All Articles Tagged "down payments"
(Wall Street Journal) — The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers. Last week, the Obama administration called for gradually raising down payments to a minimum of 10% on conventional loans, meaning those that can be bought or guaranteed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And mortgage data show that private lenders are already pushing sharply higher the required down payments, mainly to mitigate their risk as home prices continue to fall.
The median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22% last year on properties purchased through conventional mortgages, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by real-estate portal Zillow.com. That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997. The move to force home buyers to lay out more cash is driven mostly by banks, who have found that larger down payments discourage delinquencies by increasing the buyers’ exposure to loss and reducing the impact of declining prices. Many home buyers placed little, if anything, down during the boom.
(Smart Money) — Never borrow against a 401(k) . Avoid credit cards. Make a bigger down payment on your home or apartment to avoid paying extra mortgage interest. These are among the tried-and-true financial rules consumers have been told to live by for years. But now – with interest rates still low and credit staging a comeback – might be a good time to break them. This solid financial advice isn’t suddenly all wrong, but many of these axioms no longer result in higher savings or less debt. That’s because the economic recovery has opened up more exceptions and loopholes to standard advice, says David Peterson, president of Peak Capital Investment Services, a financial planning firm. Advisers, for example, typically discouraged clients from taking a loan from their 401(k) – but this is now the cheapest way to borrow money, with the average rate at 4.25%, lower than most personal loans, to pay back debt they racked up during the recession. But as some parts of the economy have improved — equities are once again outperforming fixed income, banks are slowly returning to lending, and consumers are spending more — the rules for making and saving money are changing, at least temporarily. Here are four traditional money rules you can break—at least for now.