U.S. sues Quicken Loans over improper FHA loans


The U.S. Justice Department sued Quicken Loans on Thursday alleging the Detroit mortgage lending giant had improperly originated and underwrote mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleges that from September 2007 through December 2011, Quicken knowingly submitted, or caused the submission of, claims for hundreds of improperly underwritten FHA-insured loans.

The government is claiming that Quicken encouraged its employees to disregard FHA rules and falsely certify compliance with underwriting requirements in order to reap the profits from FHA-insured mortgages.

For example, the government’s complaint states that when Quicken received an appraised value for a home that was too low to approve a loan, Quicken often requested a specific new and higher value from the appraiser with no justification for the increase. That practice is prohibited by FHA rules.

Jay Farner, president and […]

New CoreLogic Report Bullish on Home Prices


A new report from analytics firm CoreLogic predicts that national home prices will experience a healthy rise from January 2015 to January 2016.

The report predicts a 4.9% bump for national home prices, which is actually less than the 5.7% year-over-year increase experienced by national prices from January 2014 to January 2015. Excluding distressed sales, prices rose 5.6% during that same period.

“House price appreciation has generally been stronger in the Western half of the nation and weakest in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states,” CoreLogic chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a press release.

“In part, these trends reflect the strength of regional economies. Colorado and Texas have had stronger job creation and have seen 8% to 9% price gains over the past 12 months in our combined indexes.”

“A dearth of supply in many parts of the country is a big factor driving […]

More Consumers Applying for Home Equity Lines of Credit


In a reflection of the recovering housing market, consumer demand for home equity lines of credit is surging, according to the Consumer Banker Association’s Home Equity Lending Committee.

As of March 15, HELOC originations have grown 36% over the year prior, the CBA found in market analysis performed in coordination with analytics firm Icon Advisory Group. HELOC applications grew 25% in 2014.

“With recovering home values and improving consumer confidence, we are seeing an increase in demand for HELOCs from qualified borrowers,” said Nancy Elkus, vice president and senior consumer lending product manager at Fifth Third Bank and chair of CBA’s Home Equity Lending Committee, in a news release. The results of the market analysis were first presented at CBA LIVE 2015.

Attractive interest rates have also contributed to the growth in demand, the study found. Borrowers seeking these lines of credit also have an improved profile with […]

Rising Rents Are Finally Forcing Millennials to Buy Houses


Americans in their 20s and early 30s are getting a nudge toward homeownership a decade after sales peaked during the housing bubble. It’s not their nagging parents. It’s rents. They’ve risen so much that buying is making more sense.

“I pay $1,410 in rent for my one-bedroom apartment in downtown Denver,” said Eric Arther, 28, who has saved about $30,000 for a down payment. “If I pay that much, I’d like to build some equity.”

Expect the open-house crowds to skew a little younger during this year’s spring homebuying season. Millennials made up 32 percent of the U.S. housing market in 2014, up from 28 percent two years earlier, and have pulled ahead of the older Generation X as the largest segment of buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Purchases by younger buyers are likely to grow gradually […]

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