The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the latest NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index. This total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Four new markets were added to the list and 19 were dropped from it this month.
Freddie Mac is now offering a free, online CreditSmart® tutorial to provide working families and new or inexperienced borrowers with basic sound information about building savings, personal credit, and making wise financial choices. CreditSmart® is a comprehensive, multilingual financial education curriculum that has reached more than 3 million consumers in 44 states through lenders, churches, schools, and non-profit organizations.
For future borrowers, the tutorial includes individual modules on banking, budgeting household income, building personal savings and credit, understanding credit scores, avoiding credit traps, getting a mortgage, and closing a loan.
For current homeowners, the tutorial includes modules tailored to help them avoid foreclosure, maintain their home and succeed as long-term homeowners.
To access the new CreditSmart online tutorial visit www.freddiemac.com/creditsmart/consumer_training.html
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed more than 540,000 foreclosure prevention actions during 2012, bringing the total foreclosure prevention actions to nearly 2.7 million since the start of conservatorship in 2008. These actions, which have helped more than 2.2 million borrowers stay in their homes, are detailed in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s fourth quarter 2012 Foreclosure Prevention Report, also known as the Federal Property Manager’s Report. The quarterly report has information on state delinquencies and an updated, interactive Borrower Assistance Map for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, with information on delinquencies, foreclosure prevention activities and Real Estate Owned (REO) properties.Also noted in the report:The number of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac delinquent borrowers declined 14 percent in 2012 as mortgage delinquencies dropped in every state except New Jersey and New York.Foreclosures continued a downward trend with foreclosure starts in the fourth quarter falling to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2008.46 percent of troubled borrowers who received loan modifications in the fourth quarter had their monthly payments reduced by more than 30 percent.More than one-third of loan modifications completed in the fourth quarter included principal forbearance.More than 32,600 short sales and deeds-in-lieu were completed in the fourth quarter, bringing the total for 2012 to nearly 141,500.REO inventory continued to decline as property dispositions outpaced property acquisitions during the fourth quarter.
The Orange County Register
As of March 1, struggling borrowers who relinquish their homes can live in them temporarily without having to make mortgage payments under new guidelines implemented by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its November 2012 Refinance Report, which shows that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have reached a new milestone and refinanced more than 2 million loans through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).
In November alone, nearly 130,000 homeowners refinanced their mortgage through HARP, making it the second biggest month in 2012.
Between January and November of 2012, nearly 1 million loans were refinanced through HARP, more than in any single year since the program began. The continued high volume of HARP refinances is attributed to record-low mortgage rates and program enhancements implemented in 2012.
Also in the report:
HARP volume represented 23 percent of total refinance volume in November 2012.
In November, 46 percent of the loans refinanced through HARP had loan-to-value (LTV) ratios greater than 105 percent, and 24 percent had LTVs greater than 125 percent.
In November, 17 percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers were for shorter-term 15- and 20-year mortgages, which build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages.