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March 14, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.13% this week, up from 6.03% last week, according to Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage finance company. Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, rose to 5.60% from 5.47% last week. For five-year adjustable-rate mortgages, rates rose to 5.58% from 5.34%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.14%, up from 4.94% last week. These rates do not include add-on fees known as points. For 30-year and 15-year mortgages, the nationwide average fee was 0.5 point, while five-year mortgages carried a 0.6-point average fee and one-year mortgages had a 0.7-point average.
April 15, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
With lawmakers showing little enthusiasm for an ambitious proposal by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to overhaul the byzantine U.S. tax code, Congress has to decide what to do about dozens of temporary tax breaks that expired Dec. 31. Among them is an exemption for forgiven mortgage debt that's an essential part of a broader federal effort to solve a nagging problem, namely the spate of defaults caused by the recession....
October 24, 2008 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04% this week, down from 6.46% last week and the lowest since the week of Sept. 18. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular with people who are refinancing, fell to 5.72% from 6.14%. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 6.06% from 6.14%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 5.23% from 5.16%. These rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for 30-year, 15-year and five-year mortgages averaged 0.6 point.
April 13, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Renewal of important expired federal tax benefits for homeowners took a major step forward recently, but the route to final congressional approval is beginning to look longer - and potentially bumpier - than previously expected. Here's why. The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved a package of tax code goodies that includes a two-year reauthorization of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, plus similar extensions for deductions of mortgage insurance premiums and energy-saving improvements to homes.
January 18, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Rates on 30-year mortgages dropped for a third straight week to their lowest since the summer of 2005 as worries intensified about the current economic slowdown. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.69% this week, down from 5.87% last week. Rates on 15-year mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, fell to 5.21% from 5.43%. Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages declined to 5.4% from 5.63%. Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 5.26% from 5.37%.
July 25, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages surged to 6.63% this week, up sharply from 6.26% last week and the highest level since last August. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rose to 6.18% from 5.78%. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 6.16% from 5.80%, while rates on one-year ARMs jumped to 5.49% from 5.10%. These rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The fee for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 0.6 of a point nationwide this week.
November 19, 2009 | E. Scott Reckard
Despite the lowest mortgage rates since May, applications for loans to finance home purchases fell again last week, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted total of applications for purchase loans decreased 4.7% in the week that ended Friday compared with the week before, marking the sixth straight weekly decline. Refinance applications fell 1.4% last week. Rates for traditional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped below 5% in mid-September, helping trigger a mini-boom in mortgage applications, particularly for refinance loans.
March 30, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Can you be charged interest on your mortgage even after you've fully paid it off? Can the meter keep running when you owe the bank nothing - your principal balance is zero? Surprise! Much to the chagrin of large numbers of home sellers and refinancers, the answer for years has been yes. If your loan was insured by the Federal Housing Administration and you paid it off before maturity, at closing you'd be expected to cough up a full month's interest, no matter what day of the month you actually settled.
March 26, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard and Walter Hamilton
Putting to rest one of its biggest remaining headaches, Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay $9.5 billion to settle claims by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government-sponsored mortgage finance giants had demanded compensation from the Charlotte, N.C., bank for losses on securities backed by faulty loans issued during the housing boom. The bank said the settlement, announced Wednesday, resolves all claims against BofA by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that regulates Fannie and Freddie.
March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
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.
March 16, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - The economy may be growing at a frustratingly slow pace, but one piece of it is booming: American homeowners' equity holdings - the market value of their houses minus their mortgage debts - soared by nearly $2.1 trillion last year to $10 trillion. Big numbers, you say, and hard to grasp. But look at it this way: Thanks to rising prices and equity levels, about 4 million owners around the country last year were able to climb out of the financial tar pit of the housing bust - negative equity.
March 14, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Three community groups sued Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, demanding he restore more than $350 million in mortgage settlement funds that were used to plug state budget holes two years ago. The money - from California's slice of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement with banks in 2012 - was supposed to fund housing counseling and foreclosure relief programs. But with the state facing a $16-billion budget deficit that spring, Brown diverted it to the state's general fund and to pay down interest on housing bonds.
March 13, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
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.
March 13, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
The U.S. Justice Department used faulty statistics to overstate its mortgage-fraud prosecution efforts and ranked mortgage-fraud last in its list of priorities despite public pledges to combat these types of crimes, an internal watchdog said Thursday.  The 52-page report by the Justice Department's inspector general found that for the fiscal years of 2009 through 2011, the federal law enforcement agency's effort to prosecute mortgage fraud...
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