March 20th, 2011

Weekly Recap (03/14/11-03/19/11)



Weekly NewspaperSaturday

All the single ladies: Buying far more homes than single men

At one point in time, women weren’t treated as fairly as men when it came to obtaining mortgage financing. While it may seem like the other strides women have made in this country — say, gaining the right to vote — should be considered a greater triumph, it’s important to remember that this lack of available mortgage credit didn’t occur all that long ago.

Up until the early 1980s, single women were at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace due to lack of credit, explains Walter Molony, a spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “But once that improved you saw single women get up to their natural marketplace share, which is roughly one out of five buyers”…


Japanese nuclear crisis affecting mortgage rates & home prices

There probably isn’t one among us who hasn’t, at least for a few moments, sat glued to the T.V. screen, watching in sheer disbelief of the massive destructive which has rocked the country of Japan. Even after dealing with a tsunami and a massive earthquake, the Japanese are continuing to deal with a nuclear crisis that could harm thousands, if not millions.

Yet how could the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan possibly impact home prices here in the U.S.? For the very reason I mentioned above. With our news coverage — local, national and global — locked into the events unfolding in Japan, the fear of a nuclear disaster here in the U.S. is bound to change the way some of us currently feel about our own nuclear facilities and how close is too close to live near one of those plants…


Tighter credit stifles real estate marketplace

If you’re looking at today’s mortgage rates you know that loans never really come with one price. Instead, there are different prices depending on how you structure your loan and how you qualify.

One factor that will influence your mortgage rate is your credit score. The higher your credit score, the greater the chance you’ll qualify for a lower rate. For example, on a scale between 300 and 850, someone with a score of 700 might qualify for a 5 percent mortgage rate while someone with a score of 630 might pay 6.25 percent for the same loan…


Save thousands: Reassess your property taxes

The most-recent Kiplinger Personal Finance Letter explains that far too many of us are overpaying in property taxes. According to the National Taxpayers Union, “As many as 60% of properties in the U.S. are assessed higher than their current value.” This should come as no suprise given the falloff in home prices we’ve experienced over the last few years. What is surprising is that more homeowners haven’t decided to potentially save thousands by having their properties reassessed:

As many as 60% of properties in the U.S. are assessed higher than their current value, according to the National Taxpayers Union. That’s because local governments assess properties, on average, once every two to three years. As we’ve seen, home values can fall a lot over that period of time. So if your property’s value hasn’t been assessed since it tumbled, you’re probably paying too much in taxes…


Conventional loans increasingly slipping away

If you want to know the difference between conventional mortgages and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing, the first item up for discussion is typically the cost of each loan.

For instance, the Wall Street Journal tells us that “conforming mortgages, or those that can be bought by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, commonly require higher down payments than FHA loans require. The catch to an FHA-insured loan is that you’ll pay more in fees”…


Since end of 2010, mortgage rates flat overall

Mortgage rates declined once again last week, slipping back just four basis points. As news shifted from economic recovery to the horrific natural disasters which occurred in Japan, there was word on Friday of a “repatriation” of cash to Japan from selling some holdings of Treasuries, but the overall effect was on interest rates was mild, explains’s VP Keith Gumbinger in the latest issue of our Market Trends Newsletter:’s overall mortgage tracker — our weekly Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (FRMI) — noted that the overall average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined by four basis points (.04%) to finish the week at an average 5.14%. A key component of the first-time homebuyer market, FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped by a lone basis point to land at 4.80%. Hybrid 5/1 ARMs, often the most viable alternative to the traditional 30-year FRM (especially for jumbo buyers) also eased back a little, shedding four hundredths of a percentage point (.04%) for a second consecutive week to close the period at 3.83%.

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About the HSH Blog'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.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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