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BUSINESS
September 24, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Interest rates for fixed-rate home loans were unchanged for solid borrowers during the week that ended Wednesday, according to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac. But other surveys are showing that rates are declining again and hitting all-time lows. Freddie Mac said Thursday that its national survey showed lenders offering non-jumbo loans at an average 4.37% for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 3.82% for a 15-year fixed loan, identical to the rates in the previous week's survey.
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BUSINESS
April 27, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Are you on the home-buying sidelines this spring because you think you won't be able to qualify for a mortgage? Do you know what sort of FICO credit scores are being accepted by lenders at the moment - they're lower than they were a year ago - and whether yours could now be good enough? You may be part of the surprisingly large crowd of folks who fear the home-loan unknown. A new national consumer survey found that 56% of potential purchasers of homes say they're out of the market because they don't want to face the possibility of rejection by lenders.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
The mortgage industry's output of new loans is at the lowest point in 14 years, according to estimates from a trade publication.  Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday that even in the depths of the financial crisis, mortgage lenders were busier than during the first quarter of 2014. One factor is the end of a refinance boom as interest rates have risen well off their record lows. But though the rates are still great by historical measures, mortgages written for home purchases have been weak as well, as sales of new and previously owned homes have slowed.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Fewer home sales and rising interest rates have led to the nation's lowest level of mortgage lending in 14 years. Just $235 billion in home loans were started in the first three months of the year, the lowest figure recorded in a quarter since 2000, according to data from trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance. That's down nearly a quarter from the end of 2013 and more than half from the same period last year, when the housing market was heating up, especially in Southern California.
BUSINESS
September 5, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Since 2007, 5.66 million troubled homeowners have had their mortgages modified and the vast majority of them took place outside the Obama administration's signature foreclosure rescue program, a new report shows. Hope Now -- a Washington group composed of counselors, mortgage companies and investors -- said in its report Wednesday that since 2007 a total of 4.62 million homeowners had received so-called "proprietary" loan modifications -- meaning loans that are not offered through the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program.
BUSINESS
June 4, 2009 | E. Scott Reckard
Applications for home loans fell more than 16% last week as interest rates rose, according to a Mortgage Bankers Assn. survey released Wednesday. As expected, a drop-off occurred among people seeking to refinance their homes, because the benefits of refinancing are driven by rate trends. The trade group said the average rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 5.25% from 4.81% a week earlier -- the biggest weekly increase since October.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - In the last century, Californians have said yes to every request for money to help veterans buy homes. Since 2000, they have signed off on $1.4 billion in bonds for that purpose. But most of that money remains untapped. In fact, the state's home loan program for veterans, run by the agency known as Cal-Vet, is doing less and less each year to help servicemen and women returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Yet there's more money available for the program than in the agency's annual operating budget.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Things are looking up for homebuilders, who are in their best collective mood in six years, according to an index from the National Assn. of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. In September, a gauge of builder sentiment rose to 40 from 37 in August, reaching the highest reading since June 2006. The index has risen for five straight months. A measure of their expectations for the next six months rose to 51, up from 43 to another six-year high. Any reading above 50 represents positive feelings about the housing market for new, single-family homes.
BUSINESS
January 9, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Mortgage rates leveled off in familiar territory this week, home finance giant Freddie Mac said, with lenders offering 30-year fixed loans to solid buyers at an average of 4.51%, down from 4.53% last week. Fifteen-year fixed mortgages, popular with homeowners trying to pay off their housing debts, averaged 3.56%, up from 3.55% last week, Freddie Mac said in its weekly report, issued Thursday. The average start rate for adjustable mortgages that are fixed for the first five years was 3.15%, up from 3.05%.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Accusing Wells Fargo & Co. of reneging on a sweeping mortgage-modification deal, a lawyer for troubled homeowners is trying to reopen a lawsuit involving risky "pick-a-pay" loans written during the housing bubble. Legal filings last week said Wells had failed to provide wide-ranging reductions of loan balances to delinquent borrowers, as it had promised two years ago, when it settled a combined national class-action suit. A bank spokeswoman disputed the filing, calling it riddled with errors.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
The mortgage industry's output of new loans is at the lowest point in 14 years, according to estimates from a trade publication.  Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday that even in the depths of the financial crisis, mortgage lenders were busier than during the first quarter of 2014. One factor is the end of a refinance boom as interest rates have risen well off their record lows. But though the rates are still great by historical measures, mortgages written for home purchases have been weak as well, as sales of new and previously owned homes have slowed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
What a fantastically ironic coincidence that on the same day the Supreme Court struck down a law limiting campaign contributions because money does not automatically corrupt politicians, we received news of the death of Charles Keating, the very poster boy for the corrupting influence of money on elected officials. Today in his opinion for the majority in the case pitting an Alabama businessman and the Republican National Committee against the Federal Election Commission, Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated the court's appalling view that money is the equivalent of free speech, and Congress has no business imposing limits on speech.
