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A deserving military veteran will receive a Champion home built at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions by candidates, delegates, elected officials and volunteers


US new-home sales rose at fastest pace in 2 years

June 25, 2012


WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years. The increase suggests a modest recovery is continuing in the U.S. housing market, despite weaker job growth.



US home prices rose last year by most in 6.5 years 

February 5, 2013


WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S.. home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand.

Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to data Tuesday from CoreLogic, a real estate data provider.  That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006.  Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states usually slow over the winter months.


Spring looks promising for housing 

March 24, 2013


All indicators are pointing to a strong recovery for housing this spring.  Sales and prices are up, mortgage rates are low, and consumer confidence levels are high.

The 3% down payment mortgage makes a comeback 

December 9, 2014

By Les Christie @CNNMONEY

In an effort to open up lending to more low-income and first time home buyers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Monday that they will start backing mortgages with down payments of as little as 3% of the home's price.

But borrowers will still need to meet strict criteria first, the two government-backed mortgage giants said.

The new loans will only be doled out to those who buy private mortgage insurance, have a credit score of at least 620 and offer complete documentation of their income, assets and job status.  And, to further mitigate risk, the agencies will require borrowers to receive home ownership counseling.

Both programs are for fixed-rate loans given to first time homebuyers and those seeking to refinance.  Fannie will start backing the loans as soon as December 13, while Freddie will start offering them March 23.

Related: 10 hottest housing markets for 2015 

The move should expand access to credit for first-time homebuyers, typically younger buyers who have not have had enough time to save a big lump sum.

Fannie and Freddie already back mortgages with as low as 5% down.  And the Federal Housing Administrations insures 3.5% loans.

Still, according to Mark Palim, who directs economic and strategic research at Fannie Mae, it's a welcome expansion of credit.

"It's not a radical departure from what we're doing now, but anything at the margins helps," he said.  The 3% loans from Fannie and Freddie should also offer some advantages over the 3.5% down loans offered by FHA, according to Palim.  For example, the FHA loans require borrowers to pay for private mortgage insurance premiums for the entire term of the mortgage--typically 30 years.  That means adding an extra 1.35 percentage points to monthly mortgage rates.  A loan carrying a 4% rate, for example, becomes a 5.35% mortgage.  In dollars, that's about an extra $80 a month for every $100,000 borrowed or $960 a year.  That adds up to nearly $30,000 over the life of the loan.  Under Fannie and Freddie's programs, borrowers are permitted to cancel their private mortgage insurance premiums once the mortgage balance drops below 80% of the home's value--either because they've made enough payments or the home's value has risen.  If home prices increase 5% a year for three or four years, for example, these borrowers may be able to cancel their insurance and save them tens of thousands of dollars over the next 26 or 27 years.


"Gonna keep on tryin' till I reach the highest ground." Stevie Wonder. And US Bonds (including Mortgage Bonds, to which home loan rates are tied) are continuing to reach for the “highest ground” or best levels ever. Read on for details.

Provided by Rob Turner, Southern Trust Mortgage - June 11, 2012



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