Tuesday

Canada cut its key interest rate on October 21, 2008

The Bank of Canada cut its key interest rate on Tuesday by a quarter point, less than expected, to 2.25 percent but it said it would likely have to ease credit further to combat the effects of the global financial crisis. The Canadian dollar dropped 1.38 cents US on Tuesday after the Bank of Canada moved to cut interest rates again, citing the global financial crisis and economic worries. As a result of Tuesday's move, the Bank of Canada overnight rate stands at 2.25 per cent. The Canadian central bank had joined in a half-point coordinated rate cut by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other major central banks on October 8 in an extreme action to combat the global financial crisis.
Many economists had recommended a reduction of half a point, but the more moderate cut might make it easier for Canada's big banks to follow through and pass on the lower rate to customers. Canada's private banks initially declined to pass on to consumers the full half percentage-point cut in interest rates announced by central banks around the world on Oct. 8 that affected Canadians' ability to get or afford loans for mortgages and businesses.
The bank expects average annual growth in real gross domestic product of only 0.6 per cent in both 2008 and 2009, before moving up to 3.4 per cent in 2010.

Canadian residential mortgage rates rising

Mortgage rates in Canada are heading higher as fears of inflation grips the bond markets. Canadians received more proof yesterday of the global credit crunch hitting home after this country's biggest banks began hiking their residential mortgage rates in an effort to recoup higher funding costs from their customers. In Canada this week a number of banks raised mortgage rates, and it's a matter of days before others follow. Effective Friday, a five-year mortgage increases by .35 of a percentage point to 7.2 per cent, while a three-year closed term rises by the same amount to 7.05 per cent. A one-year closed mortgage loan falls by .3 of a percentage point to 6.35 per cent. The interest rates on mortgages and other short-term borrowing are set based on the price of bonds. With lower demand for bonds and fears of inflation, rates have to rise to lure investors. Other interest rates in the economy - from consumer and car loans to mortgage rates tied to the prime rate - are affected by the Bank of Canada trend-setting rate, which is expected to fall or remain stable over the next few months at least.

Thursday

30-year mortgage rates fell, aplications rise

Mortgage rates fell again this week, sending the rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage down for a fifth straight week to its lowest level since February, Freddie Mac reported. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of applications to buy a home or refinance a loan increased 33.4 percent to 661.7 in the week ended Sept. 12, the highest level since May. any homeowners sought to take advantage of lower interest rates and refinance their mortgages last week, causing the total volume of mortgage applications filed to jump. Applications were still down 1.3% in the week ending Sept. 12, compared with the same week in 2007. The government's pledge to backstop mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and stand behind their debt provides reassurance to investors that the mortgage-backed securities issued by the companies are relatively safe investments.

AIG Insurance Clients Safe?

Americans who have put their savings into life insurance and annuity-linked pension funds were running scared as finance titans like AIG collapse.In a statement, American International Group (AIG) said it is operating normally with adequate capital and is fully capable of meeting obligations to policyholders. In the unlikely event of an insurer failure, policyholder claims would be given priority over those of other creditors, according to a statement from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Until the past several months, American International Group was viewed as one of the safer investment bets on Wall Street – as well as one of the top insurers on Main Street.

Saturday

Mortgage rates drop after govt bailout

The federal bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has resulted in a sharp and sudden drop in mortgage rates. Fannie Mae is short for Federal National Mortgage Association, Freddie Mac is short for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. They act as guarantors for mortgages. Since the government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage rates have dropped sharply, but there are questions about what it means for the housing slump. The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 5.93 percent from 6.35 percent a week ago, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. That's a five-month low.

Monday

Bush Helps Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Bush administration on Sunday said it was taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are entities created by Congress - that operate like private companies with shareholders and corporate boards - to finance and guarantee home loans in the United States. Together, the companies hold nearly half of the country's mortgages. The administration said it would funnel billions of dollars in taxpayer money into the companies to help keep them afloat.

Friday

Mortgage defaults rose in July

The mortgage insurers reported that mortgage defaults rose 1.4% in July 2008. The Mortgage Insurance Companies of America are reporting that last month its lenders reported 68,831 defaults. Mortgage defaults were falling for the previous two straight months before rising again in July. Total primary insurance in-force is almost $802 billion. Information is based on the numbers from American International Group Inc. (AIG), Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW), Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. (MTG), PMI Group Inc. (PMI) and Old Republic International Corp. (ORI) which are the largest mortgage insurers in the country.

Tuesday

The Reserve Bank of Australia To Cut Rates

Australia's central bank may soon cut interest rates for the first time in seven years to avoid an economic slowdown. HSBC Bank Australia has already cut its fixed home loan mortgage rates by between 35 and 130 basis points. Three year fixed rates for new customers have been cut to 7.99 per cent from 9.29 per cent.

Monday

Reverse Mortgage Rules Change

A reverse mortgage is a loan against your home if you are a senior citizen that doesn't have to be paid back as long as you live in that house. using home equity to finance retirement years is growing in popularity. Under the new US law, the amount a senior can borrow through a reverse mortgage has been increased to $417,000 that can increase to as much as $625,500 in high-cost areas. The new law also reduces fees on reverse mortgage loan. The origination fees lenders can charge are currently capped at 2 percent of your home's value or the county lending limit, whichever is lower. The housing bill recently reduced the maximum fee to 2 percent on the initial $200,000 of the home's value and 1 percent on the balance thereafter, with a cap of $6,000. Reverse mortgage lenders are prohibited from requiring borrowers to purchase insurance, annuities or other similar products as a condition of getting a loan.