BUSINESS
March 17, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
California victims of alleged foreclosure abuses will get $268 million in relief from a $2.1-billion national settlement with Ocwen Financial Corp., the nation's largest non-bank provider of mortgage customer service. Ocwen broke state law by improperly denying loan modifications, failing to honor modifications granted by prior servicers and charging unauthorized fees, according to the California Department of Business Oversight. "Californians should not lose their homes because of deceptive and poorly executed mortgage servicing practices," Commissioner of Business Oversight Jan Lynn Owen said Monday in a news release.
BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - Congressional efforts to shut down bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took a significant step forward with bipartisan agreement from key senators on a plan to overhaul the housing finance system. The proposal released Tuesday would slowly shrink the companies and replace them with a scaled-back government guarantee for mortgages. Details are expected to be disclosed in the coming days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee about 60% of existing mortgages, were seized by the federal government in 2008 as they neared bankruptcy from bad loans they guaranteed during the subprime housing boom.
BUSINESS
February 27, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Seven people were arrested Wednesday in what authorities say was a mortgage modification scam that defrauded more than 1,550 distressed Inland Empire homeowners from 2007 to early 2010. In a news release , the California attorney general's office said the victims were illegally charged upfront fees and assured falsely that lawyers would work to lower their loan payments with a money-back guarantee. The 24-count complaint , filed Monday in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, accuses the defendants of grand theft, conspiracy and tax evasion.
BUSINESS
February 27, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Here's some welcome news for first-time and lower-income mortgage borrowers: Home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are getting easier to come by. The average credit score on FHA-backed loans declined steadily in 2013, Inside Mortgage Finance reported Wednesday. The trade publication said FHA borrowers' average debt-to-income ratio - a measure of how much of their earnings are needed to keep up with housing and other debt payments - rose noticeably as well. That's another sign that banks have eased up a bit. QUIZ: How much do you know about mortgages?
REAL ESTATE
March 21, 2004 | From Times wire reports
Good news for home buyers: U.S. mortgage lenders are adding funds to their loan portfolios because of continuing low interest rates. The Mortgage Bankers Assn. said Monday that lenders are expected to make $2.5 trillion in new loans this year, 25% higher than forecast earlier. The U.S. mortgage industry last year issued a record volume of home loans -- many for refinancing -- totaling as much as $3.8 trillion, the trade group said.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Countrywide Financial Corp.'s ex-president and at least nine other former executives of the giant mortgage lender are starting a company that will initially focus on buying home loans on behalf of private investors. Stanford Kurland, who left Calabasas-based Countrywide in 2006, is leading the management team of Private National Mortgage Acceptance Co., or PennyMac, according to the company's website. It plans to buy loans "from financial institutions seeking to reduce their mortgage exposures" in response to "the dislocations in the U.S. mortgage market."
BUSINESS
February 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
BUSINESS
February 6, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Weaker signals from the housing markets sent mortgage rates lower for the fifth week in a row, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.23%, down from 4.32% a week ago. The rate is the lowest for Freddie Mac's weekly survey since November, and down from 4.53% at the beginning of the year.   The average for 15-year fixed mortgages fell as well, from 3.4% to 3.33%, Freddie Mac said Thursday. The start rates for variable home loans also fell.
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