House prices continue to fall

House prices continue to fall

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House prices continue to fall

Category: Mortgages
Date: 28/09/2011

House prices fell by 0.3% in England and Wales in August, meaning values have dropped in three of the last four months.

The figures from the Land Registry show that house prices have fallen by 2.6% over the last 12 months, taking the average price of a property to £162,347.

The only region in England and Wales to have recorded a rise in prices over the last year is London , where values have increased by 2.1%.

Somebody buying a home in the capital can now expect to part with around £348,700 – way in excess of the national average.

The next most expensive place to buy a property is the South East, where the average price stands at £207,189.

By contrast, the cheapest place to buy a property in England and Wales is the North East, where the average property is on the market for around £101,759.

As well as falling values, the number of homes actually being snapped up has decreased.

In March to June last year, there was an average of 54,650 sales per month.

However, in the same months in 2011, the figure fell by around 9%, down to 49,785 sales per month.

The Land Registry said that the number of homes being bought in the UK and Wales over the past six months has remained relatively consistent.

Today's figures represent more evidence that the housing market in the UK is in something of a subdued state, with the amount of activity well down on long term trends.

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Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Landlords thriving from rental boom

Landlords thriving from rental boom

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Landlords thriving from rental boom

Category: Mortgages
Date: 28/09/2011

Landlords are benefiting from a booming rental market, with their income increasing for the third quarter in a row.

More than a third (34%) of landlords reported that they have increased their incomes from their property portfolios, figures from Paragon show.

Figures in July revealed that rents had risen above the £700 per month mark for the first time ever in the UK .

Just over 10% of landlords said their rental income had increased by between 2% and 4%, whilst 13% of landlords increased rents above that level.

Only 4% of the landlords surveyed said they had experienced a decrease in their rental income.

Almost four out of 10 (39%) professional landlords said their rental income had increased during quarter three, whilst 75% of smaller-scale landlords reported little change, with their rental income remaining the same.

"Tenant demand has been growing for a number of years, but in recent months it has accelerated considerably," said Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon.

"With tenant demand only looking to increase further in the coming months, landlords are likely to continue to experience increases in their rental income, especially given that 49% of landlords said they expect demand to further increase in the next 12 months."

The rental sector has been boosted by a significant increase in the number of buy-to-let mortgages.

Product numbers hit a peak of 587 in July and finished August at 502, meaning the sector has almost doubled in size from the same point last year when there were 276 buy-to-let accounts.

In addition, today's Credit Conditions Survey from the Bank of England reported that there has been a sizeable pick up in demand for buy-to-let mortgages over the past three months.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Aldermore does the variable savings business

Aldermore does the variable savings business

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Aldermore does the variable savings business

Category: Savings
Date: 28/09/2011

Aldermore has dramatically improved the rate paid on its Variable Easy Access account.

The savings account now offers 2.85%, a rise from 1.35%, which is a market-leading rate for a non internet no notice account without a bonus.

The guarantee to be at least 1.80% above base rate until 1 March 2013 is a plus, while the monthly option at 2.81% is also highly competitive.

Four out of five Moneyfacts stars have been awarded.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Saga makes savings pay for the over 50s

Saga makes savings pay for the over 50s

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Saga makes savings pay for the over 50s

Category: Savings
Date: 27/09/2011

Saga has unveiled a new range of fixed rate bonds aimed specifically at the over 50s.

Paying 4.20%, the three year fixed rate savings account is only just shy of being the best deal in its field.

The minimum investment required is £1, while additional investments can be made whilst the issue remains open.

Early access to funds is allowed, albeit with the loss of up to 270 days' interest.

Four out of five Moneyfacts stars are well deserved.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

European shares rebound

European shares rebound

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European shares rebound

Category: Investments
Date: 27/09/2011

Shares across the European Union and further afield bounced back today, as renewed optimism spread about the future of the economy.

The upturn followed a weekend of talks at the G20 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A number of proposals were reported to have been discussed, including expanding the scale of the bail-out fund in the eurozone, boosting some of the continent's key banking institutions that are heavily exposed to defaults and halving the debt currently owed by the ailing Greek economy.

The German Dax index saw the biggest boost, rising by 4.9% at its peak, while the FTSE 100 rose by 3.4% on the back of improving sentiment.

Also in Europe, the French share index, Cac 40, saw its value rise by 4.4% during the day, while the US Dow Jones saw a 2% improvement. Markets in Asia also improved earlier today, with the Japanese Nikkei ending trading up by 2.8%.

There were increases in the value of a number of banks across Europe, with Barclays the big winner in the UK as its share price rose by almost 7%.

The fortunes of the Greek economy should become clearer this week as the country's Prime Minister George Papandreou is to enter talks with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, in a bid to devise a plan to cut the country's increasingly unscalable deficit.

Speaking to German business leaders, the Prime Minister said the current situation represented an opportunity for the Greek economy to implement important reforms.

He told the audience that their contribution could be vital in the 'rebirth' of the Greek nation

In addition, discussions between the European Central Bank and the IMF are due later this week, with a decision to be made on whether Greece should receive its latest instalment of bailout funds.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Derbyshire BS improves Netsaver

Derbyshire BS improves Netsaver

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Derbyshire BS improves Netsaver

Category: Savings
Date: 28/09/2011

A further review by Derbyshire BS has seen its popular internet-operated account's rate increase by 0.07% for the second time this month, making it even more competitive.

The Netsaver account now pays a higher rate of 3.25%, which has been achieved by way of an increase to the bonus (2.25%), leaving the underlying rate unchanged.

It continues to be a market leading no notice internet account and compares very favourably with notice accounts as well.

A review will be required, however, when the bonus expires.

Five out of five Moneyfacts stars are well deserved.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Parents facing child savings shortfall

Parents facing child savings shortfall

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Parents facing child savings shortfall

Category: Savings
Date: 27/09/2011

Children hoping for a healthy windfall come their 18th birthday could be in for a disappointment, as many parents are struggling to save anything for their offspring.

There are also plenty of struggling parents that have had to cut their contributions to their children's savings accounts as the cost of living has spiralled.

The worrying figures, which come from the Co-operative Bank, show that more than a third of parents (36%) have not set up a savings account for their child or children.

And with the cost of many teenage life events such as learning to drive or going to university soaring in cost, many children could face a testing financial future.

Findings show that the average amount saved by parents for their children is £10 a month.

A lucky minority of children are having £50 or more squirreled away for them each month.

But according to James Hilton, head of savings at the bank, putting even a tenner aside a month is worthwhile.

"It might not seem a lot, but saving as little as £10 per month for your child is definitely worthwhile and will help them out in later life," he added

Having abolished Child Trust Funds, the Government is forging ahead with its Child ISA scheme, which is due to be launched in November.

"Hopefully the introduction of tax free savings for children will encourage more parents to put a little aside for their kids," said Mr Hilton.

With many students facing university tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year from 2012 and the average age for first time home buyers on the rise, the majority of parents are plagued by savings guilt.

As many as 65% of mums and dads said they wished they could save more for their children's future than they can currently afford.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

The White House and National Science Foundation Announce New Workplace Flexibility Policies to Support America’s Scientists and Their Families

The White House and National Science Foundation Announce New Workplace Flexibility Policies to Support America’s Scientists and Their Families

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For Immediate Release September 26, 2011 The White House and National Science Foundation Announce New Workplace Flexibility Policies to Support America’s Scientists and Their Families 12:45PM Conference Call with Tina Tchen, John P. Holdren, and Subra Suresh

 
Today, White House Council on Women and Girls Executive Director Tina Tchen, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren, and National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Subra Suresh announced the “NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative,” a 10-year plan to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers.  Among the best practices that NSF will expand  Foundation-wide, are ones that will allow researchers to delay or suspend their grants for up to one year in order to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or fulfill other family obligations. — maximizing current policy to facilitate scientists’ reentry into their professions with minimal loss of momentum.
 
“Jump-starting girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math—the so-called STEM subjects -- and boosting the percentage of women employed in science and engineering is not just the right thing to do but is also the smart thing to do for America’s future and the economy,” said Tina Tchen.

“Too many young women scientists and engineers get sidetracked or drop their promising careers because they find it too difficult to balance the needs of those careers and the needs of their families,” said Subra Suresh. “This new initiative aims to change that, so that the country can benefit from the full range and diversity of its talent.”
 
Later today, First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at a White House event about the importance of supporting and retaining women and girls in STEM careers.  At this East Room event, the NSF will discuss today’s announcement about retaining women in STEM fields. Tune in to www.whitehouse.gov/live to join the event live at 4 pm EDT.
 
“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone,” said Mrs. Obama.  “We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”
 
NSF—which is the leading source of Federal grants for many fields of basic research crucial to US technology development and job creation, including computer science, mathematics, and the social sciences—is also calling upon universities and research institutes to adopt similar policies for their employees and grantees.
 
Women today currently earn 41% of PhD’s in STEM fields, but make up only 28% of tenure-track faculty in those fields.  Reducing the dropout rate of women in STEM careers is especially important in the quest for gender equality because women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and the wage gap between men and women in STEM jobs is smaller than in other fields.
 
NSF has launched targeted workplace flexibility efforts in the past, but the new initiative is the first to be applied Foundation-wide to help postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty members more easily care for dependents while continuing their careers. The new initiative will offer a coherent and consistent set of family-friendly policies and practices to help eliminate some of the barriers to women’s advancement and retention in STEM careers. It will: 

Allow postponement of grants for child birth/adoption – Grant recipients can defer their awards for up to one year to care for their newborn or newly adopted children.Allow grant suspension for parental leave – Grant recipients who wish to suspend their grants to take parental leave can extend those grants by a comparable duration at no cost.Provide supplements to cover research technicians – Principal investigators can apply for stipends to pay research technicians or equivalent staff to maintain labs while PIs are on family leave.Publicize the availability of family friendly opportunities – NSF will issue announcements and revise current program solicitations to expressly promote these opportunities to eligible awardees.Promote family friendliness for panel reviewers – STEM researchers who review the grant proposals of their peers will have greater opportunities to conduct virtual reviews rather than travel to a central location, increasing flexibility and reducing dependent-care needs.Support research and evaluation – NSF will continue to encourage the submission of proposals for research that would asses the effectiveness of policies aimed at keeping women in the STEM pipeline.Leverage and Expand Partnerships -- NSF will leverage existing relationships with academic institutions to encourage the extension of the tenure clock and allow for dual hiring opportunities.

The Administration has been highly focused on the goal of increasing the participation of women and girls in STEM fields. The White House has encouraged and celebrated the participation of girls and women in STEM fields through initiatives like Educate to Innovate, which, among other goals, focuses on improving STEM education for underrepresented groups, including girls, and the President’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition, which rewards states that develop strategies to broaden the participation of women and girls and others underrepresented in science and engineering. To achieve this, states applying for these funds receive competitive preference if they demonstrate efforts to address barriers to full participation of women and girls in these fields.

The President has appointed a strong team of women leaders to his Cabinet and White House staff, including several female scientists including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (an engineer), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco (a marine scientist), US Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt (a geophysicist), and Director of the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Regina Dugan (a mechanical engineer).

The White House has also been committed to making the government a model employer in the area of workplace flexibility. In March of 2010, The President’s Council of Economic Advisors issued its first ever report on the economic benefits of workplace flexibility, concluding that it strengthens a company’s bottom line while helping workers meet the needs of their families and stay in the workforce. The President hosted a White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility and the Department of Labor led subsequent efforts around the country to promote workplace flexibility and generate best practices in the private sector. To strengthen the government’s position as a model employer in this area, the President signed the Telework Enhancement Act, which requires Federal agencies to take a number of significant steps to promote the use of telework, including appointing a senior telework managing officer in each Federal agency.

Several independent organizations and academic associations today announced initiatives in coordination with NSF and the White House, adding momentum to a nationwide shift that promises to strengthen the US economy and job security even as it strengthens families across the country. Among them:

The White House Council on Women and Girls and Office of Science and Technology Policy are launching a “Women in STEM Speakers Bureau.” Designed to spark the interest of girls in grades 6-12 through engagement with women-scientist role models at the top of their fields, the Speakers Bureau will deploy top Administration female STEM specialists to roundtables with students across the country.The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity will announce an expansion of its signature initiative, the STEM Equity Pipeline, to provide professional development training for high-school and community college faculty and staff in STEM fields.The Association for Women in Science is launching a new initiative that brings together representatives from government, industry, and academia with the goal of improving STEM workplaces to promote gender equality and retention, re-entry, and re-training for women.The National Girls Collaborative Project will announce the FabFems Project to promote career development for young female STEM students through an online networking platform that will include female educators and professionals in STEM fields.The American Association of University Women will announce the expansion of successful regional programs aimed at engaging girls in STEM subjects to a national level.The Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities will commit to looking for ways that the many institutions they represent can do more to develop, support, and promote more flexible work and learning environments for those in STEM and other disciplines. Blog posts on this issue September 27, 2011 1:49 PM EDTHelping Women Reach their Economic Potential

Advisors Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen's op-ed in the Washington Post on creating economic opportunities for women and girls.

September 26, 2011 7:28 PM EDTFirst Lady Michelle Obama: When You Make Life Easier for Working Parents, It’s a Win for Everyone InvolvedFirst Lady Michelle Obama: When You Make Life Easier for Working Parents, It’s a Win for Everyone Involved

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the importance of supporting and retaining women who choose careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and science, the so-called STEM disciplines.

September 26, 2011 1:31 PM EDTSupporting Scientists at the Lab Bench ... and at Bedtime

Today in the East Room, First Lady Michelle Obama is announcing a National Science Foundation 10-year initiative to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers.

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Terraced home prices up £118 a week since 2001

Terraced home prices up £118 a week since 2001

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Terraced home prices up £118 a week since 2001

Category: Mortgages
Date: 27/09/2011

Terraced homes have soared in value over the last decade, with their prices increasing by £118 each week since 2001.

It means that terraced homes in the UK have risen by more than any other type of property over the last ten years, according to Halifax.

Figures show that owners of terraced properties have seen the value of their property rise by an average of £118 a week over the past decade with the typical price of a terraced home increasing by 68% (£61,489) from £89,843 in the second quarter of 2001 to £151,332 in the second quarter of 2011.

The rise outstrips the overall average rise in UK house prices, which have increased by 53% from £116,325 to £177,740 over the same period.

But terraced homes still compare favourably in price, compared with other types of property.

Indeed, despite terraced properties recording the strongest price growth over the past decade, they remain the most affordable property type.

The price of an average terraced property is 15% below the average UK house price of £177,740 and 45% lower than the price of the average detached home of £273,173.

In 2001, the typical terraced house price was 23% lower than the UK average house price for all properties.

"Although all property types have recorded significant price increases overall during the past decade, terraced homes have seen the biggest growth," said Suren Thiru, housing economist at Halifax.

"Demand for such properties is likely to have been supported by their relatively favourable levels of affordability over the period.

"The rapid house price rises during much of the 2000s priced many potential home movers out of the upper end of the UK housing market."

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

krbs aims to get noticed by savers

krbs aims to get noticed by savers

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krbs aims to get noticed by savers

Category: Savings
Date: 27/09/2011

Krbs has introduced some new notice accounts sure to find favour with savers.

The Internet 60 Day Notice account pays from 2.75% to 3.10% yearly, depending on the amount invested.

The top rate can only be achieved with a £50K investment, while the minimum investment is £1K.

For those not wanting to handle their affairs via the internet, postal and branch operated versions are also available, paying in the range of 2.50% to 2.95% and 2.25% to 2.75% respectively.

Early access to funds is allowed on the loss of 60 days' interest, a feature which is becoming ever rarer in the notice account market.

Four out of five Moneyfacts stars have been awarded.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Struggling first time buyers told to head North

Struggling first time buyers told to head North

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Struggling first time buyers told to head North

Category: Mortgages
Date: 26/09/2011

First time buyers trying to get on the housing ladder stand the best chance of success in the North, according to a new report.

While the average age of a first time buyer in the UK is 29, there can be almost a decade's difference between some areas of the country, research from Halifax has revealed.

The youngest first time buyers are in Selby in North Yorkshire, where the average age is 25, nine years younger than one of the areas with the oldest first time buyers, 34, Harrow in London.

Other areas where the average age of a first time buyer is significantly below the national average are Redcar and Cleveland in the North East, Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria , Bolsover in Derbyshire and South Ribble in Lancashire.

The average age in each of these areas is only 26.

At a regional level, the youngest first time buyers are in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales and Scotland , all with an average age of 28; the oldest are in London (32) and the South East (31).

The research found that average house prices tend to be relatively low in areas with the youngest first time buyers.

Typically, the areas with the youngest first time buyers are also those where housing affordability conditions are the most favourable.

"There are several areas in the country where the average age of first time buyers is three to four years below the national average of 29," said Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Halifax.

"Most of these areas are in northern England where house prices are typically lower both in absolute terms and in relation to earnings, helping to limit the size of the deposit needed.

"In contrast, in London and many areas of the South East the time needed to save up for a deposit can be lengthy, resulting in first time buyers who are typically several years older than in the rest of the country."

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer Service

Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer Service

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shrimp1 e1317063771634 224x300 Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer Service Have you heard of Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster? Of course you have! Once a year, this food chain celebrates the glutton in us all by offering the opportunity to eat as many shrimp as your tummy can handle. My friends and I like to refer to this as “The Most Hilarious Meal of the Year” and look forward to our annual tradition of feasting on shrimp scampi, washing it down with some white wine and spending an hour or so laughing at the ridiculousness of the entire ordeal. It’s a lot of fun.

My friend, Nate, is the only one of us who sets out to beat a personal record. One year, he ate 93 shrimp and this year he was determined to outshrimp himself. We are always a little nervous about attempting this feat at Red Lobster because we’ve heard that this event is not thought of fondly by the waitstaff.

This year, however, we were served by the most wonderful waitress to ever grace the seas of Cheddar Bay. Her name as printed on the receipt was FiFi Dejour and she was fantastic. Rather than cringe and roll her eyes at our silly attempt, FiFi encouraged and rooted for our dear friend Nate. I think that it was because of her moral support that Nate was able to defeat his previous record of 93 shrimp. Nate ate an impressively disgusting amount of shrimp – he sent 94 shrimp swimming in his belly. Take a look at the face of a champion, ladies & gentleman:

shrimp2 e1317064282177 224x300 Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer ServiceFiFi’s encouragement and positive demeanor reminded me a lot of some of our Quicken Loans ISMs. Our ISMs are the values and principles that we abide by on a daily basis. Mainly, I was reminded of “Every client. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.” and “Do the right thing.” FiFi could have been frustrated by our playful treatment of their fine promotion. Instead, she embraced and reflected our excitement and even brought Nate three plates of shrimp at a time (rather than the standard two plates). She told us about her life, her family and the fact that she’s worked at Red Lobster for 20 years (!!!) which makes her demeanor and customer service skills all the more impressive. If you can sling butter filled bowls of shrimp at silly patrons like us for over 20 years and still do it with a smile on your face, you’re definitely doing something right.

So thank you, FiFi for making our trip so pleasant. And thank you Red Lobster for sending our cholesterol levels through the roof. We will see you next year. I’m confident Nate will eat more than 100 shrimp next year (he will forgo the Cheddar Bay biscuits and salad next time) and we will certainly be looking to be seated in FiFi’s section once again.

shrimp3 e1317064787166 224x300 Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer Service

Amber Hunt is a contributor for the Quicken Loans Zing Blog.  Stay connected with us on our Facebook page and our Twitter page to find out all the ways we’re Engineered to Amaze.


bookmark Doing It Right: An Example of Endless Customer Service Having perfected the art of karaoke over the last 10 years, Amber is happy to teach you about karaoke etiquette, song selection and how to "jam" on the mic. If karaoke isn't your thing, Amber can also help you with your personal finance woes. Perhaps she'll even do it in song! Whether you're a Material Girl or if you Work Hard For The Money, Amber’s got you covered.

Source: http://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/feed

The right way to shop for a mortgage

The right way to shop for a mortgage

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Apples

With mortgage rates at all-time lows, U.S. homeowners are refinancing in droves.

If you're among them, you already know that it's important to comparison shop; you shouldn't just work with the first lender you meet. But do you know how to comparison shop, whether it's for a conventional loan, FHA mortgage or otherwise?

Most homeowners don't.

Don't comparison shop by APR

There are lots of ways to shop for a mortgage, but comparison shopping by APR is among the worst of them.

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate.

It's a government-mandated figure meant to show the "true cost" of financing a home over a period of 30 years. However, "true cost" is really equal to your loan size plus the interest paid over 30 years, plus closing costs required for the loan.

Some mortgage lenders will tell you that "the lowest APR is the best loan." That's untrue for three reasons:

The first reason why you can't use APR as a comparison tool is because APR is based on a 30-year loan term with equal payments each month. Very few people keep their loans for 30 years.The second reason why APR fails as a comparison tool is because different lenders use different APR calculations. By including/omitting certain figures from the APR formula, a lender can manipulate its APR to look lower than the nextAnd, lastly, specifically for adjustable-rate mortgages, APR fails. This is because the APR formula has to account for 30 years of payments, but with an adjustable-rate loan, payments are subject to change each year. Lenders don't know in which direction rates will go upon reset, so they guess at it. And when your APR is a "guess," it's no good.

So if you can't use APR to comparison shop a mortgage, what's the best way to shop?

Simple: isolate your variables, then compare.

Solve for a single variable

When you're looking at a Good Faith Estimate, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all the numbers. In fact, some lenders count on it. In the end, though, a Good Faith Estimate comes down to two things:

1. The interest rate the lender will give you

2. The closing costs the lender will charge you

To find your interest rate, look at the Good Faith Estimate's first page.

Midway through the page, "initial interest rate" is clearly labeled. Your closing costs are clearly labeled, too. They're identified as "Your Adjusted Origination Charges."

Beyond these two variables, nothing else is relevant. From lender to lender, the remaining "charges" should be the same; they're all "third-party" charges.

So, now that you have your two variables in isolation, pick the one that's most important to you.

Option 1: Shop by mortgage rate

If getting a certain mortgage rate is most important to you, start by choosing the rate that you want. The rate should be fair and in-line with the current market conditions.

Check out current mortgage rates in your area

Once you've settled on a rate, as you're talking with lenders, be very clear about the mortgage rate that you want. Tell the lender that you're comparison shopping and you want to know the lender fees that are associated with this particular rate.

For example, if you want a 4 percent, 30-year fixed mortgage rate, ask each lender what their "Adjusted Origination Charges" will be at that rate. Speak to four banks, you'll get four answers.

If you're looking for the lowest absolute cost, pick the lender with the lowest fees.

Option 2: Shop by mortgage fees

Getting the absolute lowest mortgage rate isn't important to everyone. Some would rather have the lowest possible closing costs.

If low-cost loans are more your flavor, it's simple to comparison shop by fees, too. Pick the maximum amount of costs you want to pay, and share that figure with your competing lenders.

For example, if you want a zero-cost 30-year fixed rate mortgage, ask each lender what the corresponding interest rate will be. The tradeoff here is that lenders will probably quote you an above-market interest rate to compensate for the lack of origination charges.

The bank with the lowest rate is your "winner."

You can't shop for two variables at once

If you shop around for a mortgage rate and fees at the same time, you leave yourself open to overpaying. Decide which is more important to you--mortgage rates or closing costs--and shop accordingly.

You'll simplify your life (and will likely get a better deal when all is said and done).

DGDan Green is a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the author of the nationally recognized mortgage blog, TheMortgageReports.com. Dan helps clients with purchase and refinance transactions. He posts regular mortgage rate updates on Twitter at @mortgagereports.

image default With mortgage rates at all-time lows, U.S. homeowners are refinancing in droves. If you're among them, you already know that it's important to comparison shop; you shouldn't just work with the first lender you meet. But do you know how to comparison shop, whether it's for a conventional loan, FHA mortgage or otherwise? image default The proverb that "birds of a feather flock together" might explain why some homebuyers and homeowners gravitate toward so-called faith-based lenders when they want to get a new mortgage. image default When you buy a home, you buy neighbors, ammenities, a lifestyle…and a commute. If you're about to commit to a home purchase, apply the brakes until you understand the implications of the home's location, location, location. image default Two years after she moved in, singer Rihanna's $6.9 million castle crumbled, due, she stated in a recently-filed lawsuit, to shoddy construction and faulty design. The singer will undoubtedly have her day in court, but what about those of us who don't have Rihanna's resources? How can we protect ourselves in real estate deals, and who pays when good homes go bad? image default If you want the lowest mortgage rate possible on your next home loan, be ready to close quickly. The quicker you close (in general), the better your loan terms will be.

Source: library.hsh.com

Yorkshire/N&P merger set for November

Yorkshire/N&P merger set for November

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Yorkshire/N&P merger set for November

Category: Banking
Date: 26/09/2011

The merger of Yorkshire Building Society and Norwich & Peterborough (N&P) Building Society has been given the green light by the Financial Services Authority.

