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February 27th, 2011

Weekly Recap (02/21/11-02/26/11)

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Weekly NewspaperSaturday

Homeowners: Are you ready for tax time?

While there’s still time left to file your taxes, the clock is ticking if you haven’t. It’s pretty well understood that tax time is a season of dread for many Americans, homeowners or otherwise. Whether you consider tax time a breeze, a hassle or one big ball of confusion, every homeowner needs to be well informed as to how their home, and the expenses they pay on it, factor into their tax bill.

HSH.com staff writer Gina Pogol compiled the 10 frequently-asked questions regarding homeowners and their taxes.

Let’s take a look at a few…

Friday

Political unrest good for homebuyers

Mortgage rates have eased back a little bit over the last couple of weeks, and homebuyers and potential refinancers have the restive political climate in the Middle East to thank.

At times of financial or political unrest, investors prefer to get their money out of harm’s way, a happenstance called a “flight to safety.” In this way, investors may transfer money out of riskier investments (or investments in riskier locales) and into places where at least some return is likely (even if it is meager)…

Thursday

Understanding HARP’s stumbling blocks will increase your success

In an effort to help the readers of this blog gain a better understanding into the struggles homeowners have experienced via the HARP program, I asked  mortgage professional Jim Campbell to share some ways homeowners can increase their chances at success. Below is a guest post written by Mr. Campbell:

Since the creation of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in 2009, millions of people have tried to refinance with the hope of lowering their mortgage payment.  However, only about 200,000 homeowners have refinanced through HARP.  So why does it work for some but not others?  I’m going to share an inside perspective on the challenges people run into, to give some insight into what can be done to increase your odds of success…

Wednesday

Mortgage servicers likely to be hit with penalties

Regulators have been threatening to penalize mortgage servicers for months now. Recent reports say they’re one step closer.

Servicers have come under quite a bit of fire recently for how they’ve handled everything from loan modifications to foreclosures. Today, Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said Fannie and Freddie “will be moving forward with servicer penalties… in the coming weeks“…

Tuesday

Home prices ‘really close to being at the bottom again’

“We’re really close to being at the bottom again,” said S&P’s Maureen Maitland, describing the latest home price figures released from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.

According to that data, home prices fell by 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to a year earlier:

“We ended 2010 with a weak report. The National Index is down 4.1% from the fourth quarter of 2009 and 18 of 20 cities are down over the last 12 months. Both monthly Composites and the National Index are moving closer to their 2009 troughs. The National Index is within a percentage point of the low it set in the first quarter of 2009. Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker.” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s…

Monday

Mortgage rates end month-long rise

Mortgage rates took a break from their month-long increase which brought rates to levels unseen since May 2010:

Upward pressure for mortgage interest rates has been quite evident in the market over the past month as the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage moved back to levels last seen back in May 2010. For [last] week at least, rates seem to have found a resting place from their upward climb…

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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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