Dissolving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac may hurt borrowers
Source: The LA Times
What will the proposed elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mean for consumers? In the absence of a government guarantee, experts contend that mortgage rates are likely to rise, and the widespread availability of 30-year mortgages would be jeopardized. Economists at Moody’s Analytics estimate the average mortgage borrower would see interest rates increase by one-half to three-quarters of a percentage point.
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Tax-Free Accounts for Homes
Source: The New York Times
A coalition led by Smart Growth America of Washington is calling for policy that would allow Americans to have a tax-exempt account to save for the down payment on a mortgage, just like tax-free savings accounts for health care and college tuition. Proponents suggest it would encourage Americans to start saving earlier for a down payment and closing costs. Pretax contributions could be made to such an account for up to 10 years.
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Should Home Sellers Overprice or Underprice Real-Estate Listings?
Source: The Wall Street Journal
When setting an asking price, there are two major strategic approaches: overpricing when inventory is low to get higher initial offers, or pricing homes below nearby properties to instigate a bidding war in a market with pent-up demand. But what’s the best method? New research on a behavioral trait called “anchoring” sheds some light on the power of price. Read the full story
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Asking Mom and Dad for Cash to buy that Home
Source: Wall Street Journal
Loans from family members could go the extra mile in making a down payment, but financial experts say parental help is most useful when it comes as a gift rather than a loan during the mortgage application process. A family loan may not be viewed favorably by a lender and could lead to disqualification for a mortgage since the loan is considered unsecured debt. Read the full story.
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Millennials are increasingly optimistic about residential real estate, according to the most-recent Consumer Outlook Survey by Prudential Real Estate. A full 80 percent of respondents ages 25-34 said their perception of the housing market is “favorable” or “somewhat favorable,” representing a 9 percentage point increase from the Q1 study.
Among all respondents, the national survey also found that confidence in real estate and home values jumped sharply, reaching 83 percent in Q2 compared with 77 percent in Q1.Confidence is highest in both South and West regions at 84 percent.
Among all respondents, 70 percent said that finding the right home and community is crucial to family happiness. Millennials were even more emphatic about the emotional side of homeownership: 93 percent favor a home for “more space for my family,” while only 75 percent view it as “financial security to borrow against.”
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Putting borrowers into higher-rate mortgages still occurs, U.S. says
Source: The Los Angeles Times
A lawsuit filed recently by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicates that “upselling” remains a pressing concern due to hidden, backroom ploys. “Upselling” leads mortgage applicants into higher-cost terms that increase the lender’s profits, and this abusive practice was banned by the Federal Reserve Board in 2011. Read the full story
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Homebuyers are facing competition from all-cash buyers on top of rising home prices and low inventory. Such cash buyers include foreign investors and baby boomers with sufficient equity. Tips to compete with these buyers include getting pre-approved, making a competitive bid, considering properties that might be overpriced, and freeing up additional cash.
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