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April 24th, 2011

Weekly Recap (04/18/11-04/23/11)




Homebuyers: Don’t forget to save for closing costs

When you’re saving to buy a home, it’s easy to focus all your attention on a home’s price and the loan’s interest rate. However, you can’t forget to factor in closing costs when determining your level of affordability.

What are closing costs?

A good question, one that you may think every homebuyer should know right off the bat. However, the truth is, there are several costs and servicers that factor into your particular loan’s closing costs


Earth Day: Go green with your next mortgage or home repair

If you live in the North East, this past winter’s snowfall and the cool spring temperatures might have you challenging the claims of global warming. But whatever your opinions are on climate change, most of us can agree that protecting the planet today is crucial to preserving it for future generations.

On no day is that concept more celebrated than today, Earth Day.


Nowadays, being environmentally savvy can be relatively simple — you can purchase reusable bags for the grocery store, install CFL bulbs in your home and recycle. Some take it a step further by purchasing environmentally-friendly vehicles and/or making energy-efficient improvements to their homes…


Impact of first-time homebuyer tax credit still being felt

The Treasury Department is now estimating that improper deductions worth more than $500 million have been taken under the government’s tax credit program for first-time homebuyers. This will elate critics of the program and seriously miss an opportunity to help the ailing housing market. That said, I think the program served an important purpose, despite this fraud.

According to a report from J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (the TIGTA in Treasury-speak), we have a lot of creative taxpayers out there who took improper deductions. This is hardly surprising under any circumstances, but in the particular case of the first-time homebuyer tax credit program, it’s a wonder that the results are not far worse because the program was ridiculously complex…


Larger down payments aren’t the answer

Insufficient down payments were called out as one of the many culprits behind the recent housing market collapse. Now with the qualified residential mortgage definition open for comment, down payment requirements for home loans are again a hot topic of discussion.

Federal regulators have proposed setting a 20 percent down payment requirement for QRMs. While discussion is certainly underway of whether a 20 percent down payment is needed or overstated, folks in the industry are frankly scared of what a 20-percent requirement could do to an already-fragile housing market…


FHA: A bigger down payment isn’t necessarily better

The FHA’s new commissioner, Bob Ryan, has been on Capitol Hill recently giving his view regarding the qualified residential mortgage (QRM), the home loan that is destined to play a big role in the mortgage market looking forward.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, lenders can make QRMs or loans which are not QRMs. This is not a light choice, however. The law passed last summer virtually requires lenders to make QRMs. Why? If as a lender you originate a loan which is not a QRM, you must keep a reserve equal to 5 percent of the loan amount…


Mortgage rates at a crossroad — will they rise or fall?

Mortgage rates are coming to a crossroads of sorts — will they rise or taper off moving forward? While their pending direction isn’t quite a coin flip, opposing market forces — which are coming to a head — could draw mortgage rates in either direction, explains the latest issue of HSH.com’s Market Trends Newsletter.

The big influencer in all of this, the force which is likely to be responsible for whichever direction mortgage rates take moving forward, is inflation

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

Our bloggers:

Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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