Saturday

Halifax mortgage rates down

Halifax, one of Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders, has cut its mortgage rates for the second time this week. Several of its most popular fixed or tracker-rate deals are being cut by an average of 0.25%, for borrowers who can put down a deposit of at least 25%. In the past week, other lenders, such as the Newcastle building society, Yorkshire building society and the nationalised Northern Rock, have also reduced the cost of some of their deals. Coventry, and also the Britannia building society, now offer their best deals to customers who can put down a deposit of at least 50% of a property's value. For borrowers wanting to remortgage, competitive trackers currently include Abbey’s two year at 5.54 per cent with a £1,999 fee and Woolwich's lifetime tracker at 0.69 per cent above base rate, up to a maximum value of 60 per cent.

Indian mortgage market tightens

Rising mortgage payments, soaring inflation and fuel prices are beginning to put the squeeze on the spending spree Indians had taken for granted for the past four years. The past four years have brought India economic growth of seemingly unstoppable momentum, often 9 percent a year, helped along by big inflows of foreign investment. Rising incomes and low interest rates enabled many middle-class Indians to realize the dream of owning a home, even while still in their 30s. Tight supply of funds in the mortgage market will put some negative pressure on the Indian Mortgage market.

Canadians do not like new rules

Canadians do not agree with the federal government's mortgage lending crackdown. A new survey reveals that 23% of Canadians do not agree with the recent federal changes to mortgage lending rules, stating that the new measures reduce options for people looking to buy a home. In an effort to avoid a U.S.-style housing market meltdown Canadian Govt. last month tightened up the rules governing mortgage lending practices in Canada. Support for the federal government's recent crackdown on mortgage lending rules is much higher in the Western provinces than in the East, according to a survey.

Closing Cost Survey

New York, Texas and Florida are the most expensive states in which to get a residential mortgage, according to Bankrate's annual survey of closing costs. North Carolina is the least expensive state for mortgage closing costs. Fees in New York City were highest, averaging $4,016. Houston came in second, with fees averaging $3,975. After that came Buffalo, N.Y., with fees averaging $3,845, and then Miami, at $3,683. Mortgage closing costs -- which can include lawyers' fees, title insurance and various taxes -- averaged $3,118 nationwide. Bankrate obtained quotes on closing costs to borrow $200,000 for 30 years at a fixed rate with a 20 percent down payment. The survey assumed the buyer had good credit and was buying a single-family house.

Wednesday

Interest Rate Insurance Is Here.

Home owners with variable-rate mortgages can now protect themselves against rate rises, with the first interest rate insurance policy. The product covers people with a variable rate or tracker mortgage against interest rate rises, and starts paying out automatically once policyholders' mortgage rate rises above a set level. The insurer suggests 7.5 million people are on a variable rate mortgage, or are set to come to the end of their fixed rate deal from the risk of rising interest rates. Protecting a £100,000 mortgage against a rate rise above 1 per cent will cost £1,032 for a two-year policy, equivalent to £43 a month. If the base rate and the borrower's standard variable rate then go up by more than the insured amount, MarketGuard will cover the difference. The product is taken out on a two-year term, and it is fully portable if people switch home or lender. There are also no redemption penalties or exit fees.

First National reports strong growth

First National had a strong start to 2008, with solid increases in our key metrics," said Stephen Smith, Chairman and President. First National Financial Income Fund owns a 19.97% interest in First National Financial LP, a Canadian-based originator, underwriter and servicer of predominantly prime residential (single family and multi-unit) and commercial mortgages. First National's mortgages under administration were $34.6 billion at March 31, 2008, up 36% from $25.4 billion at March 31, 2007 and up 5% from $33.1 billion at December 31, 2007.

Canadian banks to improve disclosure

Canadian banks will improve certain disclosure practices as urged by the G7 in its recent Financial Stability Forum report. The severity of the financial crisis has prompted an extraordinary meeting of the heads of the central bank, the country's banking regulator, the federal Finance Department and the big banks, who will gather this morning to talk about what Canada should do to prevent another liquidity crisis. Within 100 days, Canadian banks will establish and adopt "leading practices for disclosure" by tweaking the way they disclose bank securities at mark-to-market values, among other items. Policy makers and regulators are under pressure to show they are taking action in the wake of the financial turmoil that's reverberated in markets around the world.

Monday

Bank of America to help Countrywide borrowers

Bank of America Corp., seeking approval of its Countrywide Financial Corp. takeover, plans to modify at least $40 billion of mortgages during the next two years to keep customers in their homes. Bank of America said that it will locate its national consumer mortgage headquarters in Calabasas, Calif., once it completes its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. Bank of America also plans to double its community development lending, which focuses on affordable housing, small businesses and people in low-income and minority neighborhoods, to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. To accomplish this, the company will offer borrowers several options, including loan modifications and payment forbearance. It will not charge borrowers in foreclosure new late charges, and, in some cases, will waive prepayment penalties. Critics have said that BofA needs to make a strong commitment to working with troubled borrowers and minority communities in the wake of the proposed acquisition, which would ostensibly create the nation’s largest mortgage banking operation.

Friday

US 30-year mortgage rates rise

Inflation fears pushed U.S. 30-year mortgage rates up after being unchanged for three weeks according to Freddie Mac. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.03 percent this week after three straight weeks at 5.88 percent. Rates on 30-year mortgages were last above 6 percent the week of March 16 when they averaged 6.13 percent. One-year adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, climbed to an average of 5.29 percent from 5.10 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.62% this week, up from last week's 5.40% average. The mortgage averaged 5.87% a year ago. And one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.29% this week, up from last week's 5.10% average. The ARM averaged 5.43% a year ago. A separate survey released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the volume of mortgage applications filed last week fell 14.2% compared with the week before. Lenders charged an average of 0.3 percent in fees and points on 30- and 15-year mortgages, down from 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent last week, respectively.

