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Owning A Home Retains Its Allure According to NY Times Poll

Nearly nine in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American dream, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. And they are keen on making sure it stays that way, for themselves and everyone else. Support for helping people in financial distress over housing is higher than support for helping those without a job for many months. Read more.

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Spring Buying Boosts Home Prices

Home prices in most major U.S. cities are rising for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual wave of spring buying. Analysts cautioned that the increases may be temporary and don't signal a rebound for the depressed home market. Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, according to the April report released Tuesday. The sharpest increases were in Washington, D.C. The next-largest were in San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle. Read more.

 

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Freddie Mac Claims Better Days Ahead In Housing

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said mortgage rates will likely remain historical lows of between 4.5 percent and 5 percent for the remainder of the year. Also, he expects more buyers to stop waiting on the sidelines as recent price drops in home prices have improved affordability. Nothaft said consumers’ uncertainty about the economy has caused them to delay home purchases and other “big-ticket items.”  'Some potential buyers who have the means to buy are awaiting clearer signs that home values have firmed,' Nothaft says. But Nothaft says they should be getting their signs in the second half of the year, with projected job gains, and a growing, improved economy. Read more.

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According to WSJ, Kentucky Borrowers Have More Trouble Getting Mortgages

A recent analysis in the Wall Street Journal concludes that Kentucky was one of the most difficult states in 2010 for borrowers to get a loan or refinance. Nationwide, lenders denied 26.8 percent of loan applications in 2010. In Kentucky that number was 31.1 percent of borrowers. The most common reason for denying loans, according the Journal, was 'insufficient collateral'. Read more.

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Be A Nosy Neighbor At Nearby Open Houses

Going to the open house of a home for sale down the block may make you feel like a nosy neighbor. But there are good reasons, beyond sheer curiosity, to take a peek inside.By knowing the selling prices and how properties look inside, homeowners can become more educated about values in their neighborhood, said Karen Goodman, a real-estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in the St. Louis area. Read more.

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U.S. Halts Mortgage Fees To Three Big Banks

The Obama administration on Thursday halted payments to three of the largest U.S. banks until they make “substantial” improvements to their performance in a mortgage assistance program.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Wells Fargo & Co. can no longer receive fees from the program known as the Making Home Affordable Program, until they make changes to ensure their processes work better, the Treasury Department announced. The program seeks to help troubled borrowers avoid foreclosure.

The big banks have been broadly criticized for foreclosure documentation errors, and in many cases, institutions have assigned only a single employee to rapidly approve numerous foreclosures. Read more.

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