April 25, 2014 |
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2014 |
South Bay Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi on Friday announced a bill designed to take the financial heat off Hermosa Beach voters who are being asked to decide whether to allow oil drilling in their city for the first time in more than 80 years. The legislation would allow the city to take out a no-interest loan from the state to help pay off a $17.5-million penalty the city would face if voters in the beach town reject an oil drilling proposal. The assemblyman said he wanted Hermosa Beach residents to vote "without the gun of this financial penalty to their head.
April 25, 2014 |
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.
April 23, 2014 |
Even though the recent financial crisis is barely in the rearview mirror, risk is starting to build once again in both the U.S. mortgage and housing markets. Contrary to the prevailing view that only borrowers with pristine credit records can get a mortgage these days, many risky loans are still being made. A new index published by the International Center on Housing Risk at the American Enterprise Institute measures this risk month by month, based on about three-quarters of all home-purchase loans extended across the country.
April 22, 2014 |
A new report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is warning borrowers of a catch that is pushing private student loans into default even if the loan is in good standing. The federal consumer agency said that borrowers complain of being blindsided when their student loans automatically default when co-signers -- usually parents or grandparents -- die or fall into bankruptcy. When this happens, lenders demand that the full amount be paid immediately.
April 12, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The U.S. made clear this week that it wants the International Monetary Fund to be the emergency lender for countries like Ukraine, but American lawmakers have persistently refused to give the IMF the additional financial firepower that it has sought. That tension was evident in meetings concluding this weekend of the IMF, the World Bank and representatives of the Group of 20 major economies: Washington's long delay in ratifying changes to the IMF's so-called quota system came under fire from finance ministers and other officials of many countries.