Mortgage interest rates dropped again this week, hitting just 4.91 percent with 0.7 points (prepaid interest) for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. That is so low it almost demands a rush to the refinancing table. (Then again, bank deposits are paying less than 2 percent, so maybe rates aren't that low, after all.)
If anyone thinks mortgage brokers have been chastened by the financial calamity we've all been through the past few years, think harder. My husband and I received a particularly shoddy refinancing offer just a few weeks ago.
The federal government may try to nudge lenders to approve more short sales soon. But will the feds really be able to convince lenders to clear the path for more of these deals? Here's an interesting snippet from the online chat held Thursday with the Post's Renae Merle and Michael S. Barr, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions.
Even though you cannot get rid of your mortgage payments through bankruptcy, about one in five people who went through mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling said they were doing so to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure, according to Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Greater Atlanta. That organization provides counseling throughout the United States.
Here's one of the questions I couldn't get to during the latest Real Estate Live chat. The next online conversation is scheduled for Friday, July 24 at 1 p.m. As always, you can read the transcript or submit a comment or question early. Ashburn: In order to qualify for a loan modification, do you need to be behind in payments or do you just need to meet the qualifications, that is your mortgage takes up more than 31 percent of gross monthly income, the loan balance is less than $729,000, and it was originated before Jan. 9, 2009, etc?
Maryland is on the FBI's top ten list for states with the most mortgage fraud, and the District is among jurisdictions "newly identified as having significant mortgage fraud problems," according to the bureau's 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report, which was just released. Nationwide, the number of mortgage fraud suspicious-activity reports referred to law enforcement increased 36 percent over 2007, the report says. And the government's economic stimulus programs could fuel further increases, according to the FBI.