GMAC lends $468 million to mortgage unit

Residential Capital LLC - a money losing mortgage lender - borrowed $468 million from a new $750 million credit facility arranged by its parent GMAC LLC. GMAC has been trying to prop up ResCap after defaults soared and credit markets tightened, leading to a $4.35 billion loss at ResCap in 2007. Residential Capital, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services, is a leading real estate finance company, focused primarily on the residential real estate market in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Australia.

Wednesday

Canada Cuts Interest Rates - Prime @4.75%

The Bank of Canada cut its interest rate by half a point to 3% whilst noting that further cuts might be necessary. The slowdown in the United States, which is Canada's largest trading partner, has begun to affect the Canadian economy. The cut reduces the bank's overnight rate — what big banks charge each other for overnight loans — to three per cent. The overnight rate hasn't been that low since December 2005. It was second time in as many months that new bank governor Mark Carney has moved aggressively on interest rates, bringing down the key overnight rate to three per cent, one-and-a-half points below where it was at the start of December. But in an unusual reaction, Canada’s chartered banks delayed for most of the day matching the central bank’s reduction, suggesting growing unease with the state of financial markets. The Toronto-Dominion Bank was first to act, after 6 p.m. AT, announcing a 50 basis rate cut to its prime lending rate to 4.75 per cent, followed by the other four big Canadian banks.

Tuesday

Home Trust Helps!

Home Trust is alternative lender that provides credit solutions for borrowers with a wide range of products. Home Trust Company has developed a market niche by lending to people who have had difficulty in obtaining their financing from one of the major banks or mortgage lenders.

Home trust lends to Small business owners, self-employed people and People with former credit difficulties that have since been resolved. They also lend to discharged bankrupts without any waiting period. Landed and non-landed immigrants to Canada who do not have a credit history can also benefit from Home Trust products.

If you have equity in your property but do not have provable income that satisfies your bank, talk to a mortgage broker about Home Trust mortgages.

Sunday

Missing Payments?

It is important to talk to your mortgage lender and tell them you're having difficulties. You may find they are open to revising your payments and/or extending the term of the loan, thereby reducing monthly repayments. Discuss your options with your lender as soon as possible. Then take action immediately. The longer you wait, hoping something will happen, the fewer options you will have. Lenders use foreclosure only as a very last resort. They make every attempt — within the confines of reasonable requirements — to develop an individualized solution that helps the borrowers get through a difficult time so they can stay in their homes. The key thing is not to stop making payments without warning - something that will really get your lender offside. If you find yourself seriously struggling to make loan repayments, do something about it sooner rather than later - definitely well before you miss a payment. The worst thing you can do is avoid the phone calls, letters and/or visits from your lender. There are many options. You can market your home as a short sale; get a mortgage modification agreement or even a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Communicate with your lender. Don’t try and ignore them because they won’t go away. And don’t lie to them. Be honest with them and they will help you work out the best solution.

Fixed-rate or variable-rate?

This is a question that consumers have been struggling with over the past several years while we have been enjoying historically low interest rates. With the Bank of Canada now widely thought to have concluded a series of seven interest-rate hikes in the past year, it's time to assess the two strategies.

Should you choose a fixed or variable mortgage loan? It all depends on your tolerance to risk in the face of interest rate fluctuations. A variable rate is generally more advantageous than a five-year rate on a given date. However, the variable rate may vary in time—as its name indicates—whereas the five-year rate remains unchanged for the entire five-year term. With the variable rate, you benefit immediately from rate decreases, but you may be affected if the rates go up.

Many variable-rate mortgage holders may regret not having locked in at a safe fixed rate, but mortgage brokers say that most of them fare about the same as their locked-in counterparts. By managing the variable rate product, some consumers have been able to pay down their mortgage substantially. Experts now agree that over the past ten years one would have paid less interest by taking a short term or variable rate mortgage versus a longer term mortgage. some people prefer the stability of a fixed rate over the potential cost savings offered by a variable rate. Choose your mortgage carefully. Ask a more broker for help before you sign the deal.

Walking away from your mortgage?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are warning struggling U.S. homeowners to think twice about walking away from their mortgages. Mortgage lender Fannie Mae warns homeowners planning to walk away and stop paying mortgages that doing so will make it difficult to apply for your next home loan. Borrowers facing foreclosure will be unable to obtain a loan for up to five years through the mortgage giant, unless there is "documented extenuating circumstances” in which those borrowers would have to wait up to 3 years for a new mortgage, according to a release by Fannie Mae. Even after five years, borrowers with foreclosures in their files will be required to make at least a 10 percent down payment, and will need minimum FICO credit scores of 680. Freddie Mac, Fannie's rival, counts foreclosures as major credit blots for seven years, and a senior official said the company is now aggressively pursuing some walkaway borrowers "to preserve our deficiency rights" where permitted under state law.

Walking away from the mortgage is not your only option if you are having difficulty making mortgage payments. Talk to the Realtors or mortgage brokers for more information on avoiding foreclosure.

Saturday

Why Switch Mortgage?

Switch mortgage means moving your mortgage to another lender. When you get that renewal notice in the mail don’t just sign it and accept the lenders interest rate and terms without giving us the opportunity to see if we can get you a better deal from another lender. In most cases, there is no cost to the borrower when transferring their mortgage as the new Lender normally covers any associated costs, such as the appraisal fees and transfer charges. Prior to transferring a mortgage, a Lender will go through a process of mortgage approval similar to that which was gone through at the time of the original mortgage application. Although remortgaging can be a sensible option for many borrowers, it may not suit everyone. If you only have a short period before your mortgage is paid off in full, or have a mortgage with large redemption penalties, the costs involved with remortgaging may outweigh the benefits.

