US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Falls to 4.1%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Jan. 12, 2017 – Long-term US mortgage rates fell this week, the second week of declines after snapping a nine-week run of increases.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans eased to an average 4.12 percent from 4.20 percent last week. That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971. A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.92 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.37 percent from 3.44 percent last week.

Mortgage rates surged in the weeks since the election of Donald Trump in early November. Investors in Treasury bonds bid yield rates higher because they believe the president-elect's plans for tax cuts and higher spending on roads, bridges and airports will drive up economic growth and inflation.

That would depress prices of long-term Treasury bonds because inflation would erode their value over time, a prospect that caused investors to demand higher yields.

In the latest week, a report from the government on employment in December pushed the price of the 10-year Treasury bond higher, dampening its yield. The Labor Department report issued last Friday showed that U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs last month, capping a year of slower but solid hiring.

Though the unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, it did so for an encouraging reason: More people began looking for work. Because not all of them found jobs immediately, more people were counted as unemployed in December.

Bond yields move opposite to prices and influence long-term mortgage rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond fell to 2.37 percent Wednesday from 2.44 percent a week earlier. That compares with 1.87 percent on Election Day Nov. 8. The yield declined further to 2.33 percent Thursday morning.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged this week at 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year loans also remained at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans fell to 3.23 percent from 3.33 percent. The fee increased to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

Do You Know How The Fair Foreclosure Act Will Affect You?


Florida was among the hardest hit states in the national housing crisis, and state courts are still dealing with the flood of foreclosures crowding dockets. The Florida Fair Foreclosure Act (“FFFA”) was signed into law in attempt to unclog the court system with an expedited foreclosure process that both hurts and helps distressed homeowners.

Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means all foreclosure actions must be handled in a state court. The Florida Fair Foreclosure Act did not change that. However, there were some significant changes in the Florida foreclosure process that homeowners facing foreclosure need to know.

How the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act Helps Homeowners.

Lender Must Prove Ownership of Note. Before the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act was enacted, lenders were able to file foreclosure actions without having to prove they owned the promissory note. This led to a number of abuses and wrongful foreclosures. Now, lenders must prove they have the right to foreclose on a property by producing the promissory note or documentation that shows ownership of the debt has been legally transferred to them.

Reduction in Deficiency Judgment Statute of Limitations. If a homeowner owed more than his or her house was worth, the difference is known as a deficiency. In Florida, lenders can pursue a personal judgment against a homeowner for the deficiency amount. With the passage of the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, the time a lender has to pursue a deficiency judgment has been reduced from five years to one year. In addition, a deficiency judgment cannot be more than the difference between the judgment amount and the fair market value of the home on the day it was sold.

How the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act Hurts Homeowners.

Any Lienholder May Request Expedited Foreclosure. The Florida Fair Foreclosure Act makes it possible for any lienholder — a homeowners association or condo association — to petition the court for an expedited foreclosure. This means that homeowners may have less time to seek a loan modification or other workout that could avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure Judgments Final. Under the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, foreclosure judgments in Florida are final. Any legal challenges are limited to monetary damages when certain conditions are met by the lender, including:

- Homeowner was served properly in the foreclosure action;
- Final foreclosure judgment was entered;
- Appeal period has been exhausted; and
- Home has been purchased by someone unaffiliated with the lender or former owner.

For more information on the Fair Foreclosure Act, visit our website www.dsalegalgroup.com.

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Florida Foreclosures Decline by 41,000 in One Year

Florida Foreclosures still rank at the top of the national heap when it comes to completed foreclosures.

Lenders closed on 66,071 Florida Foreclosures during the 12-month period ended in April, accounting for 14 percent of all seized properties in the U.S., data provider CoreLogic said.

That was nearly 20,000 more Florida foreclosures than second-place Michigan, but it was also 41,435 fewer than the previous year's foreclosures in Florida.

Florida Foreclosures tied for fourth in the total percentage of distressed properties, with 2.0 percent of the state's homes in some stage of the foreclosure process.

Florida foreclosure inventory is down from 2.9 percent over the year, but it remains nearly double the U.S. average of 1.1 percent.

Nationwide, 461,615 foreclosures were completed nationwide in past year.

When it comes to Florida foreclosures, 4.6 percent of all home mortgages are considered seriously delinquent – at least 90 days past due – which was the third highest rate in the nation. But that declined from 6.5 percent over the year.

Those homeowners are considered most at risk to fall into foreclosure.

The U.S. rate was 3.0 percent, the lowest level since October 2007.

"The recovery in home prices and improved labor market have contributed to the drop in seriously delinquent rates," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Over the 12 months through April, the CoreLogic Home Price Index for the U.S. rose 6.2 percent and the labor market gained 2.6 million jobs. We also found that the seriously delinquent rate fell by about three-quarters of a percentage point."

New Jersey led the nation with a foreclosure rate of 3.7 percent, followed by New York at 3.2 percent and Hawaii at 2.2 percent.

Copyright © 2016 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla., John Hielscher. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC source


OCWEN Ordered to Stop Foreclosures for Failure to Comply With National Mortgage Settlement

After posting a massive loss for the first quarter of 2016, the nonbank has run afoul of the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement and is now forbidden from taking foreclosure actions on more than 17,000 loans.

