Mortgage news

News, trends and analysis of the mortgage and credit market

Friday, March 23, 2007

Interest Rate Roundup

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Interest rate roundup

Mortgage rates rose just a tad, if they moved at all. It was the first increase in the Bankrate survey in five weeks. It doesn't count as much as a rebound -- the 30-year fixed is back where it was two weeks ago. The average 30-year fixed rate rose 3 basis points, to 6.19 percent. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The average 15-year fixed, which is a popular option for refinancing, was unchanged at 5.93 percent. On bigger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rose 3 basis points, to 6.44 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The popular 5/1 ARM went up 4 basis points, to 6.08 percent, while the one-year ARM remained unchanged at 5.96 percent. Rates were affected by mildly encouraging news from the real estate front, as housing starts rebounded a bit after a steep plunge in January.

Home equity products

Rates: 8.13 percent (line of credit); 7.92 percent (loan)
Home equity products were barely changed. The average home equity line of credit remained 8.13 percent, and the average fixed-rate home equity loans fell 1 basis point, to 7.92 percent.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Building your credit after bankruptcy

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What's the right thing to do in order to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy? What's critical is to show a consistent payment history on your remaining debts. Making payments on time is important, and automatic bill payments ensure that happens.

Consider getting a secured credit card to help boost your credit score. You want to make sure that the card provider will report your payment history to the credit bureaus, not all secured cards do, and you want a card that only allows you a line equal to the secured deposit. I'd recommend the secured card to improve the mix of accounts on your credit report.

If you're worried about your ability to control spending with a credit card, and a secured card puts a limit on that spending. If the idea of a secured card bothers you, then wait a year or two until you've gotten more comfortable with living within your means and paying for purchases on a cash basis.

To the extent that you can pay down the balance on your outstanding line of credit, it will help you when you go to finance the addition. Depending on where rates are and your credit score, you'll choose between a home equity line, home equity loan or a cash-out refinancing to pay for that addition

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mortgage rates lower while housing oncerns are rising

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Concern over the slowing housing market may be impacting mortgage rates according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, referring to the results of the corporation's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for last week. That survey indicated a general downward drift in rates.

"Mortgage rates eased a little more this week," Nothaft said, "as market participants were concerned over how much drag the slowing housing market may have on economic growth. For instance, last week's release of housing starts for January showed the weakest reading since August, 1997 due to the abundance of homes already on the market to purchase."

"Next week's releases of new and existing home sales should offer a more complete gauge of the strength of the housing industry. In addition, the second estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2006 will be released next week and should further provide insight into what extent the housing market is affecting the economy."

According to the Fannie Mae survey the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.22 percent with an average 0.5 point. The previous week the average was 6.30 percent with 0.4 point. The 15-year FRM was down six basis points to 5.97 with points increasing from 0.4 to 0.5.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.96 percent compared to the previous week when it averaged 6.01. Points were unchanged at 0.5. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM was at 5.49 percent, down from 5.52 percent with points increasing from 0.6 to 0.7.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended February 23 showed a similar pattern. The average contract rate for a 30-year FRM decreased from 6.19 percent to 6.16 percent with points, including the origination fee, up to 1.05 from 0.88. The 15-year FRM averaged 5.84 percent, a drop of 4 basis points while points increased to 1.19 from 1.03.

The one-year ARM was the only product to increase, going from 5.81 to 5.92 percent although points decreased to 0.77 from 0.88.

All interest rates are for 80 percent loan to value mortgages.

Mortgage application volume for the week was up 3.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and with an adjustment for the holiday shortened week from the week ended February 16. On an unadjusted basis activity was down 5.4 percent from the previous week and was up 8.8 percent compared to the same week in 2006.

Applications to refinance continue to lose market share. Last week that market segment represented 43.2 percent of all mortgage applications compared to 44.9 percent the previous week. Adjustable rate mortgage applications were also down a tiny bit, representing 21.1 percent of all applications against 21.2 the week before.