Laurentian Bank offers 5% cash rebate, lowers rates

Laurentian Bank has changed its mortgage rates offers 5% cash rebate. 5 year rate changed from 7.15% to 7.00%. New mortgage rates will be effective as of April 12, 2008. Laurentian Bank now also offers consumers cash rebates of up to 5% on their mortgage. The new product is fixed-rate mortgage with a cash rebate of up to 5% of the amount borrowed. Combined cash and rate rebates are also available.

Other rates have also dropped at Laurentian Bank. 1 year open lowered from 9.30% to 9.10% and 3 year from 7.20% to 7.00%. Contact your mortgage broker for more information.

Thursday

What Is Blanket Mortgage?

Blanket mortgage, is a type of mortgage used to fund the purchase of more than one piece of real property. Blanket loans are popular with builders and developers who buy large tracts of land, then subdivide them to create many individual parcels and gradually sell them one at a time. For example, if you owned three properties and instead of borrowing separately against each one, you could use a blanket mortgage to create a second mortgage on all three properties.

Renegotiate Mortgage Rates

Renegotiating interest rates on a mortgage is one of several options available to property owners who want to keep their houses but have problems paying. It sounds simple, yet a lot of borrowers in trouble with mortgage payments never consider the possibility when it comes to renegotiating home loan rates. Most people consider refinancing their home mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payment. Refinancing a mortgage means paying off your old mortgage and signing a contract for a new loan. Whether to refinance your mortgage is a difficult question to answer. It might be possible to renegotiate your mortgage at a lower interest rate with your current lender, usually for a set fee. Renegotiating a mortgage is technically not refinancing, but it is an amendment to your existing mortgage. Although the interest rate may not be as low as the current refinancing rate, renegotiating can save you money because you pay no closing costs.

Missing Mortgage Payments

Each year thousands of homeowners mortgage payments get behind because of job loss, divorce, illness etc. If you're reading this you know that once you fall behind on your payments the amount of money needed to catch up grows each month and it becomes harder and harder to do. Avoid foreclosure and losing your home with some tips during this period. First the most important thing is to take action as soon as possible. If your mortgage payment is behind is communicate with your mortgage lender. If you stick your head in the sand and allow yourself to miss payments, you lose one potentially valuable option: the ability to stay current by raising cash against your equity. Once your mortgage payment is behind, the mortgage lender can elect not to accept partial payments of the mortgage payments your are behind and outstanding. Borrowers who are current on their mortgage can stay current by borrowing against their equity. The best instrument for this is a HELOC, a credit line, which you can draw on as needed. Try to get money together as soon as possible to bring the mortgage payments current.You may try to refinance your mortgage to bring it current and and pay-off the lender.If you are unable to do a mortgage refinance to bring the mortgage payments current you should seriously consider selling the home before going to foreclosure. If you go through the foreclosure process that will stay on your credit report for 10 years and you will have difficulty buying a home for up to five years after the foreclosure.

Wednesday

National Bank's All-In-One mortgage line of credit

The All-In-One is a line of credit that allows clients to integrate bank accounts, short-term savings and borrowings into a single solution. Clients can manage their projects independently in separate accounts that are linked to their All-In-One. National Bank has added two new features to its National Bank All-In-One TM mortgage line of credit, an integrated mortgage loan and the possibility of benefiting from credit insurance tailored specifically to this financing solution. National Bank clients can now integrate a mortgage loan into their All-In-One. Clients can enjoy the advantages provided by a mortgage loan, while benefiting from the flexibility offered by the All-In-One. National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations.

Federal Housing Administration Expands Mortgage Insurance

Borrowers who are as much as three months behind on their mortgages, have damaged credit histories and owe more than their homes are worth will now be eligible to refinance with a federally insured loan. The Bush administration will expand a program designed to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages into government-backed loans, but congressional Democrats want to go further. The expansion of an existing mortgage insurance program, called F.H.A. Secure, would help as many as 500,000 additional homeowners by the end of 2008. Under the program, FHA will insure loans with negative equity if lenders are willing to write down the loan balance so there is at least 3 percent equity for borrowers with two months of delinquencies and 10 percent for borrowers with three months of late payments within the previous year.

Bank of England To Cut Rate to 5%

The Bank of England probably will cut its main interest rate for the third time since December as the worst housing slump since 1992 fans concern the economy is slipping into a recession, a survey of economists shows. The mortgage market has tightened this month as banks scramble to conserve cash and stem a credit binge that fueled the country's decade-long housing boom. The number of home-loan products on offer declined by 21 percent in the past two weeks to 4,499 on April 4. U.K. house prices dropped the most since 1992 last month as the seizure in worldwide credit markets made mortgages harder to obtain, a report by HBOS Plc showed.The average cost of a home in Britain fell 2.5 percent to 191,556 pounds ($379,000) from February. U.K. policy makers have been reluctant to cut rates as much as the Fed since credit markets seized up in August, because global price pressures are threatening to spur inflation.

HSBC to match fixed-rate mortgages

HSBC has announced that it is making its new Rate Matcher mortgage available to all UK homeowners. But the new offer could see some customers paying as much as £5,000 in arrangement fees. At a time when rival lenders have been dropping their most competitive products amid funding concerns and a rapidly cooling housing market, HSBC's new deal initially sent shock waves through the mortgage market. There are an estimated 1.4 million mortgage holders who took out two-year deals during 2006 when rates were very low. Many have enjoyed mortgage deals with rates as low as 4.5 per cent, but now face a shock when they come to take out new loans, with the average two-year rate currently running at 6.29 per cent. HSBC, which is Britain's ninth-largest mortgage lender with 3.6% of the market, admitted that the upfront fees accompanying its matched deals would vary considerably, depending on the rate to be matched and the amount borrowed. For example, an existing rate of 4.54% on a £250,000 loan will only be matched if the borrower pays an upfront fee of £4,099. HSBC's new Rate Matcher offer opens on Monday and will run for five weeks. The bank said it had put in place three times its normal mortgage-servicing capacity.

Washington Mutual Dropping Wholesale Mortgages

once one of the largest residential mortgage lenders, Washington Mutual, will stop originating mortgage loans through independent mortgage brokers due to the ongoing mortgage crisis. Washington Mutual, said it was set to receive a seven-billion-dollar cash infusion to help shore up its finances which have been ravaged by mortgage-related losses. Washington Mutual was an early leader to offer subprime adjustable rate mortgages to the general public and by the end of last year the losses started to mount. The company did not provide details on the number of employees affected by the move, although it said it expects the closures to take effect before the end of the second quarter. The bank’s portfolio includes $57 billion in option ARM mortgages; so-called negative amortization loans have been a fast-increasing source of losses for lenders as housing prices have fallen in key markets throughout the United States and put millions of borrowers in the position of owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

Saturday

Australians Pay Higher Mortgage Termination Fees

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission reveals that Australian home buyers face some of the highest "early mortgage termination" fees in the world — as well as a complex array of other fees and charges. The federal Government released details of a review of mortgage entry and exit fees which it says will help boost competition in the banking sector and make it easier for unhappy borrowers to switch lenders. The report recommends that mortgage contracts be standardised so borrowers know what fees they face, if they attempt to switch institutions during the life of a loan. ASIC examined set-up fees, service fees and discharge fees in cases where borrowers decided, within three years of taking a mortgage, that they wanted to change lenders. Early termination fees have been blamed for dampening competition in the banking sector by making it prohibitively expensive for disgruntled home owners to switch to cheaper loans.

Wednesday

Mortgage Application Volume Down

US Mortgage applications plunged last week, largely reflecting a drop in demand for home refinancing loans. Mortgage application volume tumbled 28.7 percent during the week ending March 28, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly survey. Mortgages to purchase homes dropped a seasonally adjusted 11.8% last week, compared with the previous week. Refinancing applications took a 38.1% dive on a week-to-week basis, according to the MBA's latest survey. The U.S. real estate market is currently suffering one of the worst downturns in its history. Last week's drop in demand may indicate what is in store for the hard-hit sector this spring, which is the peak home-buying season. Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 5.75 percent, up 0.01 percentage point from the previous week.

UK's First Direct suspends mortgage offers

UK's First Direct has withdrawn mortgages for new customers to clear a backlog after people flocked to its relatively cheap rate mortgages as other lenders raised mortgage rates due to the credit crunch. The HSBC Bank owned Internet and telephone bank said it is temporarily withdrawing its mortgage range after receiving five times the usual volume in applications. First Direct has stopped offering the mortgages for a short period, not expected to be longer than a few weeks, to clear an administrative backlog after receiving five times the normal number of mortgage applications. First Direct's most popular offer was a 4.95 percent 2-year fixed rate mortgage, which it last week raised from 4.75 percent. Competitors NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland on Thursday became the first British lenders to raise their offset mortgages for existing customers to 6.45 percent from 6.2 percent.

Saturday

Australian mortgage rates Up!

Continuing a damaging trend that has punched holes in homeowners' pockets, the National Australia Bank lifted its variable rates by a further 0.09 per cent on Tuesday. Westpac has announced it is increasing interest rates on home loans because of turmoil on global financial markets.The move comes just a few weeks after the bank lifted its standard variable rate by 0.3 per cent earlier this month, when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent. That focus on advertised interest rates has led many home buyers to switch their mortgage to a fixed rate. Figures from banking analyst Cannex show almost 30 per cent of all owner-occupied home loans were fixed in January, compared with 17 per cent in December 2005.

US Govt. To Forgive Some Mortgage Loans?

USA is planning to aid borrowers whose mortgages are greater than the value of their homes. The govt. may call on lenders to forgive part of the loans according to the Washington Post, citing unidentified government officials. The Bush administration is finalizing a plan to rescue thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure by helping them refinance into more affordable loans, the Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition. The Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote a plan to expand the Federal Housing Administration and sent it to Bush officials about a week ago, but it has not yet won an endorsement. With foreclosure signs prevalent and a Wall Street rescue reverberating, majority Democrats want the government to step in and back up to $400 billion in troubled loans. The goal is to help strapped borrowers and thaw a credit market plagued by uncertainty about the value of subprime mortgages made to people with spotty credit or low incomes. The concept is similar to elements in legislation proposed earlier this month by U.S. Representative Barney Frank. Will you qualify under this new "forgiveness plan"?

Friday

Mortgage markets healthy in Canada

Canadians remain untouched by the severe credit woes gripping the U.S., where the collapse of the mortgage market has triggered rising delinquency and foreclosure rates and left households saddled with debt, says a report from CIBC World Markets. Household credit is rising at an annual rate of well over 10% with both mortgage and consumer credit growing strongly while short-term business credit is expanding at close to 20-year highs, figures from the Bank of Canada and chartered banks show.The borrowing trend speaks to the strength of Canada's domestic economy, even as overall economic growth is slowing significantly this year.The report, prepared by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, supports the Bank of Canada's view that the country has been less affected than Europe and the United States by the financial market breakdown that originally stemmed from the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

Xceed - Cost Reduction Measures Continue

Xceed Mortgage Corp., the Toronto- based mortgage lender that has lost 60 percent of its market value this year today announced that it is taking further measures to reduce the size of its organization, in line with the volume of mortgages that it expects to originate for the foreseeable future. Xceed, which seeks to return to profitability by the third quarter, stopped offering uninsured mortgage products this month as a spreading credit crisis in the U.S. made it difficult to find money to fund loans. Senior executives leaving the company include Xceed's president and chief operating officer, Michael Jones, and its chief financial officer, John Ayanoglou.

