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 |
The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policies, designed to stimulate the economy, have cost savers about $758 billion since the end of the Great Recession, according to a study released Tuesday. Inflation and low returns on deposits have led bank customers to lose more than $100 billion in purchasing power in each of the last five years, said MoneyRates.com, which provides consumers with information about bank rates, investing and personal finance. The Fed's benchmark short-term rate has been near zero since late 2008 as central bank policymakers tried to battle the financial crisis and Great Recession.
April 3, 2014 |
Barnes & Noble Inc. shares were sharply lower Thursday after a key investor said it was slashing its stake in the bookstore chain. Barnes & Noble, which operates 663 stores in 50 states, announced Thursday that Liberty Media Corp. had decided to sell about 90% of its shares of the company. Liberty Media, which had been considered one of the chain's biggest backers, bought a 17% stake in 2011. After the sale, it will hold less than 2%. Barnes & Noble shares were down $3.31, or 15%, to $18.80 at 10:30 a.m. PDT. The news comes as Barnes & Noble tries to navigate through the rapidly changing world for books and media.
April 3, 2014 |
Mortgage rates leveled off early this week, with the average for a 30-year fixed loan at 4.41%, a smidge above the 4.4% recorded a week earlier, Freddie Mac said. Freddie's survey of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers, released Thursday, showed that the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage rose from 3.42% to 3.47%. The survey's margin of sampling error is 5 basis points, or 0.05 of a percentage point, according to Freddie Mac spokesman Chad Wandler, which means that from a practical viewpoint this week's results were unchanged.
March 25, 2014 |
Sales of recently built homes fell back in February, as harsh weather and high costs held back buyers. New-home sales dropped 3.3% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to drop after an unexpected surge in January. Economists, though, anticipated a slightly better showing. The median forecast for those polled by Bloomberg News was for an annual rate of 445,000. January's rate was also revised downward from 468,000 to 455,000. Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?
March 13, 2014 |
Mortgage rates edged higher early this week, with Freddie Mac's survey showing lenders offering 30-year fixed-rate loans to solid borrowers at 4.37%, up from 4.28% a week earlier. The average rate for a 15-year fixed home loan rose from 3.32% to 3.38%, according to Thursday's report , and the start rate also rose for variable-rate loans with an initial five years at a fixed rate. Analysts said a positive report on employment late last week contributed to the trend. The economy added a better-than-expected 175,000 jobs in February despite harsh weather, the government said, and figures for the two previous months each were revised upward by 25,000.