Fannie Mae Lowers Down Payments CNN Money (May 16, 2008)
The government-sponsored mortgage finance company said Friday it will require minimum down payments of between 3% and 5% for all loans that it guarantees. That replaces a December policy that required a higher minimum if the loan was for a home in a zip code with declining real estate prices.
Housing Starts Post Surprise Rise The Wall Street Journal (May 16, 2008)
Home construction turned up unexpectedly in April and showed surprising vigor, making the biggest increase in two years. However, the increase was driven by a surge in multi-family housing (apartment buildings), while single-family starts dropped.
3 Factors That Reduce a Home's Value SmartMoney (May 16, 2008)
Nearby foreclosures, crime and environmental threats can end up costing a lot more than mold in the basement. Living close to a landfill, for example, can knock up to 15% off a home's value.
Suze Orman Weighs In On Housing Crisis Money Magazine (May 16, 2008)
In this 3:45 minute video, Suze Orman shares why she thinks the government needs to step in on behalf of borrowers to ease the mortgage crisis.
Senators Reach Accord on Housing Rescue CNBC (May 16, 2008)
Leaders of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday they have agreed to the underpinnings of a housing rescue plan that, if passed, would create a federal backstop for failing loans.
Credit Problems Spreading Beyond Mortgages: FDIC CNBC (May 16, 2008)
The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said on Friday that another wave of U.S. credit stress is coming, involving non-mortgage loans. She said delinquency rates are rising for construction and development lending as well as for commercial and consumer debt.
Mortgage Rates Decline Slightly CNN Money (May 15, 2008)
Rates on 30-year mortgages eased this week, but remained above 6%, as signs that the overall economy is recovering helped offset ongoing weakness in the housing market, mortgage backer Freddie Mac said Thursday.
Why More Homeowners Aren't Getting Help CNN Money (May 15, 2008)
Drowning in a mortgage you can't afford? Whether or not you get a new one will be decided by someone you've probably never met at a company whose role is barely visible: the mortgage servicer.
Collateral Foreclosure Damage for Condo Owners The New York Times (May 15, 2008)
As foreclosures mount and contributions to building associations shrink, condo owners find themselves nagging each other to pay their assessments and haggling over chores.
Will Upgrading Your Home Help You Sell It? The Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2008)
If you're putting your home on the market anytime soon, you may want to rethink those plans to bump out the kitchen or add an extra bath. During the housing boom, such ambitious projects would recoup as much as 90 cents on the dollar. Not today.
Time for Buyers to Jump Into the Market? The Wall Street Journal (May 14, 2008)
If you're interested in buying a home, now's a good time to look, writes Brett Arends in his column R.O.I. today. He points to data released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors, which shows that in former housing-boom hot spots like Florida, Nevada and California, single-family home prices dropped 20% to nearly 30% in the past year.
Foreclosure Filings Surge 65 Percent AOL Money & Finance (May 14, 2008)
U.S. foreclosure filings reached a record high in April, rising almost 65% over the previous year and putting municipalities at risk by cutting into the value of taxed property, according to a study released Wednesday.
Reversing House Taxes CNBC (May 14, 2008)
Homeowners are trying to get their taxes lowered as their home values go down.
Churches Across USA Help With Mortgage Crisis BusinessWeek (May 14, 2008)
Embracing the religious tradition of helping the poor, pastors around the nation are doubling as financial shepherds for their mortgage-distressed flocks.
Housing Market Primed for Mortgage Fraud ABC News (May 14, 2008)
Subprime loans are a considerable factor influencing mortgage fraud due to their higher failure rate, according to the FBI's 2007 mortgage fraud report.
Sallie Mae Error Plunges Credit Scores AOL Money & Finance (May 14, 2008)
Some borrowers with Sallie Mae student loans may have gotten nasty surprises last week if they checked their Equifax credit scores. Their credit scores, based on their Equifax credit files, had plummeted overnight, thanks to erroneous delinquencies reported by Sallie Mae.
How Credit Cards Boost Gas Prices CNN Money (May 14, 2008)
Card companies take a percentage of sales from stations. As gas prices continue to soar, consumers may have to bear more of the costs.
Bank of America Expects Higher Losses on Home Equity Bloomberg (May 13, 2008)
Bank of America Corp., the nation's biggest consumer bank, said losses on home-equity loans will be even worse than predicted three weeks earlier, adding to evidence that more consumers are falling behind on debts.
Home Prices Continue Sharp Descent CNN Money (May 13, 2008)
Single-family home prices dropped 7.7% in the first quarter in the largest year-over-year decline since the National Association of Realtors began reporting prices in 1982.
Bernanke Says Markets Healing But Still Not Well Reuters (May 13, 2008)
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that emergency Fed liquidity measures have helped relieve strain in financial markets, but the recovery process remains incomplete.
As Gas Prices Spike, Suburban Home Prices Fall The Wall Street Journal (May 12, 2008)
Economist Joe Cortright contends that while predatory lending and subprime mortgages had a hand in today's housing crisis, higher gas prices played a major role -- and will have a much longer-lasting impact on U.S. consumers' home-buying preferences.
4 Credit-Card Protections Shoppers Should Know About SmartMoney (May 12, 2008)
Some credit cards offer extended warranties, make price adjustments and even issue refunds on items that cardholders try (and fail) to replace or return at the store. While nothing new, consumers often overlook these benefits since issuers tuck them away in the "terms and conditions" section of credit-card agreements.
Jumbo Jumble MarketWatch (May 12, 2008)
Back in March, the conforming loan limits were raised for some of the country's most expensive markets. But only in the last week or so have buyers seen the cost of these so-called jumbo conforming mortgages come down to the point where they are within reach of conforming loans.
Fed's Evans Indicates Fed May Cut Rates Further CNBC (May 12, 2008)
Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said that U.S. interest rates are "accommodative" and at the right level given a weak growth outlook, but then indicated that the Fed could still be open to cutting rates further.
5 New Rules for Home Buyers Money Magazine (May 12, 2008)
There's no telling how long the housing crisis will drag on. Here's what you need to know before you start shopping in a rocky market.
A California Couple's Descent Into Foreclosure, Bankruptcy The Wall Street Journal (May 12, 2008)
Sherrie and Kevin Floyd bought a Vallejo, Calif., home for $170,000 in 1995. After refinancing several times, their monthly payments reached an unaffordable $5,600. Here's a look at one couple's descent into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
Housing Bailout: Little Cost But Also Little Help CNN Money (May 12, 2008)
A congressional proposal to have the government help homeowners refinance mortgages they can no longer afford will only help a small fraction of those who are at risk of losing their homes.