Thursday

Coast Capital Savings' Multi-Purpose Mortgage

Coast Capital calls it "The Swiss Army Knife" of mortgages. Multi-Purpose Mortgage gives you choice to split up your mortgage into mini-mortgages. Pick different term lengths or features or even Attach a line of credit. You can borrow against your home’s equity anytime you need to. You can get up to 75% of your home’s appraised value. And you can get a number of different advances at once, each with its own terms. You pay the registration and legal fees when you open the mortgage and avoid all the paper work the next time you need to borrow. One monthly statement will explain all your transactions to help you keep track of your finances.

Friday

The 7% Cash Back Mortgage from TD Canada Trust

The 7% CashBack mortgage - TD Canada Trust is promoting this product big time these days. TD bank gives you gives you 7% (up to $50000 max) of your mortgage amount in cash when you select a 7-year fixed rate mortgage. You get the cash as soon as your mortgage is funded and you can spend it on anything you want. But do you really need to lock in for 7 years? Is that your best bet? Will you pay more in interest than your cash back? Ask them to you give you a detailed analysis before you sign that dotted line.

TD allows you to use the cash back to pay down your mortgage. See if you can get ahead by exercising this option. But the real question is the interest rate? Are you getting the best offer? I say talk to a mortgage broker first.

Royal Bank's No Down Payment Plan

Want to buy a home? Never bothered to save enough for a down payment? RBC's "No Down Payment Plan" may help you. If you have good income and excellent credit history Royal Bank will lend you 100% against the home you purchase. The RBC No Down Payment Mortgage lets clients purchase their home sooner and start building home equity right away. All you need is 1.5% of the purchase price to cover closing costs. Get pre-approved for your mortgage so you'll know how much you can afford on a home before you start looking.

RBC's 50 50 Plan - A Split Mortgage

Wondering whether you need a low variable mortgage rate or protection of a fixed mortgage rate? RBC's Homeline Plan mortgage allows you to split your mortgage to take advantage of low variable interest rates, and provide protection if rates rise. 50% of your mortgage is fixed for five years at thecurrent rate and 50% of your mortgage is in a 5 year variable rate closed mortgage. If you don't like the 50/50 split, you can divide the portions the way you like.

Wednesday

UK's subprime market in decline

Lenders are finding it increasingly difficult to find funding for sub prime mortgages. Investment banks have been hit hard by the troubles facing the US sub prime market and therefore are less willing or able to securitise the mortgage books of UK sub prime lenders. The number of products available in the UK subprime lending market has declined by 71% over the past year. The subprime market – based on giving credit to higher-risk borrowers and therefore charging a higher rate of interest – has been in the frontline of the fallout from the credit crunch. The latest withdrawals from the market have come in what appears to be a second phase of tightening.

New beginnings for reverse mortgage in India

nion Bank of India has readied a reverse mortgage loan product which will be launched in couple of weeks, according to M.V. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, Union Bank of India. India is getting ready for the reverse mortgage market, but it could be sometime before demand for the product begins to emerge. Given the population’s age profile, family system or living arrangement and geographic dispersal of the target group, it could be early days in India for the reverse mortgage market. The tax concessions extended to reserve mortgage products in the Union Budget 2008-09 have made the product an attractive offering. A major factor that could constrict the size of the target market is the legality of ownership. To facilitate the expansion, Union Bank would recruit 4,000 in the next financial year.

Wanna pay off that mortgage?

If you are pushing the limits to pay off your mortgage you are not alone, at least not in Canada. Canadians who have recently purchased, renewed or refinanced a mortgage want to quickly pay off their debt, indicated a survey by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The report released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows that 78 per cent of Canadians who recently purchased a new home intend to pay off their mortgage as quickly as possible, and many have already taken steps toward that goal. The poll surveyed more than 1,400 recent active mortgage consumers comprised of first-time buyers, repeat buyers, mortgage renewers and refinance consumers. One-third of recent buyers said they have already made a lump sum payment to help pay down the principal on their mortgage, and 84 per cent said they are making payments on an accelerated basis, which shortens the original amortization period, according to CMHC. The survey also indicated 84 per cent of respondents felt they had access to suitable housing options, and 88 per cent felt confident they could manage their debt.

Tuesday

Indian Banks cuts home loan interest rate by 0.25%

Public sector lender Allahabad Bank has decided to reduce interest rate on housing loans by 25 basis points for both floating and fixed term loans up to Rs 20 lakh aday after UCO Bank announced cut in home loan rate. Public sector banks seem to have paid heed to finance minister's P Chidambabram's exhortations earlier this month to reduce home loan rates. The 0.25% cut is effective April 1 on all fresh sanctions. The minimum interest for 5-year period will be 9.5 per cent per annum and maximum 10.5 per cent for 15-25 years in PLR-linked loans. The minimum interest on housing loan for five-year period will be 9.5 per cent per annum and maximum would be 10.50 per cent a year for a period of 15 to 25 years in PLR-linked loans. The bank is also approaching its Board for further reduction in Prime Lending Rate to make all PLR-linked loans more comfortable for its borrowers. This news wasn't enough to revive the share price on a day when bank stocks were slaughtered at the markets. Shares of Allahabad Bank closed 5.28 per cent down to Rs.76.25 on the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

US Federal Reserve Cuts Rates By 0.75%

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point Tuesday and left the door open to more cuts in the near future in efforts to ward off a recession or worse, But it was less than the full percentage point investors had come to expect. With today's move, the central bank has now lowered interest rates by a full three percentage points since September, bringing it to the lowest point since late 2004. It marked the second back-to-back cuts of three-fourths of a percentage point. The Fed's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee voted 8-2 to cut its short-term interest rate target to 2.25% from 3%, bringing cumulative declines in less than two months to two percentage points, the most rapid pace of easing in years. The Fed also on Tuesday lowered the discount rate it charges banks and brokers that borrow directly from the Fed by 0.75 percentage point to 2.5%, leaving the spread over fed funds at a quarter point. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Fed said that the outlook for economic activity has weakened further, consumer spending has slowed and labour markets have softened. Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and the tightening of credit conditions and the deepening of the housing contraction are likely to weigh on economic growth over the next few quarters.

Thursday

Xceed is not offering uninsured mortgage products anymore

Xceed - a Toronto-based lender- suspended a line of uninsured mortgage products due to the credit crunch in the United States. Xceed, which lends to borrowers unable to meet traditional mortgage criteria, sent a notice to about 3,000 mortgage brokers. The move by Xceed adds to evidence that the subprime mortgage crisis may be spreading from the U.S. to Canadian lenders. Lenders such as Xceed represent about 5 percent of the Canadian mortgage market. The retreat may help large Canadian banks and companies such as Home Capital Group Inc. according to a report published by the Globe & Mail.

U.S. mortgage rates rise. Again!

Rates on 30-year mortgages increased this week for the fourth time in the past five weeks. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that U.S. 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.13 percent compared with 6.03 percent a week earlier, while 15-year mortgages rose to an average of 5.60 percent from 5.47 percent. One-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) also jumped to 5.14 percent in the week from 4.94 percent a week earlier. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.58% for the week, up from last week's 5.34% average. The ARM averaged 5.90% a year ago. The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. For 30-year and 15-year mortgages, the nationwide average fee was 0.5 point, while five-year mortgages carried a 0.6 point average fee and one-year mortgages had a 0.7 point average.

real estate foreclosures, which shot up to a record high in the final quarter of last year, are expected to keep rising even with industry and government efforts under way to help people at risk of losing their homes.

Tougher Rules For US Mortgage Industry?

US financial regulators are recommending a series of tougher new regulations for mortgage brokers and financial institutions as part of their efforts to minimize the risk of repeating the mortgage and credit crisis. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson outlined policy recommendations from the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG) with the aim of creating more transparent, better-functioning and better-managed markets. The report recommends higher capital requirements and better disclosure of risky investments. It also outlines new consumer protections for the mortgage lending industry. Implementing national licensing standards at the state level for mortgage originators and encouraging credit ratings agencies to differentiate between ratings on structured products and traditional bond ratings are also among the recommendations.

Tuesday

Variable / Adjustable vs Fixed

Fixed-rate mortgages are not dropping as fast as central bank rates. Mortgage brokers are able to find a variable-rate mortgage at about 4.75 per cent compared with a fixed-rate five-year mortgage of about 5.84 per cent. The spread, now almost a full percentage point, used to be only a quarter or a half point.

For those looking to buy a house, that decision whether to get a variable rate or a fixed rate mortgage can be very confusing. For that first-time home buyer, obviously the fixed rate is going to be the best solution in these uncertain times. First time home buyer can also lock in the a good low rate for 5 years and expect to have stable mortgage payments, no matter what happens in the real estate market place. If you're somebody who's a more experienced purchaser, who may be a second or third time homeowner, you may want to float with a variable rate. As you know that variable almost always wins over the fixed rate mortgage in the long run.

Many Canadians still believe real estate is a good investment, and their confidence may get another boost soon: The Bank of Canada has hinted that further cuts to its overnight rate may come at its next scheduled meeting on April 22.

Fixed Doing Better Than Variable / Adjustable In UK

Britons are more inclined to take out fixed-rate mortgages, despite the fact that most analysts anticipate that the base rate of interest will be cut again soon. When it comes to maintaining their mortgage payments, the majority of Brits prefer fixed rate deals, according to new figures from Abbey. Borrowers are adapting to changes in the market and those plumping for the certainty of a fixed rate are choosing a product for five-years as opposed to the previously popular two and three-year options. Tracker mortgages also grew in popularity this month, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they would go for a tracker option. The research also revealed that people in Wales and the south-west are the most likely to choose tracker mortgages. Research released by Abbey showed that two-thirds of the British home owning population would find it difficult to choose their next mortgage if they were remortgaging their house tomorrow. Real Estate Market is slowing down in UK.

Sunday

UK Mortgage rates rising

Mortgage rates are on the rise, despite the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) putting the base rate on hold. Yesterday, Abbey, the UK’s second-largest mortgage lender, announced its second rate rise in eight days. The industry leader, Halifax, and Chelsea Building Society have also increased rates on some of their mortgages. Homeowners that will soon come to the end of their fixed-rate mortgages may be the worst affected. While some people may be able to switch mortgage products, those who are unable to do so may struggle in the current economic climate. Meanwhile the slide in house prices continues with figures from the Halifax showing that values dropped 0.3% in February, the fourth fall in six months. When taking out a mortgage for a new home, people should consider investing in a good self-storage system to protect their belongings.

Concerns About Mortgage Payments In UK

One in five U.K. mortgage- holders are concerned about meeting their loan payments over the next 12 months, according to a survey done by Financial Services Authority. Additionally a quarter of these mortgage holders had no plans on how they would meet these costs, the FSA said as it launched a 2 mln stg advertising campaign to help consumers make informed financial decisions. Consumer confidence fell to a 13-year low in February as home prices declined and higher prices unsettled shoppers, according to a poll by GfK NOP Ltd. The UK economy and Housing market has entered a downward spiral, similar to which the US market has been experiencing, which is approximately a year ahead of the UK in terms of house prices trend. The collapse of the U.S. mortgage market triggered an increase in global borrowing costs. The world's largest banks have incurred $181 billion in writedowns for mortgage-related investments or associated losses. Mortgage approvals dropped to a nine-year low in January as banks restricted lending and the housing market weakened.

