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September 11th, 2011

A recap of last week’s stories (09/05/11-09/10/11)



Flipping CalenderSaturday

Why I decided to walk away

Why does a homeowner simply decide to walk away from their home, their mortgage?

If you’ve ever been curious to how a homeowner comes to that decision, you’ll want to read this story. HSH.com contributing writer and personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox talked with one homeowner who agreed to share his story.

Here’s an excerpt from Lynnette’s article “Why I decided to walk away.”


Poll: Is another refinance effort what we really need?”

President Obama revealed no specific details to another apparent refinance effort during a speech he made to Congress yesterday:

“To help responsible home owners, we’re going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent,” Obama said during his speech. Such a move would “put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocketbook and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices,” he added. 

While I didn’t expect to hear any details from the president regarding this refinance plan, I was actually surprised to hear that some experts are saying there are a lot of other things we need besides another refinance effort.


Who is responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac losses?

News that the government is suing 17 major lenders hardly comes as a surprise.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)–the regulator that oversees the now-nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–faces massive losses, and it follows that in a litigious world a variety of issues would wind up in court.

You might think the lawsuits would involve allegations concerning loans sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that didn’t pan out because applications were somehow hinky, or that mortgage rates were somehow impacted.

Instead, the suits involve claims which stem from the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as Wall Street investors.


Is a foreclosure making you sick?

High levels of stress can lead to health problems. Knowing that, it’s no big surprise that foreclosures are putting homeowners’ health at risk.

According to WebMD, “Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.”

How sick are foreclosures making us?

Two economists have worked together to determine how foreclosures are affecting the health of homeowners in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country…


New appraisal standards to impact mortgage rates

It’s official. We’ve now nationalized the appraisal process.

The idea under the Uniform Appraisal Dataset is that all appraisals should have a common set of descriptors so we’re all on the same page when someone says a “brick” house is in “average” condition.

At first, this seems like some sort of bureaucratic malarkey, but the new rules for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA actually have a very important purpose:

They may allow us to unearth faked, falsified and incompetent appraisals and thus prevent loan fraud, illegal flipping and bad mortgage investing. And such improvements in the valuation process might actually lead to lower mortgage rates by removing excess risk from the marketplace…


”Mortgage rates mostly unchanged from record lows”

Will a change in the season bring a change to the markets? With summer unofficially coming to a close after today, we won’t have to wait long to see.

Despite the disasters, both natural and market-related, mortgage rates managed to hold onto record lows last week.

HSH.com’s broad-market mortgage tracker–our weekly Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (FRMI)–found that the overall average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased by a two basis points (0.02%) from last week, moving to an average of 4.49 percent.

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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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