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October 9th, 2011

Weekly Recap (10/03/11–10/08/11)




Is the proposed change to HARP meaningless?

Over the last month or so, talks have circulated on Capitol Hill concerning an update to the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

HARP’s struggles have been well documented. One fault of the program so far has been that even though the HARP guidelines state borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of up to 125 percent qualify, lenders have been mostly unwilling to refinance loans over 105 percent LTV.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has indicated to lawmakers that an upcoming change to HARP will include raising the LTV above 125 percent…


Fix jobs and housing will follow”

We’ve explained the relationship between jobs and housing on this blog several times before (here and here), but we would be remiss if we didn’t provide further indication of just how important the jobs market is to getting our nation’s housing market back on track.

A simple and interesting graph from National Association of Realtors explains that it’s no coincidence that the strongest local economies are those least affected by the housing downturn…


Concerns over lower loan limits for FHA are overstated

As of mid-September, there were 7.152 million FHA loans outstanding. Of this number, 0.75 percent were for loan amounts above $500,000.

That’s roughly 53,640 loans across the entire U.S., including Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands where FHA loans of as much as $1,094,625 have been available for single-family homes.

Notice that mortgages above $500,000 will still be available in high cost areas with the new loan limits. The actual impact of the new limit schedule will be far less than 0.75 percent of all FHA loans…


Foreclosed in 2009 or 2010? Money may be coming your way

Did you receive a foreclosure notice while making trial payments under HAMP?

Did you provide the proper paperwork for a modification but were still denied?

Were you a victim of the “robo-signing” scandal?

If so, you may qualify for restitution when millions of foreclosure cases are soon reviewed…


Here’s why the FHA Short Refinance program isn’t working

In recent weeks, there has been some speculation of an enhanced federal refinance program that targets underwater borrowers.

However, this “enhanced” version of HARP won’t be the first of its kind. A refinance program which focuses on underwater borrowers already exists.

Like many of the federal home preservation efforts in effect today, the FHA’s Short Refinance plan has too fallen short of its goals…


Mortgage rates move upward

The volatility in the mortgage market has been rather pronounced in recent weeks, including last week following the announcement of the Fed’s “Operation Twist” program.

Yet, after weeks of new record lows, mortgage rates managed a slight tick upwards last week.

Should borrowers be worried?

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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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