August 2013

Mortgage Applications Falling As Mortgage Interest Rates Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, one of the largest housing analyst groups in the country, found demand for home loans fell for a third consecutive week ending August 23.  The decline was caused in part by mortgage rates reaching their highest point this year, which itself is due to speculation that the Federal Reserve’s downward pressure on rates is coming to an end.


Weekly Headlines Invoke Stay The Course To Sustain Housing Recovery

30-year fixed mortgage rates closed at their highest level in years this week.  HUD praised federal housing programs for supporting near bankrupt homeowners in the aftermath of the recession.  Plus, mortgage insurers and credit card companies are using the social media connections of applicants to determine if they qualify for approval.


NTSB Chairman Wants Black Boxes Installed On All Driverless Vehicles

The Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board wants Google’s self-driving cars collecting data analyzing the moments that lead up to car crashes across the US.  Deborah Hersman says the vehicles must be tested for their safety and durability on the road, but also should include mandatory recording devices, similar to black boxes found on airplanes.

“Data capture is going to help you understand if there is a vehicle problem, or if it’s a human factors issue.  There’s very little we can do to understand what happened or didn’t happen if there’s no survivor.”

HUD Presents Data Showcasing Success Of Federal Housing Programs

The White House credits housing support programs created in the wake of the housing crash with the current recovery underway.  New data from the Housing and Urban Development Department indicates that homeowners in Arizona, one of the hardest hit markets during the housing crash, are savings thousands of dollars by refinancing with government programs.


Tech Firms Use Social Media To Assess Credit Scores Of Loan Applicants

A growing number of small tech companies are using social media data to help lenders approve or reject loan applicants.  Financial companies believe that a person’s connections on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can help determine their credit scores as well as whether to approve them for mortgages.


Employer Funded Health Insurance Premiums Rise 4 Percent This Year

The upcoming Obamacare reform and online health insurance exchanges are very divisive depending on the state.  But new information about employer-funded healthcare could encourage more American families to support the healthcare reform act.

Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), studied the effects of rising annual premiums for employer-funded health insurance.  The data shows that premiums rose on average by 4 percent in the past year, and by nearly 80 percent since 2003.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Investigation Launched Following Vehicle Fires

Owners of Chrysler’s 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs are advised to contact auto safety regulators as well as their car insurance providers.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an investigation into three separate cases where the vehicle ceilings unexpectedly caught on fire.

The investigation was announced after the three drivers contacted the government about the dangerous incidents.  The probe could result in ramifications for up to 146,000 different SUVs, though investigators state it is still too early to issue a mandatory recall.

Fake Car Insurance Cards Mean Higher Rates For Floridians

Tampa Police Captain Mike Byrne cautions drivers across Florida that they could easily end up in an accident with another driver who is on the road without insurance.

According to DMVs across Florida, up to 25 percent of drivers are on the road without adequate car insurance.  Uninsured drivers are able to get away without coverage due to fake insurance cards sold by scammers across the state.

A Week Of Interesting Financial Headlines

Mortgage rates rose once again this week, exceeding a two year high set in July.  The housing recovery is admittedly less robust than economists were expecting, but the market is still benefitting a number of related industries.  Meanwhile, online health insurance exchanges are preparing to go live, but one state is promoting their exchange in a very folksy manner.

Mortgage Application And Refinancing Slowing Down Amid Higher Rates

US mortgage rates are on the rise, while home loan refinancing applications are slowing down.  Rates remain low compared to historical highs, but strong language from the Federal Reserve regarding the country’s economic future is accelerating the recent rise in rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association notes that the volume of mortgage applications and refinancing activity is declining.  By the end of Friday August 16, the number of mortgage applications had declined for the second straight week, down approximately 5 percent from the previous week.