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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