Foreclosures drive down the price of homes and hinder the recovery of the market. Sadly, there seems to be no shortage of foreclosures on the horizon. A recent report by RealtyTrac, a web-based marketplace for foreclosure properties, concludes that more than a quarter of all home sales in the U.S. are foreclosures. Coupled with last week’s dismal jobs report, the data reinforces the picture of an already-sluggish economic recovery continuing to tap its brakes.
Foreclosures on the rise
The company’s quarterly Foreclosure Sales Report last week reported that 26 percent of all homes sold in the U.S. during the first quarter of [...]
All aboard for the next U.S. financial crisis! Student loan debt is being called the next great bubble, and experts claim the continued rising cost of higher education will set that bubble to burst as borrowers who cannot keep up with payments lapse into default. For those who receive student loans but wish to leap off the debt train before it leaves the station, here’s how to cancel your federal student loan without penalty.
Read the fine print
In Federal student loan documents, a provision exists which informs the borrower that they may cancel all or part of a student loan before [...]
“Spot delivery” or “yo-yo financing” is when an auto dealer allows a buyer with poor credit to take possession of a vehicle before finalizing the finances. While it may be enormously gratifying for the consumer to drive away in a new car immediately, it also allows disreputable dealers to stick him or her with higher interest and/or down payment when the financing falls through.
Consumer groups frown on practice
Many consumer groups have lobbied to enact legislation preventing auto dealers from letting cars go before the financing is in place. Negativeequityauto.com says, “Yo-yo financing is one of the worst problems that plagues [...]
It seems like Democrat and Republican politicians never see eye-to-eye on anything. But this week, President Obama and Mitt Romney both agreed that the rate for Stafford student loans should not go up. But Congress may still not be buying it, at the expense of the nation’s young people.
Romney gets heat from conservatives
Mitt Romney, while expressing his solidarity with President Obama in regard to the Stafford loan rate issue, never fails to blame the president’s economic policies for new grads being unable to find work. Even so, he is taking heat from some conservative Republicans, who see the stand as [...]
President Obama is currently traveling the nation, appealing to college crowds about an impending student loan rate hike. Ironically, Mitt Romney is saying pretty much the same thing on the issue.
President appeals to college students
President Obama made his pitch on college campuses in Boulder, Colo., and Chapel Hill, N.C., earlier this week. He is scheduled to speak at the University of Iowa on Wednesday. Obama carried all three states in 2008.
The president told a young crowd at the University of North Carolina that he and Michelle had been in their shoes, exiting college with a massive loan debt:
“College education is [...]
The economic downturn, rising tuition costs and the burden of student loans have paved the way for a more economical way of getting that all-important sheepskin. Many colleges and universities are now offering — or considering offering — fast-track three-year bachelor’s degree programs.
Other colleges considering option
Grace College and Seminary, Baldwin-Wallace College, American University, Lesley University and St. John’s University all began offering three-year bachelor’s degrees in the fall of 2011, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. And, according to NAICU president Tony Pals, other colleges are considering the option.
“The economic downturn has encouraged more students [...]
Tuition prices keep going up, and if Congress doesn’t act before July, the interest rate for some federally subsidized student loans will double. The burden of student debt hinders success in the early years of many careers. But there is another way to learn a profession without diving into the debt pool. Apprenticeships are on the rise in the U.K., and that trend may be crossing the Atlantic.
Student loan burden
A college graduate in the U.S. generally leaves school owing $25,000 in student loans. The current 3.4 percent rate on the federally subsidized Stafford loans will go up to 6.8 percent [...]
More than 130,000 letters from college students were hand-delivered to Congress Tuesday, urging lawmakers to not allow the rate of student loans to double when Democrat-supported legislation from 2007 expires this summer. Congress says the nation cannot afford to keep the rates low. Democrats say it can’t afford not to.
Lower rates expire unless Congress acts
The current 3.4 percent rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans will go up to 6.8 percent if Congress does not act to stop it. Stafford loans are extended to low- to middle-income students. In 2007, the Democrat-controlled Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act [...]
Homes in foreclosure, or approaching foreclosure, made up nearly one-fourth of all U.S. residential home sales in the final quarter of 2011, according to a new report by RealtyTrac. Lenders have been approving more short sales and cutting their losses.
Up for quarter, down for year
In the third quarter of 2011, only 20 percent of residential property sales involved homes in foreclosure or about to face foreclosure. The report, released Thursday, however, said that number had risen in the last quarter to 24 percent. But that is still lower than the 26 percent recorded a year prior.
RealtyTrac’s CEO, Brandon Moore, said [...]
Tax refund loans, aka refund anticipation loans (RAL), are short-term loans granted to the taxpayer by a third-party lender based upon one’s expected federal tax refund amount. Once the consumer receives the actual tax refund, the necessary portion of it is automatically siphoned off to repay the RAL lender, including heavy loan origination fees. These loans used to be more popular, but as recent laws and lender figures indicate, refund anticipation loans have nearly faded away.
Faxless payday loans can be cheaper than RALs.
A steady decline in tax refund loans
The efforts of a wide variety of consumer advocacy groups have successfully [...]
The mortgage rates for 30-year loans dipped in the U.S. to record low levels last week. Home sales remain incongruously low. Still, there are some signs of improvement in the housing market.
Lowest on record
Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.91 percent. That is down from the 3.94 percent recorded the previous week. It is the lowest such figure on records that go back to the 1950s.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage kept pace with last week’s 3.21 percent. That also is a record [...]
Students who graduated college in 2010 owe an average of 5 percent more for their student loans than those who graduated the year before. The findings were released Thursday in a report from the Institute for College Access & Success Project on Student Debt. According to the report, 2010 college graduates owed, on average, $25,250 when they received their diplomas last year.
Varies according to state
The debt varied according to state, said the report. In Utah, the average debt was $15,509, whereas in New Hampshire it was a staggering $31,048.
Non-profit schools examined
The report examined student loan data from 1,000 public and [...]
Student loans have overtaken credit cards as the nation’s chief source of long term debt. To address this trend, the White House announced a new initiative Wednesday to reduce that burden. The initiative is one of several moves the president is making to boost the economy without the support of Congressional Republicans.
‘Make a big difference’
Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussed the initiative with reporters on Tuesday:
“These are real savings that will help graduates get started in their careers. These changes could make a big difference in the lives of current college students and recent graduates as they enter one of toughest [...]
President Obama’s deficit reduction plan would allow debt collectors to call the cell phones of people who are late on government-backed loans. These loans include most mortgages, back taxes and federal student loans. Currently, debt collectors are only allowed to call landline home telephones.
Increased reliance on cell phones
The administration believes the move is a necessary one in light of the increasing reliance on cell phones. The provision reads:
“The Administration … proposes … facilitating contact of delinquent debtors who are most readily reached on their cell phones. This provision is expected to provide substantial increases in collections particularly as an increasing [...]