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Author Archives: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

OCC Report Shows Improvement in First-Lien Mortgages for Q3

The OCC Mortgage Metrics Report, Third Quarter 2014, released Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), showed improvement in the performance of first-lien mortgages serviced by seven national banks and one federal savings association. The report found that out of a portfolio totaling 23.6 million loans with a combined unpaid principal balance of about $4.0 billion (about 46 percent of residential mortgages in the U.S.), the percentage of current and performing mortgages increased both quarter-over-quarter (from 92.9 percent to 93.0 percent) and year-over-year (from 91.4 percent to 93.0 percent) in Q3.

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Foreclosure Deed Filings Continue to Drop in Rhode Island

Foreclosure deed filings are down in Rhode Island for the third quarter of 2014, according to a report published by HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University on Thursday. In all, 364 foreclosure deeds were filed in Rhode Island in Q3, down from the 382 filed in Q2 2014, a decline of 5 percent, according to HousingWorks RI. Year-to-date through the end of Q3 2014, however, residential foreclosure deed filings ticked up by 2 percent in the Ocean State from the same period in 2013 from 1,170 to 1,193.

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

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

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

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

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’

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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