers, mortgage brokers, attorneys and other experienced professionals) to get them the best possible deal. Our suggestion: as with all industries, if you hire a professional be careful when selecting a professional. Most reputable companies will review your situation at no charge. Some charge a small processing fee of $100 to $700 to complete the modification package requested and most charge a larger fee when the transaction is completed successfully.
Mortgage Update - September, 2008. The US Government announced on Sunday, September 7 that it was taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before it both companies became insolvent. The FHFA will take over Fannie and Freddie under a so- called conservatorship, replacing their chief executives and eliminating their dividends. What does this mean for mortgage borrowers? According to the US Treasury, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will open for business as usual and mortgage rates should start getting a little better.
Mortgage Update - August, 2008. President Bush signed the new housing bill on July 30. Part of it takes effect October 1 and part takes effect January 1, 2009. What does the bill mean for home borrowers? See our housing act summary and what it means for home buyers, refinancing home owners and even for seniors and reverse mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been shored up with government financial help, while the FHA program has added new programs. Loan limit increases that were temporary for 2007 have been made permanent starting in January. The new law takes effect October 1, but it will take HUD and FHA lenders at least a little while before they can make all of these new programs available to borrowers.
Mortgage Almanac is here to help. If you need a mortgage to buy or refinance, we can help guide you through these difficult times. When you submit a loan request to Mortgage Almanac, you are assigned an experienced representative who will guide you from start to finish by assessing your needs, locating the best lenders, finding the best loan program and then obtaining the best rates and lowest costs available. Mortgage Almanac has been helping home buyers and refinancing home owners with objective mortgage advice since 1995. You can also search through our state by state listings for listings of lenders and brokers in your area.
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