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Home | Author Archives: Brian Honea

Author Archives: Brian Honea

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Fannie Mae Forecasts Economic Growth in 2015 Despite Ending Year On a Low Note

seal-on-money

Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group predicts in its December 2014 Economic Outlook that the U.S. economy will strengthen heading into 2015 following an up-and-down 2014 that ended on an unspectacular note. The Group is forecasting full-year growth of 2.1 percent for 2014, a full point below 2013's rate of growth, due to the reverse in the final quarter of some unsustainable forces that boosted the economy in the third quarter. However, the Group is predicting economic growth of 2.7 percent for 2015 based on firming consumer income prospects, rising consumer and business confidence, a broadening housing recovery, and reduced fiscal headwinds.

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Underwater Borrower Rate Drops Below 17 Percent

underwater-five

The number of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth has fallen off by nearly half in the last two years, but third-quarter data shows millions are still close to slipping back under. By the end of Q3 2015, the company expects negative equity will drop further to a rate of 15.2 percent. While improving trends in home values and foreclosures have helped push more homeowners into positive equity positions, many are still barely afloat, possessing too little equity to realistically afford the cost of selling their home and buying a new one. Because they're essentially locked into their houses, those homeowners are unable to contribute to their local stock of for-sale homes and are stuck in the way of entry-level or move-up buyers.

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HUD Secretary Vows to Make Greatest Use of Allotted Resources in 2015

home-protection

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro said the Department will continue to focus on its top priorities in 2015 with the $45 billion budget allotted as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, despite the lack of funding for some key HUD initiatives. Among those priorities are securing sustainable housing for American individuals and families, preserving rental house assistance for poor Americans, ending homelessness, protecting people from discrimination in housing, and helping neighborhoods become more resilient from natural disasters, according to a release from HUD.

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Senators Ask FHFA to Revisit FHLBank Membership Requirements

bank

Twenty-seven senators have signed a letter addressed to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt asking him to reconsider the stricter membership requirements for the Federal Home Loan Banks the Agency proposed in September. The changes to membership requirements outlined by Watt in a speech at the FHLBank Director's Conference on September 2 require members to hold 1 percent of their assets in home mortgage loans (HML) on an ongoing basis, whereas the previous rule requires members to demonstrate this only at the time of their application and not at any time afterward

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Cary, North Carolina Named ‘Nicest’ Housing Market; Milwaukee Designated as ‘Naughtiest’

American-flag-house

With Christmas just one week away, RealtyTrac has released a list of the nicest and naughtiest U.S. housing markets based on a number of factors, including foreclosure rate, crime ratings, unemployment rate, school scores, housing affordability, and sex offenders per capita. RealtyTrac found the "nicest" housing market in the U.S. to be Cary, North Carolina, and the "naughtiest" to be Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based on those metrics. Cary was chosen as the nicest housing market based on the city's low unemployment by county rate (4.40 percent), sex offender per capita rate (0.021 percent, or an average of 2.12 sex offenders for every 10,000 people), low foreclosure inventory (0.17 percent, or 17 foreclosures for every 1,000 housing units), total crime index (20.1 percent, for a crime rating of A), average elementary school score for 2013 (1.0979) and home affordability, or the percentage of median income to buy median-priced homes (21.38 percent).

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Freddie Mac Obtains Insurance Policies Aimed At Reducing Taxpayer Risk

freddiemac

Freddie Mac announced Tuesday that it has obtained a number of insurance policies under its Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS) in an effort to reduce risk to taxpayers in mortgage loans and further expand risk-sharing initiatives beyond capital markets. The announcement comes one week after Fannie Mae announced it was expanding the role of private capital in the mortgage market by transferring the credit risk on a pool of loans from taxpayers to a panel of domestic reinsurers.

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Tax Provisions Covered By New Senate Bill Include Mortgage Deductions

cutting-money

The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Tuesday night that retroactively extends 55 tax provisions, among which are allowing deductions for mortgage insurance premium interest and tax relief on forgiven mortgage debt. The tax provisions covered by the bill, known as the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, expired on December 31, 2013. The bill provides for a retroactive one-year extension which expires on December 30 of this year and would be effective for those filing 2014 returns next year.

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