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Consumer News and Advice Archive


Company Spotlight: Using the 203k Program, Lowe’s Helps Home Buyers Renovate New Homes

RISMEDIA, January 22, 2010—When Maitland, Florida residents Sean and Catherine Woods found their “dream home,” they thought their search was over. Filled with what Sean Woods describes as “tons of bells and whistles,” including a $30,000 kitchen, they were sure this was it—until the home inspection. ...


Regional Spotlight: Fannie Mae Targets Hard-Hit Florida Condo Market With Looser Lending Standards

RISMEDIA, January 21, 2010—(MCT)—In hopes of reviving one of the nation's hardest-hit condominium markets, the giant mortgage backer Fannie Mae is making it easier for people to buy Florida condos that may not have met previous lending standards. ...


HUD Takes Action to Speed Resale of Foreclosed Properties to New Owners

RISMEDIA, January 19, 2010—In an effort to stabilize home values and improve conditions in communities where foreclosure activity is high, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced a temporary policy that will expand access to FHA mortgage insurance and allow for the quick resale of foreclosed properties. The announcement is part ...


Mortgage Modifications Double in December 2009

RISMEDIA, January 19, 2010—(MCT)-After a month of intense pressure on banks and other mortgage servicers, the Obama administration recently reported improvement in its much-criticized program to reduce mortgage payments to stave off foreclosures. ...


Internal Revenue Service Releases New Home Buyer Credit Form

RISMEDIA, January 19, 2010—The Internal Revenue Service recently released the new form that eligible home buyers need to claim the first-time home buyer credit this tax season and announced processing of those tax returns will begin in mid-February. The IRS also announced new documentation requirements to deter fraud related to ...


U.S. Consumer Confidence Reaches Highest Level Since September 2008

RISMEDIA, January 19, 2010—After declining throughout much of 2009, American consumer confidence improved sharply in January 2010, returning to levels not seen since the financial crisis began in September 2008, according to the most recent results of the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index. Driven by the ...


U.S. Housing Values Continued to Show Stabilization in November 2009

RISMEDIA, January 18, 2010—U.S. home values in November 2009 showed continued stabilization when compared to previous months, with the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) down slightly (-0.1%) from October, and down 5% from levels a year ago. The ZHVI was $190,000 at the end in November, down 21% ...


Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Ticks Downward in December 2009

RISMEDIA, January 16, 2010—The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index dipped slightly in December 2009, primarily due to a decline in real wages, but it remains near its highest level since 2004. The Index attempts to track consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending. ...


Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Launches Home Buyer Tax Credit Website

RISMEDIA, January 15, 2010—Helping home buyers easily understand the home buyer tax credit is the goal of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty with the launch of its new home buyer tax credit website, the company has announced. The website (www.homebuyertaxcredit.com) provides buyers with extensive information and analysis ...


New Year Brings New Lows in Home Price Reduction Levels, Says Trulia

RISMEDIA, January 14, 2010—Trulia.com recently announced that 21% of homes currently on the market in the United States as of January 1, 2010 have experienced at least one price cut. This represents the second straight month price reduction levels have decreased and the lowest level since Trulia started tracking price ...


RealtyTrac Year-End Report Shows Record 2.8 Million U.S. Properties with Foreclosure Filings in 2009

RISMEDIA, January 14, 2010—RealtyTrac, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, recently released its Year-End 2009 Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 3,957,643 foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 2,824,674 U.S. properties in 2009, a 21% increase in total properties from ...


Fannie Mae Adopts New REO Policy

RISMEDIA, January 11, 2010—In an effort to expedite REO sales, Fannie Mae has adopted a new policy. As part of this policy, Fannie Mae may accept offers to purchase homes it has repossessed without notifying loan servicers, and loan servicers may be required to reimburse Fannie Mae for a loss ...


6 Home Trends You Can Bank on in 2010

RISMEDIA, January 9, 2010—(MCT)—Is glamour dying? At the very least, it's being redefined during an uncertain economy. "There's a change away from the hip modernism we've borrowed from hotels with all the Lucite, mirrored furnishings and bright yellow and turquoise geometric carpets," said interior designer Peter Dunham of Los Angeles, ...


Wish List for a Better 401k

RISMEDIA, January 8, 2010—(MCT)—Data from Fidelity Investments show that more participants increased the amount they were saving in the second quarter 2009 than decreased it. And account balances at the end of the second quarter were up 13.5% from the first quarter. The market's bullish rise definitely had something to ...


Pending Home Sales Down from Surge but Higher than a Year Ago

RISMEDIA, January 7, 2010—Contract activity for pending home sales fell after a surge of activity in preceding months to beat the original deadline for the first-time home buyer tax credit but remains comfortably above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. ...


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