February 2014

Fixed Mortgage Rates Edging Higher

After falling for the better part of two months, fixed mortgage rates are once again moving higher. Freddie Mac said on Friday that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage edged up to 4.37 percent this week, from 4.33 percent last week. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed rate average rose to 3.39 percent, from 3.35 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates edged up with new home sales exceeding expectations and rising to a seasonally adjusted pace of 468,000 units in January, the strongest annual rate since July 2008,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist.

Here We Go Again – Bank Of America Investigated By Justice Department

Bank of America is once again under investigation by elements within the US Department of Justice.  BofA, the second largest bank in the US, confirmed that the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York is investigating whether the bank knowingly defrauded the rules of the Federal Housing Agency’s Direct Endorsement Program.

Rupert Murdoch Spends $57 Million On New York City Penthouse Suite

Some people will ask themselves the question of ‘why should I buy this,’ and the answer is often a simple – why not?  This was a question put before Rupert Murdoch, one of the world’s wealthiest business owners, when he made the most expensive real estate purchase in New York City, south of 57th street.

Murdoch divorced his previous wife, Wendi Deng last year after a six month separation, and Deng received their penthouse New York City condo in the divorce.  But rather than haggle for an affordable mortgage on a new suite in the city, Murdoch decided to simplify the process.


Why Are Car Insurance Rates In Detroit Higher Than The Rest Of The US?

The city of Detroit had a difficult year in 2013 after the city declared the largest municipal bankruptcy case in the history of the US.  A state appointed judge declared Detroit’s $18.5 billion debt repayment plans were unachievable, causing infrastructure projects to fall apart and thousands of residents to abandon the city.

Unfortunately the bad news is continuing to roll into Detroit this year.  A survey regarding car insurance rates in 125 of the largest cities in the US concluded that annual premiums are higher in Detroit than any other metropolitan area in the country.

Will Privacy And Security Make You Want To Buy The New Blackphone?

Revelations about the NSA spying on homegrown Americans raised questions about where to draw the line between privacy and national security.  The issue reached a new level of controversy when leaks revealed that the NSA was using metadata from phone calls, text messages, and emails to monitor American smartphones.


Serious Apple Security Flaw Leaves User Info Vulnerable to Hackers

Apple Inc. announced this past Friday that most of its recent products, including iPhones, iPads and iPods, contain a major security flaw that puts users at risk of hacker attacks.

Those using the iPhone 4 or later model, the iPad 2 and later, as well as the 5th-generation iPod touch, should download new software patches and iOS updates that Apple has released to combat the security flaw. And the problem doesn’t end with mobile devices – experts say that Mac computers are even more vulnerable to hacker attacks.


Confusion and Controversy Continues to Surround Ride-Sharing Firms

As ride-sharing services like Airbnb, Lyft, and UberX have increased in popularity in the US, regulators continue to be somewhat confused in the face of this new “sharing economy”.

Economists Point to Weather as U.S. Home Sales Disappoint

Existing home sales took another nosedive in January, hitting an 18-month low. The National Association of Realtors(NAR) said Friday that sales dropped 5.1 percent on the month, to an annual rate of 4.62 million units. Economists blamed the disappointing numbers on cold winter weather and rising mortgage rates, although a close look at the data suggest these factors do not account entirely for the recent weakness in housing.

Remember To Review The Fine Print On Your Credit Card Agreements

Do you read the fine print on a contract when you sign for your new credit card?  Reading the document all the way through may be in your best interests, as certain clauses identify when credit card debt collectors can come knocking on your door.

Capital One is in the spotlight due to the fine print in its own credit card agreements.  According to investigators, the document makes note that any representative from the company can “contact you in any manner we choose at your home, and at your place of employment.”


Keeping Up With The Mortgage More Affordable In Major US Cities

Good news is on the horizon for eager homebuyers across the country.  The level of affordability is on the rise in many of the largest metropolitan centers in the US as average home prices fall, and low mortgage rates remain well below historic norms.