According to Joseph Smith, the monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, Ocwen is not yet back in compliance with one of the performance metrics of the National Mortgage Settlement that it failed in the second half of 2014.

According to Smith, Ocwen has not fully remedied the issues that led to the compliance failure.

Smith’s office stated that Ocwen “was delayed” in implementing its Corrective Action Plan for the failure of Metric 31 because of “difficulties in resolving the technical issues that led to the original fail.”  And because of those issues, Ocwen must place 17,496 loans that "could have been affected" by this issue on foreclosure hold. 

“While Ocwen has made progress toward correcting a number of past fails, it has not resolved its issues that led to its failure of Metric 31,” Smith said.  “Therefore, I will not allow Ocwen to move forward with foreclosures on any borrowers who could have been affected by this failure until each of these borrowers has correct information and a chance to appeal,” Smith continued.

According to Smith’s office, the hold will not be lifted until every borrower who could have been affected gets correct information and a chance to appeal.

Smith’s office stated it recently received and approved Ocwen’s Corrective Action Plan for Metric 31, and that Ocwen has implemented the plan.

Smith said that if his office determines that Ocwen’s CAP has indeed been implemented, testing of the issue will resume in the second quarter of 2016.

“Despite its progress, Ocwen continues to have work to do,” Smith said. “I will continue my efforts to review Ocwen’s compliance with the NMS and resolve any outstanding issues. I will report to the Court and the public on these efforts in the coming months.”

But it’s not all bad news for Ocwen in the eyes of Smith and the NMS.

Smith’s office stated that Ocwen has provided 23,000 borrowers with more than $2 billion in consumer relief, which fulfills its consumer relief obligation under the NMS.

“As a result of my review of the (Ocwen’s internal review group’s) work papers for Ocwen’s claimed consumer relief credit through Sept. 30, 2015, I have credited Ocwen with $1,246,442,217 toward its consumer relief obligation,” Smith said. “In total, I have credited Ocwen with $2,127,661,401 in consumer relief credit and have determined that Ocwen has exceeded its consumer relief obligations.”

Smith also stated that Ocwen did not fail any of the compliance metrics tested during the first half of 2015 and continues to work on corrective action plans designed to fix past fails.

In a statement, Ocwen said the company is pleased with the progress it has made.

“Ocwen is pleased that the Monitor’s second compliance report determined that we have passed all tested metrics in the first and second quarters of 2015,” the company said.

“These results confirm that we have implemented the appropriate actions to be compliant with our obligations under the National Mortgage Settlement,” the company continued.

‘Ocwen has made significant investments in our risk and compliance management infrastructure to ensure that we are fully compliant with all rules and regulations related to our business,” the company said. “We will continue to work closely with the Monitor and look forward to the next report.”

In fact, Smith’s office stated that Ocwen completed its Global Corrective Action Plan, which is a plan to correct a variety of letter-dating issues previously uncovered.

Smith also said that the Corrective Action Plans for Metrics 7, 8, 19 and 23 also are complete.

According to Smith's office:

  • Metric 7 evaluates the timeliness, accuracy and completeness of pre-foreclosure initiation notification letters sent to borrowers
  • Metric 8 tests whether the servicer complied with servicing standards regarding the propriety of default-related fees (e.g., property preservation fees, valuation fees and attorneys’ fees) collected from borrowers
  • Metric 19 tests whether the servicer complied with servicing standards regarding timeliness for responding to borrowers about missing or incomplete information
  • Metric 23 tests the servicer’s compliance with the requirement to notify borrowers of any missing documents within 30 days of a borrower’s request for a short sale

“The Monitor’s latest Consumer Relief Report is another positive step for Ocwen, and confirms our commitment to providing real solutions to struggling homeowners,” the company said.

“Our work with distressed borrowers will not end just because we have exceeded our NMS obligations,” the company continued.

“Families across the country are still being impacted by the financial crisis,” the company concluded. “Ocwen will continue to work with our customers, especially those facing foreclosure, to find loan modification programs, including principal reduction programs, to help them better afford and remain in their homes.” 

Written by Ben Cane.  This article first appeared on housingwire.com.  Source

Unpaid HOA assessment can lead to foreclosure

Question: What can happen if several homeowners in [an] association do not agree with a special assessment and refuse to pay it?

Answer: Homeowners who do not pay their regular and special assessments are subject to foreclosure. They also could have a personal money judgment entered against them.

If the community takes action, the homeowner would be responsible for attorney fees, interest and administrative fees, in addition to the assessment amount. These costs can add up, and I have seen many instances in which the costs are much more than the unpaid assessment.

This is a serious matter, and many homeowners don't understand the consequences. If you receive a bill you don't agree with, contact the association. If it is not quickly corrected, in writing, pay the bill before continuing to fight the charge. This will stop additional costs from accruing.

I know how frustrating it is to pay for something that you're disputing, but it's important to stop additional fees from building up. You can continue to seek reimbursement without digging yourself into a deeper hole on the chance that the charge is indeed valid.

If enough members of your association dispute a special assessment, or if you think it might have been levied improperly, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

Copyright © 2016 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. source