Auburn, AL Real Estate News

By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
      This week brings us the release of only two relevant economic reports in addition to the minutes from the last FOMC meeting and a Treasury auction. Both of the relevant reports are scheduled for release late in the week, so the most movement in rates may come the latter part of the week. There is nothing of relevance on tap for tomorrow. There is no relevant news scheduled until Tuesday afternoon when the FOMC minutes will be released. Market participants are interested in how divided the Fed is towards rate cuts and possible future moves. The minutes give us insight to their current thought process and individual Fed member opinions. Any surprises in the 2:00 PM ET release could cause afternoon volatility in the markets Tuesday and possible changes in mortgage pricing.The first p...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Mortgage interest rates increased during the week ended March 13, in some cases more than wiping out the substantial declines reported for the week ended March 6.According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) had an average rate of 6.13 percent, an increase of 10 basis points from the previous week during which the average had dropped 21 basis points. Fees and points last week were unchanged at 0.5.The 15-year FRM which had dropped from 5.72 percent to 5.47 percent the week before was back up to an average of 5.60 percent in the current week. Fees and points were unchanged at 0.5.Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.58 percent this week, with 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.34 perc...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Wednesday's bond market opened well in positive territory but has since given back part of those gains. The stock markets are showing losses after yesterday's huge rally. The Dow is currently down 25 points while the Nasdaq has fallen 15 points. The bond market is currently up 17/32, which should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point. However, if bond prices continue to slip, we may see upward revisions to rates later today.There is no relevant economic news scheduled for release today. The Conference Board will post its Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for February late tomorrow morning. That index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.3% decline, indicating that economic...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Today's FOMC meeting adjourned with an announcement of a three-quarter of a percent cut to key short-term interest rates. This led to a significant stock rally with the Dow up 420 points and the Nasdaq up 91 points. The bond market is currently down 42/32, which will likely lead to upward revisions in mortgage rates of approximately .250 of a discount point.The stock rally hurt bonds by investors shifting funds from bonds into stocks. Also contributing to this afternoon's selling was the post-meeting statement that indicated the Fed was concerned about inflationary pressures within the economy. Investors took the opportunity to sell bond holdings and buy stocks.The Labor Department gave us bad news this morning with the release of February's Producer Price Inde...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Housing starts and the pulling of construction permits continued to decline in February according to a monthly report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.Building permits for all residential construction were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 978,000 units, 7.8 percent below the revised January rate of 1,061,000 and 36.5 percent lower than the revised February 2007 estimate of 1,541,000.Permits for single family houses were issued at an annual rate of 639,000, 6.2 percent less than last month's estimate of 681,000.The only region of the country where permitting was up month-over-month was in the west where it increased 11.7 percent from January. All regions were down a minimum of 26 percent (Northeast) year over year with the...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Let's preface "mild correction" by admitting that there are fewer more hotly contested debates among compliance gurus than disclosure of PFC's and YSP. After working over the years with numerous people who I consider highly educated regarding compliance (and some of them with ties to state auditors), I still have yet to see a conclusive argument regarding a uniform method of selecting PFC's ("prepaid finance charges" that mortgage brokers must "select" to be included in the APR calculation), or a uniform method of disclosing YSP (yield spread premium).So let's clear the air with some facts.  The phrases from the article that are in question are obviously: "One feature of The Good Faith Estimate is not going to make lenders and brokers happy. It would require that lender payments to mort...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Friday's bond market opened up sharply following weaker than expected inflation readings, but has since given back some of those gains. The stock markets are showing sizable losses with the Dow down 150 points and the Nasdaq down 35 points. The bond market is currently up 20/32, which should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .250 - .375 of a discount point. However, if bonds give back more of their earlier gains, we may see upward revisions to mortgage rates later today.The Labor Department gave us the big news for the day with the release of February's Consumer Price Index (CPI). It showed no change in the overall index and the same in the core data reading. Both of these readings were well below analysts' forecasts of 0.3% and 0.2% increases respectively. This me...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
The statistics are all over the place, but it is clear that not only are mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures skyrocketing, but millions of homeowners are "upside-down" in their mortgages; that is they owe more to the bank than their houses are worth and a report this week predicted that number would be growing exponentially.More and more the talking heads on television have suggested that these upside-down homeowners should cut their losses and hand the bank the keys to the castle. Some have even suggested that cash-stretched and equity-poor debtors should continue paying the credit card bills even as they stop paying the mortgage. The rationale? The house is already a dead loss and continued credit card access will help the homeowner get back on his or her feet.The attitude was unh...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Mortgage interest rates made substantial moves during the week ended March 6 and 7, but according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) they made the moves in opposite directions. There are frequently differences in the trends revealed in the two surveys which have different sized data bases (MBA is larger) and collect information from different if overlapping participants (Freddie Mac's survey is limited to conforming mortgages), but seldom is the disparity as stark as it was this week.Freddie's Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) dropped from 6.24 during the week ended February 29 to 6.03 percent last week. Fees and points were unchanged at an average of 0.5. This was the lowest rate for the 30-...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Life for Carlyle Capital has gotten even worse than we reported last week and by Thursday morning it appeared that the hedge fund would not survive. Another loser from last week, Thornburg Mortgage had a bit of a respite earlier this week but got clobbered by new news Thursday morning. The Carlyle Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group a very well connected private equity management company, said late Wednesday that it expected that its assets would be seized by its creditors and liquidated; an event likely to also cause the liquidation of the fund.Carlyle Capital had used its $670 million in investor monies to build a portfolio that was valued at 21.7 billion, a leverage factor of almost 32. But, unlike most of the victims, although that seems a strange term to use, of ...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. Thursday released recommendations from the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG.)The PWG, headed by Paulson, is composed of the heads of the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.Paulson terms the release of the recommendation as the beginning of the end of the policy review portion of the group's assignment and the beginning of the next phase, implementation.To address the current financial situation and to guard against a repeat in future years the PWG made six broad recommendations:  Stronger transparency and disclosure. Stronger risk awareness on the part of regulators and all market participants. Stronger risk management ...
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By Mara Hawks, Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL
(First Realty Auburn )
The following report is calculated by the Alabama Center of Real Estate. This report, along with more detailed information, can be found on their website: http://arerec.cba.ua.edu/  Are you considering a move into or out of Lee County Alabama? If you would like to receive these monthly reports, emailed directly to you, along with other local area information, just send your reaquest to me at mhawks7@aol.com. www.marahawks.comACTIVE REALTOR in AUBURN ALABAMA 2008  
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By Mara Hawks, Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL
(First Realty Auburn )
SPRING is a time for all things growing to be renewed... a time for all things hibernating to awaken. A time to grow where you are planted and time to plant some things to grow. This link is filled with excellent and well-organized information on growing native and naturalized wildflowers in the state of Alabama    http://www.auburn.edu/awac/watch1.htm If you are wondering where to find some seeds or bulbs or accessories for your garden in Lee County, Alabama, here are a few favorites that I've found: Fred's Feed & Seed (334-502-6602), right on the outskirts of Auburn in Loachapoka, on the north side of Hwy 14. It's a place that speaks of the past, with its unique, old world charm and superb customer service. You will find an extensive selection of supplies here, for planting and wildli...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Tuesday's bond market has opened well in negative territory following sharp gains in the stock markets. Stocks are doing very well this morning following an unusual move by the Fed to add liquidity to the markets. The results are stock rally and bond selling. The Dow is currently up over 200 points while the Nasdaq has gained 35 points. The bond market is currently down 28/32, but we will still see an improvement in this morning's mortgage rates as a result of strength late yesterday and optimism in the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) market.The only piece of economic news released today was January's Goods and Services Trade Balance. It showed the U.S. trade deficit at $58.2 billion. This was smaller than expected, but since the data is not considered to be of high importance, it had ...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Three executives from major mortgage industry companies were on the hot seat Friday as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform looked into executive compensation at corporations involved in the subprime mortgage-market shakeout.The committee, headed by Rep. Henry Waxman, questioned Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial, Stanley O'Neal, former chief executive of Merrill Lynch & Co., and Charles Prince, former CEO of Citigroup, Inc.It was Mr. Mozilo who received the brunt of the committee's questions. The founder of Countrywide received total compensation of about $250 million in the years 1998 to 2007 and another $406 million from the sale of his company's stock.Mozilo is the only one of the three who is still employed. The other two lost their jobs last fall after their ...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has charged Cesar A. Lopez, a Chicago landlord with housing discrimination for posting an on-line ad that discriminates against men and families with children. The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for a housing provider to make, print or publish, in print or on-line, any statement or advertisement that states a preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under law, Inc., (CLC) regularly monitors the content of rental ads on craigslist.org. In January 2006, Justin Massa, a fair housing testing and outreach coordinator at CLC, viewed an on-line posting advertising an owner-occupied three-story dwelling. In his ad...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
We expected that the lead story of this week would be the Congressional testimony of Countrywide Mortgage CEO Angelo Mozilo and other mortgage company executives about their high levels of compensation which continue despite the enormous loses their companies have suffered in the subprime mortgage collapse. While we will report on that hearing before the House Committee on Government and Oversight, other news over the weekend has served to overshadow that sideshow.First, The Wall Street Journal reported that Countrywide Mortgage and Wells Fargo and Company were under investigation by the Attorney General of Illinois for having improperly steered minority borrowers into high-cost or inappropriate loans Attorney General Lisa Madigan subpoenaed units of the two investment giants asking for...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) climbed 20 basis points from the average 6.04 rate a week earlier although fees and points declined from 0.6 to 0.5. One year ago the 30-year FRM averaged 6.18 percent.The average contract interest rate of the 15-year FRM was 5.72 percent with 0.5 point, up from the week before when it averaged 5.65 with 0.5 point. During the same week one year ago the average rate was 5.92 percent.Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.43 percent with an average 0.4 point. The previous week it averaged 5.37 percent with 0.5 point and during the same week in 2007 the average was 5.93 percent.  One-year Treasury-indexed ARMS rose to 5.11 percent from 4.98 percent. Points and fees also rose from 0.6 to 0.7. One year ago the rate ...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
Yet another program to help homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages was announced last week by Fannie Mae. HomeSaver Advance, a part of the corporations larger HomeStay initiative, is not for everyone and sort of feels like a finger in the dike attempt to stop the tide of foreclosures, but for some borrowers, especially those who have been derailed by temporary events such as a medical emergency, it could be an excellent solution.HomeSaver Advance is designed for the borrower who is otherwise capable of meeting his obligations and will be able to resume timely payments once the arrearage is brought current. Under the program Fannie Mae authorizes its servicers to offer an unsecured personal loan that will enable a qualified borrower to cure the payment default on a Fannie Mae o...
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By Chris McDonald
(WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP.)
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced that HUD's FHASecure product has helped 100,000 homeowners refinance their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.  Since September 2007, FHASecure has enabled tens of thousands of families - who are current on their home loans or past due because their teaser rates reset - to close on loans refinanced through HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is backed by the full faith and credit of the government. The following is a statement by Secretary Jackson: "FHASecure has helped more than 100,000 families stay in their homes.  Homeowners are cutting their monthly mortgage payments by an average of $400 a month compared to their exotic subprime loans.  They no longer have anxiety about finding foreclosure not...
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