Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Five leading economists weigh in and the answer may surprise you partners with Google to predict housing trends

Nowcast will predict in real time

The New York Times rambles, and mangles mortgages along the way

Mortgage finance and mortgage regulation aren’t the paper’s strong suits

Freddie to help servicers automate new mortgage mods

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Freddie Mac mortgage servicers will be able to evaluate borrowers for the new Standard Modification on their desktops beginning Dec. 12, according to a bulletin sent Monday. Freddie launched the Standard Modification as an alternative for those who fail out of the Home Affordable Modification Program. Trial period plans began in October, but servicers aren't required to assess a borrower for the workout until January. In order for a borrower to qualify for a Standard Modification, he or she must be at least 60 days delinquent. If they've missed fewer payments or are current, he or she must be an owner-occupant, in imminent default and provide a hardship document. The borrower must have already been evaluated for HAMP within 12 months of the Standard Modification. Mortgages on homes without an owner-occupant can be eligible, even vacant homes that cannot be condemned. Roughly 1.7 million were declined a HAMP trial due to ineligibility or lacked documentation as of September. Another 600,000 borrowers have been canceled out of HAMP trials. Roughly 650,000 of both canceled HAMP trials and rejected applications ended up in a servicer's alternative modification program. With the Workout Prospector software, Freddie said servicers effectively automate the decision making process by granting them access to data and automatic property valuations – vital for net-present-value tests. "This enhancement will further support automation of your servicing processes for this new modification," Freddie said in the directive to servicers. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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