Mortgage Guarantee Coimg To India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the final guidelines for registration and operation of mortgage guarantee companies (MGCs) in India. the Reserve Bank first issued draft guidelines on Registration and Operations of Mortgage Guarantee Company on April 2, 2007. The guidelines says that a mortgage guarantee company shall commence the business of providing mortgage guarantee after obtaining a certificate of registration from the Reserve Bank of India; and having a net owned fund of Rs 1 billion or such other higher amount, as the Reserve Bank of India may, by notification, specify. According to RBI regulations, the foreign direct investment (FDI) to be eligible for investment in the equity of an MGC should have prior approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The Reserve Bank has today placed the prudential norms and investment norms applicable to Mortgage Guarantee Companies on the Reserve Bank’s website www.rbi.org.in

Saturday

Record mortgage Mess

Almost 6% of all mortgages were delinquent nationwide in the 4th quarter and foreclosure starts were at the highest levels ever, according to a report issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association. After surging in popularity during the U.S. housing boom, the risky subprime loans now are contributing to a record number of home foreclosures across the country, as many borrowers find themselves unable to pay the exorbitantly high interest rates that are starting to kick in after a few years of paying super-low "teaser" rates. The figures are expected to increase pressure on policy makers and the mortgage industry to move faster to contain losses and help homeowners. In recent days, regulators and lawmakers have begun suggesting that the federal government might need to take a bigger role in the mortgage business. This mortgage crisis is behind a nationwide drop in home values and a crisis in confidence that is impeding all types of lending. People who did not choose to take risks are also suffering, and more and more experts now say some sort of government response is necessary to avert a deep and prolonged recession. Though defaults increased across the country, much of the rise came from a handful of large states like California and Florida. Those two states account for about 21 percent of all mortgages but 30 percent of the new foreclosures. Nevada, Arizona, Michigan and Ohio also had high default rates.

Reverse Mortgage To Be Tax Free In India

National Housing Bank in the last budget notified the reverse mortgage scheme. In this budget, the Finance Minister has proposed to amend the Income Tax Act to provide that reverse mortgage income received by senior citizens would not be taxed as "income". The ministry of finance has made it clear that a loan under a reverse mortgage arrangement would not be considered as transfer of capital, thus making it non taxable under the income tax rules. Reverse mortgage was notified by the housing finance sector regulator, National Housing Bank, last year to ensure financial security to senior citizens, the move was followed by many banks and housing finance companies. As a concept, reverse mortgage is of great value in unlocking the otherwise illiquid asset. Its a relatively new concept in India but quite popular in the developed countries to generate cash flows.

Thursday

U.S. Mortgage Foreclosures Hit Record High

U.S. Mortgage Foreclosures rose to an all-time high at the end of 2007 as borrowers with adjustable-rate loans walked away from properties. The Mortgage Bankers Association, in a quarterly report of the mortgage market released Thursday, said that the proportion of all mortgages nationwide that fell into foreclosure shot up to a record high of 0.83 percent in the last quarter of 2007. That surpassed the previous high of 0.78 percent set in the prior quarter. More home owners than ever are losing the battle to make their monthly mortgage payments. Over 900,000 households are in the foreclosure process, up 71% from a year ago. Another 381,000 households, or 0.83% of borrowers, saw the foreclosure process started during the quarter. The number of mortgage borrowers who were over 30 days late on a payment in the last three months of 2007 is at its highest rate since 1985. Homeowners with tarnished credit who have subprime adjustable-rate loans were the hardest hit. The worsening foreclosure and late payment figures come as fears grow that the country is teetering on the edge of a recession or in one already. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the biggest U.S. mortgage finance companies, have posted their largest-ever losses as rising defaults boosted credit costs. Fannie Mae had a $3.55 billion loss in the fourth quarter, the Washington-based company said Feb. 27. Freddie Mac reported $2.45 billion fourth-quarter loss the following day.

Wednesday

Bank of Canada slices lending rate to 3.5 per cent

The Bank of Canada has cut its key overnight rate by half a percentage point to 3.5 per cent from four per cent. The last announcement on the rate came on Jan. 22 when the central bank cut the rate by a quarter-point, or 25 basis points. Around the world, the Bank of Canada sounded a gloomy warning on the U.S. economy by slashing its key rate by a half point, its biggest cut since 2001, and signaling more to come. The Bank of Canada reduced its overnight lending rate to 3.50 percent, bringing Canada's cumulative rate cuts since December to one percentage point and narrowing the gap with the U.S. Federal Reserve rate of 3 percent.

What does it mean for people with mortgage payment? Most banks are expected to drop their prime lending rates to 5.25%. The difference in the drop of half a point over let's say in a $100,000 mortgage, is about approximately $40 a month in interest saved — over the long term, several thousand dollars.

Saturday

US Govt. wants mortgage data

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says that nine large banks must provide detailed information on mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures every month to a federal regulator. Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., US Bancorp, National City Corp. HSBC Plc and First Horizon National Corp. are among the banks required to hand over this data. The OCC wants data including delinquencies, foreclosures and efforts to modify mortgages and hopes to better supervise the major banks and the loans they service in the future. The OCC is looking for information on all loans, not just subprime loans made to borrowers with poor credit. Three weeks ago, a group of state attorneys general blamed the OCC for hampering a study on foreclosures, that they said were wreaking havoc on local economies. The OCC is also planning to collect data on home equity loans later this year.

Bank of Canada cutting interest rate on Tuesday?

The Bank of Canada is one of five central banks that will be making a decision on interest rates this week. Most economists expect the target for the key overnight rate to be set at 3.75 per cent, down from 4 per cent. Some economists are predicting that the bank will cut rates by as much as 50 bps, which would be the strongest move by the Bank of Canada since 2001.

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