In a statement, the regulator confirmed the deal will be completed on 1 November.

The coming together of Yorkshire, the UK 's second largest building society, and N&P, the ninth largest, will create an enlarged society with three million members and 224 branches.

The proposed merger was announced in April and received the approval of N&P's saving and borrowing members in August.

Of the N&P saving and borrowing members who voted, 89.61% of eligible savers and 87.22% of eligible borrowers, voted in favour of the resolutions.

In order for the deal to go ahead, the savers' resolution required at least a 75% majority and the borrowers' resolution required a simple majority in favour.

N&P members had been urged to vote in favour of the deal after the society agreed to set £51 million aside to reimburse its customers affected by the Keydata scandal.

The society was also fined £1.5 million by the FSA for failing to give suitable advice to the 3,300 customers who invested in the products of the now defunct investment firm.

Although the new society will be called Yorkshire Building Society, the N&P brand will be retained as a separate brand, similar to the Chelsea and Barnsley brands.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Mark Wahlberg’s Home For Sale For Just $14 Million

Mark Wahlberg’s Home For Sale For Just $14 Million

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markwalhberghome 300x293 Mark Wahlbergs Home For Sale For Just $14 MillionThe Freep reported today that Mark Wahlberg has put his home up for sale.

And you can live in it for a cool 14 million. Add in today’s record low mortgage rates, and you might have a pretty good deal.

Looks like a nice place from the picture.

Frankly, I think Wahlberg is an amazing actor and I hope this works out for him.

He, hands down, should have won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in the movie Departed.

“Who am I? I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy!” One of my favorite move lines in history. I try to use it every chance I get during meetings.

I didn’t like him much as a rapper. Totally love him as an actor.

If I had $14 million, I might just take him up on the offer to buy his home. Here’s some details about the crib, if you’re interested:

The contemporary Mediterranean, built in 1985, has been updated throughout. In addition to the main house with a two-bathroom master suite and four other bedroom suites, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse and a 2,500-square-foot detached gym with a boxing ring are on the property. The actor trained there for his starring role in “The Fighter” (2010).

The 1.75 acres include a swimming pool with a grotto and waterfalls, a putting green and a sports court.

Read the full article in today’s Freep.


bookmark Mark Wahlbergs Home For Sale For Just $14 Million Clayton loves writing and does it every day. He also loves money and although he doesn’t have much of it, thinks about it every day. He’s worn many hats, including PR guy, web developer, and soldier. Put it all together and you get a guy who writes about money, VA loans, food, and just about everything a Quicken Loans client could ever care about. He loves feedback, so give him some, please.

Source: http://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/feed

30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Stay at Record Lows (So Do 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages)

30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Stay at Record Lows (So Do 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages)

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30yearfixed 300x245 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Stay at Record Lows (So Do 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages)Great article today in the Detroit News about 30 year fixed rate mortgages being down in the lowest levels we’ve ever seen them.

Great news for homeowners and home buyers.

Great news.

It’s something we’ve know all too well here at Quicken Loans and we’re happy to help everyone qualify for these amazing mortgage rates that we can.

Here’s some of the article:

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 4.09 percent last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That’s the lowest rate seen since 1951.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.29 percent. Economists say that’s the lowest rate ever for the loan.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. On Thursday, one day after the Fed’s announcement, the yield on the 10-year note touched 1.74 percent. That’s the lowest level since Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis started keeping daily records in 1962.

In July, the yield on the 10-year note was above 3 percent.

You can read the full article here.

Oh, and if you think you might be able to save with today’s super record low rates…you might just be right!


bookmark 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Stay at Record Lows (So Do 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages) Clayton loves writing and does it every day. He also loves money and although he doesn’t have much of it, thinks about it every day. He’s worn many hats, including PR guy, web developer, and soldier. Put it all together and you get a guy who writes about money, VA loans, food, and just about everything a Quicken Loans client could ever care about. He loves feedback, so give him some, please.

Source: http://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/feed

Home Inspection Series – Watch-It Wednesday – Episode 8

Home Inspection Series – Watch-It Wednesday – Episode 8

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Image18 300x219 Home Inspection Series Watch It Wednesday Episode 8Welcome to the final episode of our very special series of Watch-it Wednesdays. The  Home Inspection Series have been a pretty popular set of videos, not just because everyone loves Doug Peeples but because of the great amount of information found within.

Greg did a really amazing job of taking us through the home inspection process, explaining each step along the way and giving us a really good overview of what to expect when it comes time for you, the potential homeowner, to get a home inspection.

As sad as I am to see this series come to an end, I know there’s a new Watch-it Wednesday just waiting around the corner for its turn. So, don’t mourn the loss of the Home Inspection Series. Next week is another day. Lets end this with a song, with all due respect to my bffs, Boys II Men:

I don’t know where this road
Is going to lead
All I know is where we’ve been
And what we’ve been through.

And I’ll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It’s so hard to say goodbye to Watch-it Wednesday’s Home Inspection Series.

If you can’t see the embedded video, watch our Home Inspection Series video here.

Got something to say? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at content@quickenloans.com and we just might feature your question or comments in an upcoming blog post!


bookmark Home Inspection Series Watch It Wednesday Episode 8 After spending a restless decade of copywriting and editing video by day while dancing to Sisters of Mercy and playing video games by night, Amanda has settled comfortably into her role as the nerdy mom of the Zing blog. When not writing articles for your home and family, she can be found hanging out with her son, Jude, and daughter, Ripley. If you wanna chat about Star Trek or how to influence your kids to be geeks–she’s your gal.

Source: http://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/feed

Hispanic Heritage Month – Hispanics LOVE Football, Not Just Fútbol

Hispanic Heritage Month – Hispanics LOVE Football, Not Just Fútbol

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American football Hispanic Heritage Month – Hispanics LOVE Football, Not Just FútbolIt was recently brought to my attention by one of our Zing writers, Jake Marmul, that the NFL is adding a Hispanic “flavor” to this season in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. I must admit that I was a little surprised, since soccer (Fútbol), had been the most popular sport watched by Hispanics – at least until now. However, once you learn that 70 percent of Hispanics consider themselves bicultural, not just bilingual, it totally makes sense. After all, there’s nothing wrong with liking both American Football and Fútbol, right? (Some hardcore soccer fans may argue this, of course).

But before I talk about all the cool stuff the NFL is doing, let me share with you some interesting statistics that Jake found on the NFL Hispanic website:

More than 32 million Hispanics watched the 2010 NFL season making it the most-watched NFL season ever among Hispanics.Super Bowl XLV is the most watched TV program ever among Hispanics, averaging 10 million Hispanic viewers.Hispanic NFL fans spend nearly 15 hours engaged with the NFL each week during the regular season.Visits to NFL.com/Español (powered by Univision.com) doubled year-over-year.

So, what is the NFL doing in honor of Hispanic Heritage month? Party BIG time. According to a press release by the NFL released on September 21, some of the activities include:

Dallas Cowboys: Special pregame performances by Los Lonely Boys; “El Jarabe Tapatio” from the Ballet Folklórico Festival of San Antonio; Mariachi bands and Ballet Folklórico troupes at stadium entrances; in-game bilingual messaging on the Cowboys video board; and celebratory Hispanic Heritage Month graphics and signage throughout the stadium. The Cowboys will also have Los Troyanos, the NFL Tochito flag football champions from Cancun, Mexico, on-field before the game.Atlanta Falcons: They partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta to host a salsa event. During which, 45 children prepared salsa in teams for a cook-off. The students then participated in Latin dance lessons alongside the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders.Denver Broncos: The team hosted “Broncos en Tu Casa,” an event tailored towards the Hispanic community including giveaways, football clinics for kids and more.Miami Dolphins: Big Syphe, who is Pitbull’s DJ, added a Latin beat to the September 18th game. Also, the Dolphins cheerleaders and TD, the team mascot, will participate at the Coral Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival in October.

So, there you have it – Some more statistics to impress your friends and family (because we all know that everyone loves talking about statistics). And if you were planning on attending an NFL game soon, use this article as a warning, so you don’t get surprised by a mariachi band like these people did.

Gabriela Islas is a writer for Quicken Loans, an amazing place to work.  Find out more about being a part of our team at Quicken Loans and learn how we Amaze our clients.


bookmark Hispanic Heritage Month – Hispanics LOVE Football, Not Just Fútbol Gabriela is addicted to travelling, learning about new cultures and the color pink. Her hidden talent is that she burns everything when cooking- even water. If you ever want to find out what Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy when he was mad, she’s your girl. When she’s not laughing at things her four year-old says, Gabriela loves writing anything about personal finance, economics and international trends.

Source: http://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/feed

Tesco Bank amends loan rates

Tesco Bank amends loan rates

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Tesco Bank amends loan rates

Category: Loans
Date: 28/09/2011

Tesco Bank has overhauled its personal loan rates making it one of the best options across all borrowing tiers.

The changes are as follows:

For new customers: £7.5K to £14999 - 6.7% APR (-0.7%) and £15K to £25K - 8.3% APR (-0.2%). Example monthly repayments: £5K loan over 3 years - £157.53.

For existing customers: £7.5K to £14999 - 6.6% APR (-0.7%) and £15K to £25K - 8.3% APR (-0.2%). Example monthly repayments: £5K loan over 3 years - £157.53.

Rates are typical and dependent on credit rating and amount and term of loan.

The rates for loans between £7,500 and £25,000 equate to some of the cheapest in the market, but due to vigorous rate reductions by other institutions there are, by a small margin, more competitive rates available elsewhere.

Four out of five Moneyfacts stars have been awarded.

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*Product information and availability is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of the article). Products may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at anytime.


Source: moneyfacts.co.uk

Refinancing: The Top 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Refinancing: The Top 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

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Everyone’s saying now is the best time to refinance – but how do you know you’re prepared?

Online mortgage exchange Lending Tree asked its network lenders about the mistakes consumers make when attempting to refinance their home loans.

According to Mona Marimow, Senior Vice President at Lending Tree, “The Marketplace Survey provides valuable insight into the national mortgage arena from a lender’s standpoint. What we’ve seen is consumers could achieve greater benefits if they were more prepared in advance of requesting a loan.”

