Extended! The National Flood Insurance Program
Drip. Drip. Drip.
That might be the sound of Congressional re-authorizations of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which enables homeowners to purchase flood insurance in approximately 21,000 U.S. communities, including many in Virginia.
Since 2008, the NFIP has experienced ten short-term extensions and five temporary shutdowns. The program lapsed twice in 2010 alone.
The NFIP authority was extended as part of H.R. 2112, a technical bill that combined three annual spending bills with a stopgap funding measure to keep the federal government open for business.
The Obama Administration is considering a plan that would allow homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance their homes at today’s (low low) interest rates — a move that could save Americans $85 billion and even reduce the federal deficit.
Many homeowners who would like to refinance cannot because they’re underwater or don’t have the kind of high credit rating lenders are looking for these days.
The details of such a plan haven’t been decided (e.g., can you participate if you’re delinquent?), but the general idea is appealing because it wouldn’t need to use any of the $45.6 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, and that money could instead be put toward reducing the deficit.
Our friends over at the California Association of Realtors have gotten fed up with the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders, and it let them know about it.
CAR sent a public reprimand to Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, J P Morgan, and Wells Fargo, expressing its collective frustration with the lenders’ foot-dragging when it comes to short sales.
This isn’t three years ago, when short sales were new to everyone. Lenders have had plenty of time to get their ducks in a row and deal with borrower requests.
RealtyTrac — as close to foreclosure-data experts as you can get — reports that short sales “soared” in the second quarter.
Q2 2010: Bank-owned or foreclosure properties made up 24% of all sales.
Q2 2011: Bank-owned or foreclosure properties made up 31% of all sales.
And pricing? The average REO/foreclosure property sold for 32% less than one not in foreclosure. And the average sale price for distressed homes dropped 5% from last year.
Is there a silver lining to these numbers? RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio thinks so. These numbers, he said
For those of you who may have clients in the path of Irene (or would just like to provide good information to your clients), House Logic has a number of great articles on hurricane and emergency preparedness that you can share with your clients. They’ll give you step-by step info on how to
Nothing against the big-screen TV or McMansion, but it seems Americans are starting to get the picture: Borrowing above your means is a bad idea. How do we know that?
First, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reports that consumers are using much less of their income for paying debts — in fact, the debt-service ratio is the lowest it’s been since the 1990s.
But wait, there’s more.
Does MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) — the company that turned mortgages into securities for lenders — have the right to foreclose? The decision may be up to the Supreme Court.
There have been a lot of court cases against MERS from homeowners who were being foreclosed upon by the company. The general argument is that MERS lacks the authority to take action.
Because Congress cut federal funds for housing counselors (the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program), people who might have been able to work out a deal with a lender are ending up in foreclosure instead.
Launched by the Bush administration in December 2007, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program had $475 million to provide professional counseling for families facing foreclosure. And the program worked — the Mortgage Bankers Association found that homeowners who had a counselor were more likely to have their loans modified than those who didn’t.
Our friends at the Mortgage Bankers Association found that for the week ending July 29, mortgage applications were up about 7.0% from the week before, likely because of falling interest rates.
The MBA’s Refinance Index was also up — 7.8% (refinances make up about 70% of the mortgage market).
Last stat: Adjustable-rate mortgages made up about 6.6% of the total, up slightly from the week before.
According to the Census Bureau, homeownership in the US has dropped to just under 66% in the second quarter of 2011 — the lowest level since 1998.
That’s down 1% since the same quarter last year, and half a percent lower than Q1.
It’s highest level? About 69.2% in 2004, according to BankRate.com, which also notes: