Student Loan Debt And Millennial Home-Buying

1/19/2018 | Tom Fire | Buying your first home is a rite of passage, something that often signals that you are finally an adult — with the mortgage to prove it. Yet for many millennials (loosely defined as young adults between the ages of 18 and 35), home buying is a far-off dream. According to a...

New Conforming Loan Limits for 2018 are Higher Than Expected

11/29/2017 | Casey Fleming |  The Federal Housing Finance Agency – the FHFA – disclosed the new conforming loan limits for 2018 yesterday, and they went up further than most analysts expected!  It’s great news, as it opens the door to homeownership to more people. Historical Context Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the agencies) were...

How to Shop For a Mortgage

Shopping for a mortgage can seem a little like going to an apothecary and asking for something to cure what ails you.  The alchemist goes into the back room, mixes together a bunch of mystery ingredients, mutters something incomprehensible, and then, poof!  Your cure is ready.  You may feel this is what happens when you...

Major Changes to Reverse Mortgage Rules

8/31/2017 | Casey Fleming — HUD announced this week a couple of major changes to their reverse mortgage rules.  HUD insures the most common reverse mortgage in the country (by far), the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. Beginning with files that are registered after October 2nd, 2016, the up front funding fee will be 2.000% of...

Why Congress Can’t Sell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

8/5/2017 | Casey Fleming | Politicians make a lot of hay talking about privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These formerly private companies were taken over by the government under the Bush administration shortly after the financial crisis began. Depending on whom you believe, the purpose was either to put a halt to irresponsible lending...

Richard Cordray to Leave CFPB?

7/21/2017 | Casey Fleming | Will Richard Cordray leave his post as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?  (The CFPB)  The CFPB, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren which was created via the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was designed to be independent of political influence.  That independence has meant that it...

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady in Mid-July

7/15/2017 | Casey Fleming |  Last week I predicted that underlying conditions (think wholesale interest rates) would probably improve during the week just ended, but that economic reports and announcements by Fed members carried too much risk for mortgage rates to improve much in mid-July.  I noted that we would probably see lock opportunities on...

The Feds Mentioned the Elephant in the Room

4/7/2017 | Casey Fleming As I wrote last weekend the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (The Feds as they are known in the hood) was going to release the minutes of its March 14th meeting yesterday, April 6th, and the contents could move the market.  As it turns out, there was...

1% Down Payment Program – A Good Idea?

Can you buy a home with only 1% down?  Yes, you can.  Is it some wild, exotic toxic loan product with super high interest rates?  Actually, no, it’s a conventional, conforming loan.  How does it work?  Glad you asked. The minimum down payment for a conforming loan is 3%.  However, some of that down payment...

Plan to Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

I’ve been writing for several years that lawmakers have been making a lot of noise – but no progress – on plans to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you recall, the Bush administration forced the government takeover of the agencies in 2008, saying that their loan loss reserves were too low to sustain...