So what are the top 5 mistakes borrowers are making when refinancing their mortgage?

1. Over-estimating the value of the home. Just because your home was worth $300,000 seven years ago doesn’t mean it’s still worth that. Nationally, home prices have fallen more than 30 percent, with some markets (Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami come to mind), falling much more. If you don’t have enough equity, you’ll receive a higher-than-expected refinance offer.
2. Hesitating to lock in low rates. Because mortgage interest rates have fallen to new lows in each of the past three or four weeks, borrowers are conditioned to believe that these incredible low interest rates might get even lower. And, they could. Yesterday the Federal Reserve Bank announced a plan to buy $400 billion in long-term debt in order to push down long-term interest rates. But waiting wont’ help you. If interest rates fall after you close, you can always refinance - but at least you’ve locked in a great interest rate.
3. Focusing only on interest rates. When it comes to refinancing, interest rate is important. But so are the points, fees and loan terms. If you want to avoid making a big refinancing mistake, look at the big picture.
4. Overlooking shorter term loans. If you’re not going to stay in your home for 10 years, you might want to look at a hybrid loan that is fixed for 5, 7, or 10 years and then converts into a 1-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). These loans which would reduce the amount of interest paid, though they do carry more risk. If you stay beyond the fixed period, your rate could rise. Right now, fixed interest rates are so low, I think going for a 15-year fixed-rate loan is an amazing deal.
5. No knowledge of the documents required to refinance. I’m always amazed that folks don’t read legal documents before they sign them. When you’re getting a mortgage, or refinancing your existing loan, there might be 80 pages of documents. If you don’t read them, you’ll never know what your loan terms are.


According to Marimow, one-third of borrowers have no idea what their current mortgage rate is, and that’s trouble. Borrowers need to be prepared when they go to the negotiation table to make sure they receive the best rate possible. As Marimow put it: “Consumers would not go to a gas station they knew was offering fuel at a significantly higher price than surrounding stations. They need to bring the same sensibility to the mortgage market.”

Most people don’t think about their mortgage interest rate or home value until there’s a problem. This becomes an issue when they want to refinance.  The Lending Tree survey reveals many consumers are unaware of what happened to the value of their home over the past few years. It’s the old “it couldn’t happen to me” syndrome: Even though the economy tanked and the housing bubble burst long ago, many people think it doesn’t affect them directly because of the emotional value they attach to their home. No matter how nice your home is, if you’re in a market that has taken a significant hit, the price of your home probably has too. It’s important to know how big of a hit before you try to renegotiate your rate.

Some of the most telling results of the survey have more to do with consumer confidence than mortgage rates themselves. While consumers have traditionally had “buyers’ remorse” after taking out a mortgage and wondering whether they got the best rate, post-bubble purchasers are experiencing what Marimow calls “pre-traumatic stress.” In other words, the anxiety and nervousness associated with the housing and mortgage markets are preventing many consumers from even attempting to refinance.

That’s not good news. History tells us when rates go low, people dive into the housing market and that demand eventually drives prices up. In this case, even low interest rates cannot convince consumers to get their feet wet. It’s not just people who don’t have capital to buy homes; current home owners would rather stick with the rate they have than face the anxiety that goes along with refinancing.

Yes, it’s scary out there. But if you get your paperwork together, know your credit history and score, and are prepared to have your financial life explored, you can get perhaps the greatest refinance deal of your life.

Have you refinanced due to low interest rates? Do you have any advice to share?

More on MoneyWatch:

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.comand The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.

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I just refinanced using "123 Refi" and went from a 5.5/20yr to a 3.25/15yr. Monthly payments went down by about $100 but overall savings over the life of the loan are over $60,000. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Learn more about refi before you do one.

 

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Source: moneywatch.bnet.com

Saving money with consolidation

Saving money with consolidation

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In the current climate many people are struggling with the repayment of their debts, as their finances are being severely adversely affected by factors such as soaring living costs, high petrol prices, and even a drop in income. For those that already have financial commitment such as unsecured loans, credit card, overdrafts and the like, it can be very difficult to keep up with repayments.

Failure to keep on top of repayments on these financial commitments can have a huge impact on the financial situations of consumers, making things even more difficult. This is something that can have a severe impact on your credit rating, which will then affect your financial future.

One of the things that industry experts believe could help those that have a lot of unsecured debt that they are struggling to repay is consolidation, which means wrapping all of your different debts into one larger debt. This is something that can provide convenience and ease as well as saving borrowers money on their repayments, which is what many people are looking for in the current climate.

Whilst loans are more difficult to come by than they were prior to the financial crisis, there are still competitive loan deals available for those that have a decent credit rating. It is therefore worth shopping around to find consolidation loans that come with low interest rates and offer suitable repayment terms in order to help you to reduce your repayments.

One industry expert said: “It can really pay for people to look at debt consolidation, as this makes it easier to manage debt as well as reducing monthly repayment for many people. You will have just one repayment and creditor to deal with and you could see your repayments drop through the floor.”



Source: thriftyscot.co.uk