CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2013 |
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.
April 27, 2013 |
Michele and Russell Poland's credit was shot, but they managed to buy their suburban dream home anyway. After a business bankruptcy and a home foreclosure, they turned to a rare option in this era of tightfisted banking - a subprime loan. The Polands paid nearly $10,000 in upfront fees for the privilege of securing a mortgage at 10.9% interest. And they had to raid their retirement account for a 35% down payment. Most borrowers would balk at such stiff terms. But with prices rising, the Polands wanted to snag a four-bedroom home in Temecula near top-rated schools for their 5-year-old son. By later this year, they figure, they'll be able to refinance into a standard loan.
April 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON — Got a beef with your mortgage company or loan servicer? Lots of people do, and thousands of them have been turning to a federal complaint hotline for action — or at least a quick response from the lender. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has opened up its bulging online complaint hotline files to public view, and the contents are startling: Although the CFPB's complaint window is open to various financial disputes — credit cards, student loans, credit reporting agencies, bank loans to consumers — by far the biggest source of complaints is home mortgages.
April 4, 2013 |
Mortgage rates dropped slightly during the first half of this week in reaction to news of slower growth in the economy, with lenders offering the 30-year fixed-rate loan at an average 3.54%, down from 3.57% a week ago, according to Freddie Mac's latest survey. The typical 15-year fixed rate fell from 2.76% to 2.74%, the mortgage financier said, amid indications the rates would continue to ease in the coming week. Quiz: Test your knowledge of home loans This week's Institute for Supply Management indexes showed slower growth in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, noted Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.
March 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - If you buy or own an energy-efficient house, does this make you less likely to default on your mortgage? Is there a connection between the monthly savings on utility costs and the probability that you'll pay your loan on time? A new study by the University of North Carolina suggests that the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Using a sample of 71,000 home loans from across the country that were originated between 2002 and 2012, researchers found that mortgages on homes with Energy Star certifications were on average 32% less likely to default compared with loans on homes with no energy-efficiency improvements.
March 28, 2013 |
In a push to simplify mortgage modifications, federal regulators announced a streamlined process that doesn't require borrowers to prove a hardship. "This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure," Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement announcing the modifications Wednesday. The new modifications, however, would not include reducing the loan balance, a move promoted by housing advocates and others but resisted by DeMarco, who says it would end up costing taxpayers money and would encourage defaults.
March 27, 2013 |
In a push to simplify loan modifications, many borrowers who become 90 days or more past due on mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be offered lowered payments without having to prove hardship, the federal regulator of the home-finance giants said. The streamlined modification program, to be put into effect in July, would reduce monthly payments by about 30% on average, officials said in announcing the program Wednesday. Eligible borrowers would receive letters explaining the modification offer and specifying the reduced payment.
March 17, 2013 |
Invitation Homes bought one of its first fixer-uppers in the San Fernando Valley just last May, a three-bedroom steps from a sought-after school in north Granada Hills. More than 200 homes later, the company's Dodger Blue "for rent" signs are a fixture in the Valley -- markers for a massive Wall Street wager on the housing recovery. Created last year by private equity titan Blackstone Group, Invitation Homes has spent about $3.5 billion buying 20,000 houses in nine U.S. markets, including Southern California.
March 8, 2013 |
The hedge fund billionaires who took over the remains of imploded IndyMac Bank after the mortgage meltdown and converted it into OneWest Bank are exploring the possibility of selling the big Pasadena savings and loan, according to people informed about the process. Discussions have been held with several banks, these people said, although the talks are at only a preliminary stage - "the kick of a tire or two," as one said. OneWest Chairman Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs mortgage executive who led the group that bought IndyMac from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
February 22, 2013 |
Nearly 2 million Americans got out of negative equity positions as home prices rose last quarter, according to new estimates. Negative equity fell to 27.5% of all U.S. homeowners with mortgages in last year's fourth quarter, compared with 31.1% during the same period a year earlier, according to data from real estate website Zillow. "Underwater" homeowners -- those who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth -- have played a counterintuitive role in the housing market's recovery, helping boost home prices in an unexpected way. Rather than walking away from their properties en masse, many of these borrowers have continued paying their home loans, even when they are stuck in high-interest-rate loans.